Appendix C. DOS to Linux Cheat Sheet

Many Linux commands you type at a shell prompt are not that different from the commands you would type either in MS-DOS or in Windows (from the MS-DOS prompt). In fact, some commands are identical.

DOS and Linux Commands

What follows are some common commands used at the MS-DOS prompt in Windows 9x, and in Linux, as well as a basic example of how the command is used at the Linux shell prompt. Note that these commands usually have a number of options. To learn more about each command, read its associated man page (for example, type man ls at the shell prompt to read about the ls command).

Table C-1. Similar Commands

Command's PurposeMS-DOSLinuxBasic Linux Example
Copies filescopycpcp thisfile.txt /home/thisdirectory
Moves filesmovemvmv thisfile.txt /home/thisdirectory
Lists filesdirlsls
Clears screenclsclearclear
Closes prompt windowexitexitexit
Displays or sets datedatedatedate
Deletes filesdelrmrm thisfile.txt
"Echoes" output on the screenechoechoecho this message
Edits files with simple text editoreditpico[a]pico thisfile.txt
Compares the contents of filesfcdiffdiff file1 file2
Finds a string of text in a filefindgrepgrep this word or phrase thisfile.txt
Formats a floppyformat a: (if floppy's in A:)mke2fs (or mformat[b])/sbin/mke2fs /dev/fd0 (/dev/fd0 is the Linux equivalent of A:)
Displays command helpcommand /?man[c]man command
Creates a directorymkdirmkdirmkdir directory
Screens through a filemoreless[d]less thisfile.txt
Renames a filerenmvmv thisfile.txt thatfile.txt[e]
Shows your location in the file systemchdirpwdpwd
Changes directories with a specified path (absolute path)cd pathnamecd pathnamecd /directory/directory
Changes directories with a relative pathcd ..
Displays the timetimedatedate
Shows amount of RAM and usememfreeprocinfo
a. Pico is a simple text editor; other editors you can use in place of pico include emacs and vi.
b. This formats a disk for the DOS filesystem.
c. Or you can use info for some commands.
d. You can also another pager, called more, to scroll through a file a screen at at time.
e. The mv command serves double-duty, because it can both move a file and, if you want to rename a file in the same directory, you "move" that file to the same directory with a new name, as in this example.