[NBLUG/talk] Finding files containing a string

Scott Doty scott at sonic.net
Sun Dec 12 20:42:39 PST 2004

On Sun, Dec 12, 2004 at 12:52:43PM -0800, Todd Cary wrote:
> Scott -
> After looking up each of the individual commands in "Linux in a 
> Nutshell", the command line makes sense.  However, I get into my Linux 
> server every few weeks or so which makes remembering the commands a 
> challenge.  Has anyone ever published a "Quick Reference"?

I suggest making a "live reference" by putting your often-used commands in
shell scripts, or even bash functions, and then referring to them when you
need to remember a command.

For instance, you could put them in /opt/todd/bin, then ls /opt/todd/bin
when you need to remember a command.

> O'Reilly's "Linux in a Nutshell" is great if one knows the command to 
> begin with.  It would be great to have one of those Quick Reference 
> cards like the one for "vi"; the 100 most used commands in Linux!
> Example:
> ps -A | grep <process name>
> kill -9 <process ID>
> Just an idea!

For this, I would use "killall" (on Linux!) -- for instance, on Linux,
"killall -9 icecast" would kill all processes with the name "icecast" on the

Warning:  this does not work on Sun's!  "killall" on Solaris kills all
processes except the shell invoking it -- a very dangerous command on a Sun.

Also, there's a couple of commands you might like to know:

"apropos" -- gives you commands who's descriptions match the string you give
it.  For instance:  "apropos directory" will have a listing for "pwd" -- you
can then type "man pwd" to learn more about the command.

A related command is "whatis" -- for instance:
  # whatis apropos
  apropos              (1)  - search the whatis database for strings
  # whatis ls
  ls                   (1)  - list directory contents

I used to modify the makewhatis script to massage the whatis database so
that section (1) commands would appear first -- maybe I should do that up in
perl and submit it to the man(1) maintainers...

Good luck!


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