Basic Unix-like command line tutorial

Here are three 9-minute videos to introduce beginners to the basics of a Unix-like command-line interface.

Here are three 9-minute screencast videos that I recorded to introduce beginners to a Unix-like command-line interface. If you're running Mac OS or Linux, then you can access this interface by opening your Terminal program. If you're running Windows, then you need to first download and install Cygwin.

The goal of this tutorial is to show the very basics of the command-line interface: navigating to directories, tab-completion, and moving, copying, and deleting files. No matter what you end up doing on the command line, you need to know these concepts since you will be using them every day.

This tutorial isn't meant to be comprehensive. Command-line programs have insane numbers of intricate options that I can't possibly cover in half an hour. However, after you learn the basics, it will be easier for you to learn more details down the line.

(full YouTube playlist)

Part 1: Listing files and changing directories

Covers the ls, cd, and pwd commands to move around to different directories and show a listing of files inside of each directory.

Part 2: Creating a directory, tab-completion and * to speed up typing and to prevent errors

Covers the mkdir command to create a directory, tab-completion to speed up typing and to prevent errors, and the * (star character) to match multiple filenames at once.

Part 3: Moving and copying files, deleting files and directories

Covers the mv and cp commands to move and copy files into a directory, respectively, rm to delete files, and rmdir to delete directories.

Encore: Relative and absolute paths

Here's a bonus (encore!) video that discusses the concept of paths, contrasting relative and absolute paths.

Created: 2014-10-25
Last modified: 2014-10-25