Results tagged “unix” from Ye Olde Rad Blog III

Learning the Unix Shell (bash)


Last month I mentioned a quest to learn the Unix shell .. specifically » bash (the Bourne Again SHell). Almost done. Currently ~80% complete .. enough to feel reasonably confident at a terminal.

Linux shell terminalThe 'shell' is simply a program that lets you interact with the operating system (actually the kernel, to be more precise) ..

.. by taking your (text-based) commands and passing them on to the kernel. In my case, this kernel happens to be » Linux (which is but one variant of Unix).

The term 'shell' comes from the notion that this software acts like a 'layer' that sits between you and the operating system .. similar to the way an egg-shell sits between you and your hard-boiled breakfast.

The shell can be intimidating, cuz it uses a (text-based) command-line interface (CLI). No intuitive GUI to help you along. You either know the commands or you don't.

Didn't take me long to realize the CLI was where Linux's true power resides. When we upgraded the site, for example, to a Virtual Private Server, the support-techs who helped me with the move all used the command-line to work their mojo.

Most Linux distros do indeed come with an excellent GUI (usually either KDE or Gnome). But (but!) the Rad VPS does not. Which is why it became necessary to learn the Unix shell. (Something I tried to avoid.)

The Rad VPS is based on CentOS (Community ENTerprise Operating System), an off-shoot of Red Hat, which is probably the most popular of all enterprise Linux distros (.. and now a new member of the S&P 500, a development you may find telling).

GUIs (such as KDE or Gnome) require lots of memory/RAM. My laptop, for example, has 2-gigs, but the Rad VPS comes with an allotment of only 512-MB (.. upgraded from 384 just today).

With that limited amount, I need to run not only all the standard web applications .. such as Apache (web server), MySQL (database), Perl (scripting language), etc. but also cPanel/WHM.

So there's not much RAM left to run a GUI. [ Don't think I didn't inquire about installing a GUI. =) ]

Bottom line » if you wanna administer your own VPS, you need to learn the Shell. So that's what I'm doing. (Of course, there have been distractions, making progress uneven.)

Quest to Learn the UNIX Shell (bash)


Been learning the UNIX Shell, which uses a command-line interface (from a terminal) .. something I've wanted to do ever since we upgraded to the Virtual Private Server last year. (Linux is a variant of UNIX.)

Linux shell terminalEven basic knowledge of (how to use) the Linux command line makes life administering a VPS much easier.

The Shell is simply a program that allows users (like me) to interact with the operating system (sometimes termed the 'kernel'). It can be conceived of as a 'layer' sitting between you and the operating system .. hence the term » shell.

Several shells exist, but nearly all Linux distributions come with » bash (Bourne Again Shell) .. cuz it's free, powerful and easy to use.

On my laptop I have installed a copy of Ubuntu Linux that I use to learn the shell (practice). Before jumping into learning the Shell, I figured this was a good time to upgrade my 'installation' of Ubuntu .. to the latest release (» v9.04, 'Jaunty Jackalope').

So I downloaded » this virtual machine (1.1 gig, using uTorrent). Had trouble getting it connected to the Internet, but that was due to my own inexperience with VMware, and not due to any short-comings of Ubuntu.

Anyway, I am really digging learning the Shell, cuz it's something I can use right away. For example, yesterday I upgraded the blogging software we use here at Radified (Movable Type) to the latest version (» 4.26). Something that used to take hours to accomplish was done in minutes .. (using a series of Shell commands). Beautiful.


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