Linux has many useful command-line utilities that can make your Linux life much more comfortable. The trouble is, there are so many of these tools that the average user doesn’t know where to begin.
To filter through the noise, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most useful Linux command line apps.
Wget is an essential program for Linux users. With it, users can easily download files from a variety of different protocols directly from the command-line.
Most Linux operating systems come with the Wget tool already set up, but just in case, let’s go over how to get the tool set up on most modern Linux operating systems.
sudo apt install wget
sudo apt-get install wget
sudo pacman -S wget
sudo dnf install wget
sudo zypper install wget
Using the Wget download tool works like this. You start in the terminal with wget; then, you take a URL for the thing you’d like to download and add it after the command.
It’s also able to download multiple files by specifying them in a file list. For example, first, create a new wget download file using touch.
Then, open up your file manager, double-click on the text file and add URLs for the things you’re downloading to the text file and save it. From there, it’s possible to tell wget to start the download, using the “i” command-line switch.
wget -i ~/Downmloads/wget-downloads.txt
Htop is an improved command-line task manager. It’s meant to be a complete rework of Top, which is the standard cli task manager for Linux.
The Htop tool is incredibly useful, as it allows users to get a glance at their system, how much memory it is using, and other system resources, while also making it easy to shut down, suspend, or even kill problematic programs.
sudo apt install htop
sudo apt-get install htop
sudo pacman -S htop
sudo dnf install htop
sudo zypper install htop
Using Htop is quite intuitive. To start it up, write htop in the terminal.
Once the app is launched, you’ll have instant access to all sorts of system information for your Linux machine.
To filter through to find a process, press F3, then, type out the name of what you need to find. To kill or stop a problem program, press F9, select the program with the arrow keys, and choose “kill,” “suspend,” or one of the many other options available for stopping problem applications from running.
Vi and Emacs get all the attention on Linux, but Nano is the king of basic cli text editors. It’s incredibly efficient and easy to use when you’re using a terminal and need to edit a script, text file or program in a flash.
Due to Nano’s usefulness, a lot of Linux operating systems include the app by default. Still, it’s a good idea to know how to install this program in case your Linux OS doesn’t have it.
sudo apt install nano
sudo apt-get install nano
sudo pacman -S nano
sudo dnf install nano
sudo zypper install nano
The Nano text editor can be used in two modes: Root mode and Non-Root mode. To edit a file in Root mode (say a system file), use the nano command with sudo in front.
sudo nano /path/to/file/to/edit
For generic, Non-Root use, start up the Nano text editor without sudo in front of it.
Lynx is a web browsing application built for the terminal. In the days of modern browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, it’s less useful but still worth installing in those rare cases when you need a web browser in the command-line (for whatever reason).
In the past on Addictivetips, I’ve discussed a lot about how to use and install Lynx. It’s an incredibly useful app, especially for Linux servers. To learn how to install it and understand some of the more advanced features check out the post here.
Otherwise, if you want a basic understanding of how Lynx works, try the lynx command and add a URL after it. For example:
Fzf is the perfect application for those that need to find files quickly, and don’t want to deal with the complex “find” app, and instead want a terminal browser that sniffs out files and folders rapidly without much effort.
Your operating system may already have Fzf set up. If not, it’s easy to install. Here’s how to get it working on your Linux distribution.
sudo apt install fzf
sudo apt-get install fzf
sudo pacman -S fzf
sudo dnf install fzf
sudo zypper install fzf
To use the Fzf app, simply run fzf from any given directory. For example, to search from the Documents folder, you’d do:
cd ~/Documents fzf
Have a lot of files to sort through? Consider starting fzf with the “q” command-line switch. It’ll let you search for particular keywords.
cd ~/Documents fzf -q='SEARCH TERM'
Pydf is a colorized rework of the Df command, which allows users to get an overview of how much space is on their hard drive, removable devices, or mounted file systems.
The Pydf app doesn’t add in a whole lot of new features to the standard Df utility. Despite this, it’s useful because it adds in some much-needed color, making things much easier to read via the command-line.
To use pydf, you’ll have to install it, as no Linux operating systems seem to carry it by default.
sudo apt install pydf
sudo apt-get install pydf
sudo pacman -S pydf
sudo dnf install pydf
sudo zypper install pydf
Using Pydf to get an overview of your Linux filesystems works by running the pydf command in the terminal, and nothing else.
The basic pydf command prints out information (in blocks,) and shows a graph that indicates how much space is being used on each drive. However, if you don’t understand block sizes, it’s possible to use the human-readable feature to print it out in easier to understand terms.
In this list, we talked about a few handy command-line applications for Linux, but this list only scratches the surface. What are your favorite Linux command-line apps? Tell us in the comment section below!