Updated: 15 September, 2014
Almost anything can be done graphically on a modern GNU/Linux distribution like openSUSE, but to really become a self-reliant user and to truly take advantage of the power of your GNU/Linux operating system, you should at least know a few terminal basics - it's not difficult at all!
There are thousands of commands you can run, each with a number of different options. So this chapter is just a small teaser describing the most common commands.
You'll find Konsole
under Favorites in the Kickoff menu.
Using the command line is quite easy. Simply enter a command and possibly one or more options and one or more arguments and then press Enter. Example:
ls -l /home/[username]/
The command ls
displays a list of files, the option -l
means that the list will be displayed in a long listing format, and the argument /home/[username]/
sets the directory of which the contents are listed.
8.1 Useful Shortcuts
The tab-key is increcibly useful, if possible it will auto-complete commands and arguments, which helps you work faster and avoid typos.
Paste from the clipboard.
This shortcut stops any operation you may have started.
8.2 Examples of Basic Commands
This is just a very small selection of commands to give you an idea of how things work.
||Commands written in red need to be ran as root.
8.2.1 File Management
Listing files of a directory
Copying a file
cp filename /home/user/directoryname/filename
Deleting a file
Deleting a directory including contents
rm -rf /home/user/directoryname
Moving or renaming a file
mv /home/user/filename /home/user/newfilename
8.2.2 System Monitoring
Running processes and consumpition of system resources. Press 'Q'
Disk space usage
Find out your IP-address
Find out your gateway
Find out your DNS servers
8.2.4 Man Pages and Help
Almost all commands have an accompanying manual page describing how to use the command and the available options. For example type:
To leave the man page again press 'Q'
If a command does not have a man page, try --help
8.2.5 Becoming Root
To switch to the root user to perform system administration tasks, type:
Then type your (root) password. Nothing will appear on screen as you type, this is intended.
To stop working as root and return to working as your normal user, run exit
To run a single command as root use:
su -c "[command]"
||Do not work as root unless it's required.
8.2.6 System Tasks
Start, stop, restart or get status of system services (start|stop|restart|status). Examples:
systemctl restart network.service
systemctl stop SuSEfirewall2_init.service
systemctl start apache2.service
systemctl status smb.service
Enable or disable a service from starting at every boot. Examples:
systemctl enable sshd.service
systemctl disable cups.service
8.2.7 The Kernel
Find out your kernel version and flavour.
Check kernel messages.
Listing loaded kernel modules.
Loading a kernel module.
Unloading a kernel module.
8.2.8 Hardware Information
The command hwinfo can provide you with information about almost any hardware, some examples:
hwinfo --short --wlan
hwinfo --short --gfxcard
List PCI devices:
List USB devices:
8.3 Editing Text Files
Editing configuration files or other text files can be done like this using the vim editor.
Open a file with vim /path/to/file
||Root permissions are used in the example because menu.lst is a system configuration file - this is not generally required to edit files with vim.
to enter insert mode. Now you can edit the file. When you're done editing press Esc
to leave insert mode and return to command mode. Now type :x
which is the command for exit and save. To quit without saving any changes use :q!
8.4 Further reading
If you want to learn more about using the terminal there are many resources available on the internet, here are a couple of links.
Send your comments via e-mail to admin [at] opensuse-guide.org