A2CLOUD: learn some Unix

Once you’re logged into your Raspberry Pi, you can download disk images and use them with VSDRIVE or transfer them with ADTPro.

To do so, you’ll need to know some Unix. Everything you type at a prompt is a Unix command, either built-in, or a program that gets executed. Most commands can take additional arguments (parameters) separated by spaces to modify how they operate. Note that everything in Unix is (usually) case-sensitive — that is, “ls” is not the same thing as “LS”.

Here’s some basics:

pwd will print the path of the current directory (like PREFIX)

cd /path/name will change the directory to /path/name (like PREFIX /PATH/NAME)

ls will list the files in the current directory (like CAT)

ls -lp will list the files in the current directory in long format (like CATALOG)

cp sourceFilePath targetFilePath will copy a file

mv filePath newFilePath will move or rename a file (like RENAME)

rm filePath will delete a file (like DELETE)

mkdir dirPath will create a subdirectory (like CREATE)

rmdir dirPath will delete a subdirectory (like DELETE)

logout logs you out

sudo shutdown -h now will shut down your Pi

sudo shutdown -r now will restart your Pi


There are also three “special” directories, indicated by a single or double period, or a tilde:

. means the current directory

.. means the parent (enclosing) directory

~ means your home directory (on the Pi’s default user, it’s /home/pi)


A couple of tips:

pressing up-arrow (or solidApple-up-arrow in ProTERM on a IIe/IIc, or in Z-Link)  at the command prompt will display previously typed commands

pressing ctrl-A while editing a command will take you to the beginning of a line

pressing ctrl-E while editing will take you to the end of a line


A2CLOUD provides some specialized commands as well, some of which will be covered in upcoming posts. To see a full list, type a2cloud-help.

If you need additional explanation of a command and its arguments, you can sometimes type “command -h” or “command –help”, and for most commands, extensive help is available by typing “man command”.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are lots and lots of Unix commands for every purpose imaginable. If you think there are others which should be included here, please mention them in the comments.


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