Friday, 22 March 2019

Useful Linux commands

User management

To request security privileges of superuser (root):

$ sudo 


To log in and run the current shell as root use:

user@computer:~$ sudo -i
root@computer:~# whoami
root@computer:~# exit


To find info about user use id:

$ id --help
Usage: id [OPTION]... [USER]
Print user and group information for the specified USER,
or (when USER omitted) for the current user.

  -a             ignore, for compatibility with other versions
  -Z, --context  print only the security context of the process
  -g, --group    print only the effective group ID
  -G, --groups   print all group IDs
  -n, --name     print a name instead of a number, for -ugG
  -r, --real     print the real ID instead of the effective ID, with -ugG
  -u, --user     print only the effective user ID
  -z, --zero     delimit entries with NUL characters, not whitespace;
                   not permitted in default format
      --help     display this help and exit
      --version  output version information and exit

Without any OPTION, print some useful set of identified information.

GNU coreutils online help: <>
Full documentation at: <>
or available locally via: info '(coreutils) id invocation'

$ id -u

$ id -g

$ id -un

$ id -gn

$ id -G
1000 3 23 26 29 45 115 125 999

$ id -Gn
test_user adm cdrom sudo dip plugdev lpadmin sambashare docker

.profile file 

There is one global profile file (executed when anyone logs in):


There are three user-specific bash profile files (executed when current/specific user logs in):


If ~/.profile doesn't exist, just create it.

This is the comment at the beginning of ~/.profile:

# ~/.profile: executed by the command interpreter for login shells.
# This file is not read by bash(1), if ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bash_login exists.
# see /usr/share/doc/bash/examples/startup-files for examples.
# the files are located in the bash-doc package.
# the default umask is set in /etc/profile; for setting the umask
# for ssh logins, install and configure the libpam-umask package.
#umask 022

To add en environment variable during the session of a particular user (and also make them available in terminal) append the desired var name and its value to ~/.profile file. Example:

export GOROOT=/usr/local/go
export GOPATH=$HOME/go
export PATH=$GOPATH/bin:$GOROOT/bin:$PATH

We'd need to restart the terminal in order to get these changes visible but to make terminal fetch them in the current session, we can update the current shell session with:

source ~/.profile

To add a new or modify existing environment variable permanently (for non-root user) we need to change ~/.bashrc:

Example of ~/.bashrc snippet:

# ~/.bashrc: executed by bash(1) for non-login shells.
# see /usr/share/doc/bash/examples/startup-files (in the package bash-doc)
# for examples
export GOPATH=$HOME/dev/go
export PATH=$PATH:$GOPATH/bin

To do the same for root user, open /etc/environment:

$ sudo gedit /etc/environment

...and add desired path:


How to logout current user from the Terminal?

$ gnome-session-quit


$ gnome-session-quit --no-prompt

to suppress showing Logout confirmation dialog.

File & Directory Ownership

To see permissions (r= read, w=write, x=execute) and ownership (user:group) over some file or directory use:

$ ls -la

To change ownership (e.g. from root to current user) of directory and all its content use chown (change owner):

$ sudo chown -R $USER directory


$ sudo chown -R username:group directory

Change folder permissions and ownership


Chmod permissions (flags) explained
os.MkDir and os.MkDirAll permission value?

To allow only file user to read and write (but not to execute):

$ chmod 600 filename

chmod 600 file – owner can read and write
chmod 700 file – owner can read, write and execute
chmod 666 file – all can read and write
chmod 777 file – all can read, write and execute

Working with directories

To list the content of the directory:


To list all files (including hidden) in the current directory:

ls -a

To list files in some specific directory use:

$ ls target_directory

$ ls /usr/local/go/

To list directories and files in form of a tree install tree package:

$ sudo apt install tree

...and use it as e.g.:

$ tree -I *node*

-I = ignores directories that match given pattern

To diff two directories use:

$ diff -r dir1 dir2 

This shows which files are only in dir1 and those only in dir2 and also the changes of the files present in both directories if any. If any file does not end with a newline character, this will be reported as well:

$ diff -r dir1 dir2
diff -r dir1/test.txt dir2/test.txt
< First line in dir1/test.txt
\ No newline at end of file
> First line in dir2/test.txt
\ No newline at end of file
Binary files /dir1/test.bin and /dir2/test.bin differ
Only in /dir1/subdir1/: subsubdir1
Only in /dir2/subdir1/:

What does 1c1 in diff tool mean?
1c1 indicates that line 1 in the first file was c hanged somehow to produce line 1 in the second file.
They probably differ in whitespace (perhaps trailing spaces, or Unix versus Windows line endings?).

man diff
Difference between two directories in Linux [closed]

To find the location of some directory starting from the root directory (/) use:

$ find / -type d -name dir_name

Working with files

Creating a file

To create a file use touch:

$ touch filename

It is possible to use redirection operators > and >> to achieve this:

  • > will overwrite existing file or crate a new file
  • >> will append text to existing file or created a new file

> file.txt

What does “>” do vs “>>”?

Ending file with new line character

[No newline at end of file]

It is a good style to always put the newline as a last character if it is allowed by the file format.

Unix historically had a convention of all human-readable text files ending in a newline. Reasons:
Practically, because many Unix tools require or expect it for proper display.
Philosophically, because each line in a text file terminates with an "end-of-line" character--the last line shouldn't be any exception.

To write into file a set of lines which end with a new line character:

$ echo $'first line\nsecond line\nthirdline\n' > foo.txt

$'...' construct expands embedded ANSI escape sequences

How to put a newline special character into a file using the echo command and redirection operator?

Getting the information about a file

To get the number of lines (well, newline characters) in the file:

$ wc -l myfile.txt
23 myfile.txt

(This is why it's important to follow the convention and end each line with newline character.)

To see the last couple of lines in the file use command tail:

$ tail myfile

To find various hash sums of a file:

$ md5sum file_name
$ sha1sum file_name
$ sha256sum file_name

Checking whether file exists

if test -f "$symlink_file"; then
   echo "$symlink_file" exists and is regular file.
   echo "$symlink_file" does not exist or is not a regular file.

if test -L "$regular_file"; then
   echo "$regular_file" exists and is symlink file.
   echo "$regular_file" does not exist or is not a symlink file.

How to Check if a File or Directory Exists in Bash

Copying files

cp - copy

Renaming files

To rename all .new files in the current directory to *.old:

$ rename -f -v 's/.new/.old/' *

-f = force; allows overwriting existing *.old files
-v = verbose

File viewing and editing

To simply view the content of some file, use cat:

$ cat filename

To edit some file, you can use vi editor. Example:

$ vi ~/.profile 

gedit can also be used as graphic editor:

sudo gedit ~/.profile

Searching for Files

To search file from the root directory use /:

$ find / -name "file_name.ext"

Searching for text across files

How do I find all files containing specific text on Linux?

man grep

$ grep -rnw '/path/to/somewhere/' -e 'pattern'

-r or -R = recursive,
-n = line number
-w = match the whole word.
-l (lower-case L) = just give the file name of matching files
--include=\*.{c,h} =  search through those files which have .c or .h extensions
--exclude=*.o = exclude searching all the files ending with .o extension
--exclude-dir={dir1,dir2,*.dst} = exclude a particular directory(ies)
-e PATTERN = string pattern to be searched
-i = ignore the case


$ grep -r /var/lib/go/src/ -e "CodeDecode"
/var/lib/go/src/encoding/json/bench_test.go:func BenchmarkCodeDecoder(b *testing.B) {


$ find ./go/src/pkg -type f -name "*.go" | xargs egrep '^type.*(er|or) interface {'

xargs manual - xargs builds and executes command lines from standard input
egrep manual - egrep prints lines matching a pattern

Comparing Files

How to ignore line endings when comparing files?

$ diff --strip-trailing-cr file1 file2

How to detect file ends in newline?

Working with executable files

Running a command prefixed by the time command will tell us how long our code took to execute.

$ time myapp
real 0m13.761s
user 0m0.262s
sys 0m0.039s

If an executable is present but some of its dependencies are missing bash (or sh) might display an error messages stating that main executable is not found (which might be a bit misleading).


/ # ls
bin       myapp      data-vol  dev       etc       home      lib       media     mnt       opt       proc      root      run       sbin      srv       sys       tmp       usr       var
/ #  myapp
/bin/sh:  myapp: not found

Symbolic links

What are they?

  • files that contain a reference to another file or directory on the same system
  • like shortcuts on Windows OS

What is their purpose?

  • to avoid copying the same binary (usually a library) at multiple locations but simply creating a symlink where file is required to be
  • various clients might require the same file but with name in different format so instead of having multiple copies of the same file but with different names we'd have multiple symlink, each with the name that satisfies requirements of each service

How do they work?

  • opening/running the symlink would open/run the target file
  • editing the content of the symlink edits the content of the target file
  • if target file is deleted symlink becomes a dangling symlink
  • if symlink is deleted, target file remains unaffected
  • it is possible to create symlink that refers to another symlink [How can I create a symlink which points to another symlink?]

How to create them?

How to: Linux / UNIX create soft link with ln command

Use ln command:

       ln - make links between files

       ln [OPTION]... [-T] TARGET LINK_NAME   (1st form)
       ln [OPTION]... TARGET                  (2nd form)
       ln [OPTION]... TARGET... DIRECTORY     (3rd form)
       ln [OPTION]... -t DIRECTORY TARGET...  (4th form)

       In the 1st form, create a link to TARGET with the name LINK_NAME.  In the 2nd form, create a link to TARGET in the current directory.  In the 3rd and 4th forms, create links to each TARGET in DIRECTORY.  Create hard links by default, symbolic links with --symbolic.  By default, each destination (name of new link) should not already exist.  When creating hard links,  each  TARGET  must  exist.
       Symbolic links can hold arbitrary text; if later resolved, a relative link is interpreted in relation to its parent directory.

       Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

              make a backup of each existing destination file

       -b     like --backup but does not accept an argument

       -d, -F, --directory
              allow the superuser to attempt to hard link directories (note: will probably fail due to system restrictions, even for the superuser)

       -f, --force
              remove existing destination files

       -i, --interactive
              prompt whether to remove destinations

       -L, --logical
              dereference TARGETs that are symbolic links

       -n, --no-dereference
              treat LINK_NAME as a normal file if it is a symbolic link to a directory

       -P, --physical
              make hard links directly to symbolic links

       -r, --relative
              create symbolic links relative to link location

       -s, --symbolic
              make symbolic links instead of hard links

       -S, --suffix=SUFFIX
              override the usual backup suffix

       -t, --target-directory=DIRECTORY
              specify the DIRECTORY in which to create the links

       -T, --no-target-directory
              treat LINK_NAME as a normal file always

       -v, --verbose
              print name of each linked file

       --help display this help and exit

              output version information and exit

       The  backup  suffix is '~', unless set with --suffix or SIMPLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX.  The version control method may be selected via the --backup option or through the VERSION_CONTROL environment variable.
       Here are the values:

       none, off
              never make backups (even if --backup is given)

       numbered, t
              make numbered backups

       existing, nil
              numbered if numbered backups exist, simple otherwise

       simple, never
              always make simple backups

       Using -s ignores -L and -P.  Otherwise, the last option specified controls behavior when a TARGET is a symbolic link, defaulting to -P.


$ sudo ln -s /usr/local/go/bin/go /usr/local/bin/go

Creating a symlink from one folder to another with different names?

Types of symlinks:

(!) Important: at the time the symlink is being used and resolved, target path (in ls command) is understood as a relative path to the parent directory of the symlink (when it doesn't start with /).

$ pwd
$ ln -s foo/bar.txt bar.txt
$ readlink -f /home/beau/bar.txt


$ cd foo
$ ln -s foo/bar.txt ../bar.txt

How to list all symbolic links in the current directory?

$ find -type l

[man find]: If no paths are given, the current directory is used.
[How to list all symbolic links in a directory]

How do I tell if a folder is actually a symlink and how do I fix it if it's broken?

Here are some ways that can be used to verify symlink:

$ stat ./data-vol/content/app/74.0.1365.76 
  File: ./data-vol/content/app/74.0.1365.76 -> data-vol/content/app/win/x86/74.0.1365.76
  Size: 45              Blocks: 0          IO Block: 4096   symbolic link
Device: fd01h/64769d    Inode: 26479224    Links: 1
Access: (0777/lrwxrwxrwx)  Uid: (    0/    root)   Gid: (    0/    root)
Access: 2019-07-12 17:17:09.278071996 +0100
Modify: 2019-07-12 17:17:08.666073171 +0100
Change: 2019-07-12 17:17:08.666073171 +0100
 Birth: -

$ stat -L ./data-vol/content/app/74.0.1365.76 
stat: cannot stat './data-vol/content/app/74.0.1365.76': No such file or directory

$ file -L ./data-vol/content/app/74.0.1365.76 
./data-vol/content/app/74.0.1365.76: cannot open `./data-vol/content/app/74.0.1365.76' (No such file or directory)

$ ls ./data-vol/content/app/74.0.1365.76 

$ ll ./data-vol/content/app/74.0.1365.76 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 45 Jul 12 17:17 ./data-vol/content/app/74.0.1365.76 -> data-vol/content/app/win/x86/74.0.1365.76

How to see full symlink path

$ readlink -f symlinkName

Hard links

How to create hardlink of one file in different directories in linux

Working with Environment Variables

To list all environment variables and their values use:

$ env

To set environment variables for the single command:


$ env GOOS=linux GOARCH=amd64 go build cmd/main.go

From the executable's point of view, the same would have been achieved without using env:

$ GOOS=linux GOARCH=amd64 go build cmd/main.go

To set environment variables for the current terminal session:

$ export GOPATH=/mnt/c/dev/go

export is a bash builtin. export key=value is extended syntax and should not be used in portable scripts (i.e. #! /bin/sh)

What's the difference between set, export and env and when should I use each?
What is the difference between set, env, declare and export when setting a variable in a Linux shell?

If some bash script calls executable which requires some env variables, we also need to use export.Example:

echo Env variables:
go env
export CGO_ENABLED=0
export GOOS=linux
export GOARCH=amd64 
echo Env variables:
go env
go build -o './bin/myapp' -v './cmd/main.go' the output:

Env variables:
[16:33:25][Step 4/7] GOARCH="amd64"
[16:33:25][Step 4/7] GOOS="linux"
[16:33:25][Step 4/7] CGO_ENABLED="1"
[16:33:25][Step 4/7] 
[16:33:25][Step 4/7] Env variables:
[16:33:25][Step 4/7] GOARCH="amd64"
[16:33:25][Step 4/7] GOOS="linux"
[16:33:25][Step 4/7] CGO_ENABLED="0"

How do I add environment variables?
How to set an environment variable only for the duration of the script?

Package management

apt (Advanced Packaging Tool) - It is not a command itself but a package which contains set of tools which manage installation and removal of other packages.


apt-get update - downloads the package lists from the repositories and "updates" them to get information on the newest versions of packages and their dependencies. It will do this for all repositories and PPAs.


add-apt-repository - adds a repository to the list of repositories

To apply latest security updates on Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get -y upgrade

Difference Between apt and apt-get Explained

Should I use apt or apt-get?

You might be thinking if you should use apt or apt-get. And as a regular Linux user, my answer is to go with apt.

apt is the command that is being recommended by the Linux distributions. It provides the necessary option to manage the packages. Most important of all, it is easier to use with its fewer but easy to remember options.

I see no reason to stick with apt-get unless you are going to do specific operations that utilize more features of apt-get.


To download a file into some specific directory:

cd /dest_dir

To install a package/software in Ubuntu, it is usually enough to copy it to /usr/local directory.
To move dir1 to some other location e.g. /usr/local use:

mv new_app /usr/local

A word on Linux directories


Run man hier to see extensive list of directories and description of the filesystem hierarchy.


  • owner is root
  • contains site-specific data which is served by this system
  • place for your workspace - your software development tree.
  • code repository (possibly in /srv/sourcerepo or something), and then developers would check out their own working copies into their home directories.
  • place for my source code (though I usually use /srv/vcs/sourcerepo)


  • the location where Distribution-based items are placed 

  • owner is root
  • Source files for different parts of the system, included with some packages for reference purposes.  Don't work here with your own projects, as files below /usr should be read-only except when installing software (optional).
  • meant for source code for the binaries that come with your system's installation. For example, it could contain the source code for your kernel, tools such as ls, passwd, cp, mv etc, which are all installed BY YOUR DISTRIBUTION. If you upgrade your OS from source, all the source code would go here, when you rebuild your system. You DON'T want to put any software that you install BY YOURSELF in here, because they may get overwritten when you upgrade your system. In general, files that are in /, /usr/bin, /usr/sbin, /bin, /sbin etc. have their source code in /usr/src.
  • is a system directory. You should not change the owner from root for security reasons
  • contains the linux headers and source code of the kernel. Since the system compiles the kernel from there, it IS a security breach to change the ownership to anything other than root
  • if you wanted to recompile an Ubuntu package from source, their package manager would place the source for package in /usr/src/{package dir}


  • owner is root
  • location where you'd place your own localized changesod the Distribution (/usr/local will be empty after a base install)
  • contains the following subdirectories: 
    • bin  
    • etc  
    • games  
    • include  
    • lib  
    • man  
    • sbin 
    • share  
    • src
  • this directory tree is meant to be used for software that you install by yourself, without using the distribution CD(s). For example, /usr/local/bin, /usr/local/sbin are for the binaries that are installed by you separately, /usr/local/etc is for config files etc. Thus /usr/local/src is for source files that you yourself downloaded. Example: go (binary distribution) gets installed in /usr/local/go.
  • If you upgrade your system, files under the /usr tree get overwritten, such as /usr/bin, /usr/sbin, /usr/src etc. However, anything under /usr/local will not be touched. This is why all the software you installed separately should go to /usr/local tree.
  • a place to install files built by the administrator, typically by using the make command (e.g., ./configure; make; make install). The idea is to avoid clashes with files that are part of the operating system, which would either be overwritten or overwrite the local ones otherwise (e.g., /usr/bin/foo is part of the OS while /usr/local/bin/foo is a local alternative).
  • for self, inhouse, compiled and maintained software. 
  • reserved for software installed locally by the sysadmin
  • place where you want to install software along with source files (for other programs to use or for people to look at)
  • It's not meant, however, to be a workspace. Since it is local, you can do whatever you want, of course, but this isn't designed to be the place to put your software development tree.


  • owner is root
  • Source code for locally installed software
  • If you downloaded a program not managed by your distribution and wanted to compile/install it, FHS dictates that you do that in /usr/local/src.
  • a good place for downloading third party source code (eg for patching and rebuilding packages), not my own source code


  • This directory is reserved for all the software and add-on packages that are not part of the default installation. All third party applications should be installed in this directory. (Linux Filesystem Hierarchy: /opt)
  • a directory for installing unbundled packages (i.e. packages not part of the Operating System distribution, but provided by an independent source), each one in its own subdirectory. They are already built whole packages provided by an independent third party software distributor. Unlike /usr/local stuff, these packages follow the directory conventions (or at least they should). For example, someapp would be installed in /opt/someapp, with one of its command being /opt/someapp/bin/foo, its configuration file would be in /etc/opt/someapp/foo.conf, and its log files in /var/opt/someapp/logs/foo.access. (What is the difference between /opt and /usr/local?)
  • for non-self, external, prepackaged binary/application bundle installation
  • directory where you can just toss things and see if they work makes a whole lot of sense. I know I'm not going to go through the effort of packaging things myself to try them out. If the app doesn't work out, you can simply rm the /opt/mytestapp directory and that application is history.
  • used for third-party software, which in the context of Ubuntu, means precompiled software that is not distributed via Debian packages 
  • A program that is installed in /opt is supposed to be self-contained.
  • The main reason for using /opt is to provide a common standard path where external software can be installed without interfering with the rest of the installed system. /opt does not appear in standard compiler or linker paths (gcc -print-search-dirs or /etc/ etc.), so headers and libraries installed there are somewhat isolated from the main system and shouldn't interfere with already-installed programs. (Why should I move everything into /opt?)

Installing Software

Example: Installing VLC player from Ubuntu package repository:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install vlc

It's best to run sudo apt-get update first as this updates local information about what packages are available from where in what versions. This can prevent a variety of installation errors (including some "unmet dependencies" errors), and also ensures you get the latest version provided by your enabled software sources.

There is also an apt version of this command:

$ sudo apt update
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
23 packages can be upgraded. Run 'apt list --upgradable' to see them.

To list all upgradable packages:

$ sudo apt list --upgradable

To upgrade all packages:

$ sudo apt upgrade

To see all installed packages:

$ sudo apt list --installed

To check if some package has already been installed:

$ sudo apt list --installed | grep package_name


How to install software distributed via .deb files?  

$ sudo dpkg -i /path/to/deb/file 
$ sudo apt-get install -f

The latter is necessary in order to fix broken packages (install eventual missing dependencies).

How to install a deb file, by dpkg -i or by apt?

Working with Archive files

To unpack the .tar.gz in the current directory use:

$ tar -zxvf archive_file.tar.gz

-x = extract
-f (--file) = use archive file; this flag has to be the last in the list of flags and to be followed by the archive file name
-v (--verbose) = verbose output
-z (--gzip, --gunzip, --ungzip)  = filter the archive through gzip

To unpack only the specific directory from the archive use:

$ tar -zxvf archive_file.tar.gz dir_name

To unpack archive to the specific directory:

$ tar -zxvf archive_file.tar -C path/to/dest_dir 

-C (--directory) stands for "Change to directory"


$ tar -xzf go1.12.1.linux-amd64.tar -C /usr/local

$ sudo tar -xzvf Postman-linux-x64-7.5.0.tar.gz -C /opt

Why compressed directories cannot be extracted in /opt?

Hardware management

To verify if you're running a 64-bit system:

uname -m 

x86_64 is the output in case of 64-bit system.


How to test password for private key?
If id_rsa and is a keypair, we can execute (after cd ~/.ssh/):

$ ssh-keygen -y -f id_rsa

...which will prompt us to enter the password. If correct, this will output the public key.

-y = This option will read a private OpenSSH format file and print an OpenSSH public key to stdout.
-f filename = Specifies the filename of the key file.

Another example:

$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -C ""

-t = Specifies the type of key to create.  The possible values are “dsa”, “ecdsa”, “ed25519”, or “rsa”.
-C comment = Provides a new comment.

To copy the contents of the file to clipboard:

$ xclip -sel clip < ~/.ssh/


To get base64 encoding of a string:

$ echo -n my_string | base64


$ printf my_string | base64


Getting Information about Hardware

How to get the GPU info?

$ sudo lshw -C display
  *-display UNCLAIMED       
       description: 3D controller
       product: GM107GLM [Quadro M620 Mobile]
       vendor: NVIDIA Corporation
       physical id: 0
       bus info: pci@0000:01:00.0
       version: a2
       width: 64 bits
       clock: 33MHz
       capabilities: pm msi pciexpress bus_master cap_list
       configuration: latency=0
       resources: memory:ee000000-eeffffff memory:d0000000-dfffffff memory:e0000000-e1ffffff ioport:e000(size=128) memory:ef000000-ef07ffff
       description: VGA compatible controller
       product: Intel Corporation
       vendor: Intel Corporation
       physical id: 2
       bus info: pci@0000:00:02.0
       version: 04
       width: 64 bits
       clock: 33MHz
       capabilities: pciexpress msi pm vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom
       configuration: driver=i915 latency=0

       resources: irq:130 memory:ed000000-edffffff memory:c0000000-cfffffff ioport:f000(size=64) memory:c0000-dffff

NVidia and Intel in same Laptop: which card is used?

$ lspci -k | grep -EA2 'VGA|3D'  
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Device 591b (rev 04)
Subsystem: Dell Device 07a9
Kernel driver in use: i915
01:00.0 3D controller: NVIDIA Corporation GM107GLM [Quadro M620 Mobile] (rev a2)
Subsystem: Dell GM107GLM [Quadro M620 Mobile]
Kernel modules: nvidiafb, nouveau


How to get public IP address of the computer?

$ dig TXT +short | awk -F'"' '{ print $2}'

GNU Bash Shell Commands

Bash script should start with shebang e.g.




What does 'cd $_' mean?

$_ expands to the last argument to the previous simple command* or to previous command if it had no arguments. Typical use:

mkdir dirA && cd $_


To see all Bash commands, execute:

$ help



$ help set 
set: set [-abefhkmnptuvxBCHP] [-o option-name] [--] [arg ...]
    Set or unset values of shell options and positional parameters.
    Change the value of shell attributes and positional parameters, or
    display the names and values of shell variables.
      -a  Mark variables which are modified or created for export.
      -b  Notify of job termination immediately.
      -e  Exit immediately if a command exits with a non-zero status.
      -f  Disable file name generation (globbing).
      -h  Remember the location of commands as they are looked up.
      -k  All assignment arguments are placed in the environment for a
          command, not just those that precede the command name.
      -m  Job control is enabled.
      -n  Read commands but do not execute them.
      -o option-name
          Set the variable corresponding to option-name:
              allexport    same as -a
              braceexpand  same as -B
              emacs        use an emacs-style line editing interface
              errexit      same as -e
              errtrace     same as -E
              functrace    same as -T
              hashall      same as -h
              histexpand   same as -H
              history      enable command history
              ignoreeof    the shell will not exit upon reading EOF
                           allow comments to appear in interactive commands
              keyword      same as -k
              monitor      same as -m
              noclobber    same as -C
              noexec       same as -n
              noglob       same as -f
              nolog        currently accepted but ignored
              notify       same as -b
              nounset      same as -u
              onecmd       same as -t
              physical     same as -P
              pipefail     the return value of a pipeline is the status of
                           the last command to exit with a non-zero status,
                           or zero if no command exited with a non-zero status
              posix        change the behaviour of bash where the default
                           operation differs from the Posix standard to
                           match the standard
              privileged   same as -p
              verbose      same as -v
              vi           use a vi-style line editing interface
              xtrace       same as -x
      -p  Turned on whenever the real and effective user ids do not match.
          Disables processing of the $ENV file and importing of shell
          functions.  Turning this option off causes the effective uid and
          gid to be set to the real uid and gid.
      -t  Exit after reading and executing one command.
      -u  Treat unset variables as an error when substituting.
      -v  Print shell input lines as they are read.
      -x  Print commands and their arguments as they are executed.
      -B  the shell will perform brace expansion
      -C  If set, disallow existing regular files to be overwritten
          by redirection of output.
      -E  If set, the ERR trap is inherited by shell functions.
      -H  Enable ! style history substitution.  This flag is on
          by default when the shell is interactive.
      -P  If set, do not resolve symbolic links when executing commands
          such as cd which change the current directory.
      -T  If set, the DEBUG and RETURN traps are inherited by shell functions.
      --  Assign any remaining arguments to the positional parameters.
          If there are no remaining arguments, the positional parameters
          are unset.
      -   Assign any remaining arguments to the positional parameters.
          The -x and -v options are turned off.
    Using + rather than - causes these flags to be turned off.  The
    flags can also be used upon invocation of the shell.  The current
    set of flags may be found in $-.  The remaining n ARGs are positional
    parameters and are assigned, in order, to $1, $2, .. $n.  If no
    ARGs are given, all shell variables are printed.
    Exit Status:
    Returns success unless an invalid option is given.

set -x 
  • enables a mode of the shell where all executed commands are printed to the terminal.
  • typically used for debugging

What is the difference between [] and [[]]?

Bash Brackets Quick Reference

Test if a command outputs an empty string

if [[ $(ls -A) ]]; then
    echo "there are files"
    echo "no files found"


Semicolon in conditional structures

The semicolon is needed only when the end of line is missing:

if [ "a" == "a" ] ; then echo "true" ; fi

Without semicolons, you get Syntax error.


How to capture exit code of the application most recently executed in Terminal?

$ echo $?

It can also be used in a bash script, e.g.:

ginkgo -r

if [[ $? != 0 ]]; then
   echo "Unit tests failed. Terminating build process..."
   exit 1


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