Linux Terminal

Some useful Linux terminal commands. Some may be specific do Debian based systems (Ubuntu, Raspberry Pi OS, etc).

File System

cd change directory (/~ is home directory)

ls list files and directories

ls -l​​​​​ show details

mkdir <name> create directory

rmdir <name> delete empty directory

mv <name> move or rename file or folder

rm <name> delete file

rm -r <name> delete directory and all files and directories within

chmod -R 755 /path/to/dir Change file permissions (full permissions) to all files and directories in dir. -R for recursive

xxd filename display a binary file in hex format

xxd | head -5 or xxd | tail -5 view the first 5 lines or last 5 lines of hex

Creating File System Symbolic Link (symlink)

A symlink can be used to create a file system link to a directory. For example on Windows WSL to link a windows folder to a directory in the user’s home directory in Linux:

ln -s "/mnt/c/Users/[username]/Documents/MyFolder" ~/MyFolder

Creating an ISO (CD) image from a directory

ISO image files can be useful for archiving data or creating a virtual CD which can be mounted in a Virtual Machine. To create an ISO image in Linux use the mkisofs program:

mkisofs -V 'Volume Label' -o <filename>.iso '/path/to/directory' for example:

mkisofs -V 'Useful Programs' -o myprograms.iso '/home/john/useful programs'


ssh user@hostname log in to PC at hostname with username userhostname can also be an IP address

scp sourceuser@sourcepc:filepath1 destinationuser@destinationpc:filepath2 file transfer via network. sourceuser@sourcepc: can be omitted if you are currently logged into sourcePC.


ps aux list all processes

strace -p1234 -s9999 -e write view output from process with ID 1234

kill <pid> Terminate process PID. PID can be found using ps aux or ps -ef

Find Operating System Version

To find the operating system release version use:

cat /etc/os-release

Autostart Script on Boot

UPDATE – The below method is depreciated but will still work on some systems due to backward compatibility (e.g. Raspberry Pi).

If you need a script to be run every time the machine is booted, the best way to do this is to use the rc.local file:

sudo nano /etc/rc.local

At the bottom of the file add the command to start your script, for example:

python /home/pi/ &

Note that all commands are executed at root privileges and therefore there is no need to add sudo to the command. Also note that if your script runs continuously you will need to add and ampersand at the end of the line so that a new process is created. Otherwise the machine will get stuck on the script not finish booting.