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As there is a windows version of this question, I decided to open a community wiki for the same question under unix, linux, and the like.

I'll be updating this list with the answers:

  • bash: exec 3<> /dev/tcp/localhost/80 # Redirect to port 80 of localhost
  • find: search for files in a directory hierarchy
  • htop: interactive process viewer, similar to top
  • xargs: build and execute command lines from standard input
  • tmux: detachable, re-attachable command line sessions
  • apropo: find relevant man pages
  • vmstat: See the state of your system


  • commandlinefu.com
  • serverfault.com

Keyboard shortcuts: - Ctrl T (BSD specific): send SIGINFO to a running program - Magic SesRq key (Linux specific): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_SysRq_key


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See @Andrew Hodgson's response. –  gyaresu May 14 '09 at 1:37
Yeah, actually I see it. –  Álvaro May 21 '09 at 20:32

10 Answers 10

pushd, popd - push directory, pop directory

cd - without any parameters will take you back to your home directory.

history - gives a list of all the previous command combinations that were run. You can grep this list if you're looking for something specific. And then use !n to recall it.


ls - list directory contents. ls /bin ls /usr/bin ls /usr/local/bin : See what other toys you can play with


'screen' - allows for detachable, re-attachable command line sessions. Made extra shiny with screen-profiles (default in Ubuntu 9.04), and byobu in 10.04



for when you accidentally cat a binary file :-)



Using 'ack' as a replacement for grep/find+xargs+grep: www.betterthangrep.com


Maybe not commands per se, but I've found knowing that you can set bash to use emacs or vi-style shortcuts to navigate the prompt to be especially useful. Ctrl+A to move to the beginning of the line, Ctrl+E to move to the end of the line, and all the others (c.f. http://www.hypexr.org/bash_tutorial.php).

I know that bash uses emacs style by default, but is it actually possible to have it use vi commands? I'd love that, but I'm not sure how it'd work. (Edit: I just realized how old this is....but ah well. Legit question.) –  lunchmeat317 Jan 18 '12 at 5:12

Slight dupe:

Hidden Features of Linux


yeah, I didn't find it –  Álvaro May 8 '09 at 13:27

find. Extremely useful in combination with xargs.

But also on its own. –  Matthew Flaschen May 9 '09 at 21:29
The use of -exec in find makes xargs useless most of the time. –  ℝaphink Dec 28 '09 at 21:11

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