Guide to Unix/Introduction

This book is a Guide to Unix and Unix-like operating systems, such as GNU/Linux and *BSD. Other systems like Mac OS X, Solaris, and OSF/Tru64 also belong in the list.

Because of this book's incomplete state, it might be hard to find the chapter that you want.

Structure of this book edit

After this introduction, there are three main parts of this book.

  • The Why Unix-like page introduces the Unix system-like platform. The various Platforms such as BSD then highlight particular Unix-like distributions. This book needs to add more platform pages other than BSD and Linux.
  • The Explanations section contains a list of various topics which introduce and explain the use and administration of Unix-like systems. For example, Explanations/Shell Prompt introduces the shell prompt, and Explanations/Filesystems and Swap explains the use of storage devices. Many of the sections are incomplete or missing, but this section is being expanded. The current division into six parts might need to be changed later.
  • The Quick References chapters list the Environment Variables, Files, Commands. There actually is not much here except for the Commands section.

Conventions edit

This book uses (or will use) the following conventions.

Shell prompt edit

The shell prompt looks like:


A root shell prompt (see Explanations/Becoming Root) looks like:


When the user types commands or other text, it appears in bold. The following is an example. The user typed the "cat" command and then several lines which the computer echoed.

$ cat
This is an example.
This is an example.
^D $

Control characters are written like ^D. This means to hold the Control key and press D. Note that some control characters sometimes do not appear on the screen. For example, the user typed ^D but no "^D" actually appears on the screen.

Commands and files edit

This convention might need improvement. Currently, a good example is Explanations/Shell Prompt.

A command name is introduced in bold, like uname. Later, it is mentioned as "uname". In the future, the bold version might be a link to the command in Commands.

Filenames usually appear like /dev/null and /etc/ssh/sshd_config. Entire commands look like ls /dev/null /etc/sshd_config or echo a1 a2 a3. Mentioning again the parts or arguments of these commands looks like "a1" and "a2". When introducing a new part (like a new option) not mentioned before, that looks like -r or -o loop. Text from files is also quoted, for example "# comment".

Audience edit

This is a proposed convention, because it is mostly unimplemented in this book.

The book targets multiple audiences.

  • Unix or non-Unix users seeking background
  • Unix system users (background and user instructions)
  • Unix system administrators (background and administrator instructions)

To handle this, there might be some templates.

Command links edit

This is a proposed convention, because it is mostly unimplemented in this book.
  1. In Guide to Unix/Commands, there is a {{Guide to Unix/Clink}} with links to outside Internet resources like manual pages and wikis.
  2. In addition, the clink template links between Guide to Unix/Commands and Guide to Unix/Explanations. There are two template calls; link both ways. For example, connect Guide to Unix/Explanations/bc and bc's entry in Guide to Unix/Commands.