Ubuntu and Debian Linux starter user guide

Useful Linux Command :

To have a root shell as root.

# sudo su

To have a root shell as /you/.

# sudo -s

Try both and do an echo $HOME to see the difference.
sudo su is the equivalent to sudo -i

Linux version

# uname -p
version processeur i686 => x3

Taille partition disque

# df

Date check

# date

Logout session (Useful in case of permissions take effect)

# logout

Change keyboard to azerty for french language :

# loadkeys fr

Update the debian or ubuntu system :

# sudo apt-get update

What is my IP :

# ifconfig

Interface graphique (Kubuntu / prévoir 1Gb RAM)
# sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

Show All Running Processes in Linux

ps command

Type the following ps command to display all running process see link :

# ps aux | less


  • -A: select all processes
  • a: select all processes on a terminal, including those of other users
  • x: select processes without controlling ttys

Task: see every process on the system

# ps -A
# ps -e

Task: See every process except those running as root

# ps -U root -u root -N

Task: See process run by user vivek

# ps -u vivek

Task: top command

The top program provides a dynamic real-time view of a running system. Type the top at command prompt:

# top

To quit press q, for help press h.

Task: display a tree of processes

pstree shows running processes as a tree. The tree is rooted at either pid or init if pid is omitted. If a user name is specified, all process trees rooted at processes owned by that user are shown.

$ pstree

Task: Lookup process

Use pgrep command. pgrep looks through the currently running processes and lists the process IDs which matches the selection criteria to screen. For example display firefox process id:

$ pgrep firefox

Sample outputs:


kill command syntax

The kill command causes the specified signal to be sent to the specified process. The kill command has the general form as follows:
kill -N PID

  • N is a signal number
  • PID is the Process Identification Number. If you do not know the PID, it can be learned through the ps command.

Understanding signal numbers

The signal number 1 is a hangup signal. I recommended using 1 signal because it should kill the process and it can save the buffer (if supported). For example if it is an editor, save the buffer. This is the default if you do not specify a signal number. Signal number 9, a kill signal, is the surest way to kill a process.

Some of the more commonly used signals:

signal # Usage
1 HUP (hang up)
2 INT (interrupt)
3 QUIT (quit)
6 ABRT (abort)
9 KILL (non-catchable, non-ignorable kill)
14 ALRM (alarm clock)
15 TERM (software termination signal)

How do I use kill command?

Terminate the processes with pids 1412 and 1157:

$ kill 1412 1157

Send the hangup signal (SIGHUP) to the process with pid 5071:

# kill -s HUP 5071

Determining Your Current Directory

While the general answer is pwd, note that this may give different results depending on how you reached a given directory and whether the route included symbolic links.

For instance if you have a directory called real, and a symbolic link to that directory called virtual and you cd to the virtual directory then pwd will show that virtual directory name, even though the actual directory you are in is real.

To demonstrate:

$ mkdir real
$ ln -s real virtual
$ cd virtual
$ pwd
$ readlink -f .

Display username, hostname and current working directory in the prompt

The PS1 in this example displays the following three information in the prompt:

  • \u – Username
  • \h – Hostname
  • \w – Full path of the current working directory
-bash-3.2$ export PS1="\u@\h \w> "

ramesh@dev-db ~> cd /etc/mail
ramesh@dev-db /etc/mail>

Make this setting permanent by adding export PS1=”\u@\h \w> ” to either .bash_profile (or) .bashrc as shown below.

ramesh@dev-db ~> vi ~/.bash_profile (or)
ramesh@dev-db ~> vi ~/.bashrc

[Note: Add export PS1=”\u@\h \w> “ to one of the above files]

The grep command syntax

The syntax is as follows:

grep'word' filename
grep'word' file1 file2 file3
grep'string1 string2' filename
cat otherfile | grep 'something'
command grep 'something' 
command option1 | grep 'data'
grep --color 'data'fileName

How do I use grep command to search a file?

Search /etc/passwd file for boo user, enter:

$ grep boo /etc/passwd

Sample outputs:


UNIX / Linux pipes and grep command

grep command often used with shell pipes. In this example, show the name of the hard disk devices:
# dmesg | egrep '(s|h)d[a-z]'
Display cpu model name:
# cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep -i 'Model'
However, above command can be also used as follows without shell pipe:

# grep -i 'Model' /proc/cpuinfo

Sample outputs:

model		: 30
model name	: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU       Q 820  @ 1.73GHz
model		: 30
model name	: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU       Q 820  @ 1.73GHz

Change hostname

Type the following command :

# sudo hostname

Update file /etc/hostname

root@home:~# nano /etc/hostname

Update hostname home by dell

Do NOT Forget to Update alias file too /etc/hosts

root@home:~# nano /etc/hosts

Replace line : home
by line  : dell

Register New host file name

root@home:~# /etc/init.d/hostname.sh start

root@home:~# hostname

Verify Name Machine after reboot


Giving root access

Careful: The following command allows the user to execute sudo commands (root).

# or this one should work

sudo adduser mike sudo

To disable the root login use

# sudo passwd -l root

To change the default shell of the user to bash set the last entry of the corresponding user in the /usr/passwd file to the /bin/bash following as in the following example.


Zipping files

To zip or unzip files on the command line you can use the following commands.

# Zip all pdf files in the ~/tmp/pdf/ diretory

zip ~/targetdir/myzip.zip ~/tmp/pdf/*.pdf

# Unzip the zip file

unzip ~/targetdir/myzip.zip


CREATE USER (with home directory) and group

Useradd –m nagios

Then create group nagios

Groupadd nagios

How to View and Delete Iptables Rules – List and Flush

1. View / List All iptables Rules

When you want to check what rules are in iptables, use –list option as shown below.

# iptables --list

Example 1: Iptables list output showing no rules

# iptables --list
Chain INPUT (policy ACCEPT)
target     prot opt source               destination         

Chain FORWARD (policy ACCEPT)
target     prot opt source               destination         

Chain OUTPUT (policy ACCEPT)
target     prot opt source               destination

The above output shows chain headers. As you see, there are no rules in it.

Example 2: Iptables list output showing some rules

When there is a rule to disable ping reply, you have the iptables list output as like the following. You can see the rule in the OUTPUT chain.

# iptables --list
Chain INPUT (policy ACCEPT)
target     prot opt source               destination         

Chain FORWARD (policy ACCEPT)
target     prot opt source               destination         

Chain OUTPUT (policy ACCEPT)
target     prot opt source               destination
DROP       icmp --  anywhere             anywhere            icmp echo-request

2. Delete iptables Rules using flush option

When you want to delete all the rules, use the flush option as shown below.

# iptables --flush

After doing this, your iptables will become empty, and the “iptables -–list” output will look like what is shown in the example 1.

You can also delete (flush) a particular iptable chain by giving the chain name as an argument as shown below.

# iptables --flush OUTPUT

3. Adding iptables Rules

iptables -A INPUT -p udp -m udp --dport 161 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A OUTPUT -p udp -m udp --sport 161 -j ACCEPT

List All Ports (both listening and non listening ports)

Netstat command displays various network related information such as network connections, routing tables, interface statistics, masquerade connections, multicast memberships etc.,
netstat supports a set of options to display active or passive sockets. The options –t, –u, –w, and –x show active TCP, UDP, RAW, or Unix socket connections. If you provide the –a flag in addition, sockets that are waiting for a connection (i.e., listening) are displayed as well. This display will give you a list of all servers that are currently running on your system.
Some useful samples :

netstat -an | grep udp
netstat -nlpu | grep snmp
netstat -nlpt

Checking ports (telnet ip port_number)

To list tcp ports that are being listened on, along with the name of each listener’s daemon and its PID, run:

sudo netstat -plnt

The following example shows netstat’s output for three common programs that are listening on three different sockets.

$ sudo netstat -plnt 

Active Internet connections (only servers)

Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address               Foreign Address             State       PID/Program name   
tcp        0      0      *                   LISTEN      3686/mysqld            
tcp        0      0 :::443                      :::*                        LISTEN      2218/httpd          
tcp        0      0 :::80                       :::*                        LISTEN      2218/httpd          
tcp        0      0 :::22                       :::*                        LISTEN

List all ports using netstat -a

# netstat -a | more
Active Internet connections (servers and established)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State
tcp        0      0 localhost:30037         *:*                     LISTEN
udp        0      0 *:bootpc                *:*                                

Active UNIX domain sockets (servers and established)
Proto RefCnt Flags       Type       State         I-Node   Path
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     6135     /tmp/.X11-unix/X0
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     5140     /var/run/acpid.socket

List all tcp ports using netstat -at

# netstat -at
Active Internet connections (servers and established)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State
tcp        0      0 localhost:30037         *:*                     LISTEN
tcp        0      0 localhost:ipp           *:*                     LISTEN
tcp        0      0 *:smtp                  *:*                     LISTEN
tcp6       0      0 localhost:ipp           [::]:*                  LISTEN

List all udp ports using netstat -au

# netstat -au
Active Internet connections (servers and established)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State
udp        0      0 *:bootpc                *:*
udp        0      0 *:49119                 *:*
udp        0      0 *:mdns                  *:*

Locating Files :

The find command is used to locate files on a Unix or Linux system.  find will search any set of directories you specify for files that match the supplied search criteria.  You can search for files by name, owner, group, type, permissions, date, and other criteria.  The search is recursive in that it will search all subdirectories too.  The syntax looks like this:

find where-to-look criteria what-to-do

All arguments to find are optional, and there are defaults for all parts.  (This may depend on which version of find is used.  Here we discuss the freely available Gnu version of find, which is the version available on YborStudent.)  For example, where-to-look defaults to . (that is, the current working directory), criteria defaults to none (that is, select all files), and what-to-do (known as the find action) defaults to ‑print (that is, display the names of found files to standard output).  Technically, the criteria and actions are all known as find primaries.

For example:


will display the pathnames of all files in the current directory and all subdirectories.  The commands

find . -print
find -print
find .

do the exact same thing.  Here’s an example find command using a search criterion and the default action:

find / -name foo

This will search the whole system for any files named foo and display their pathnames.  Here we are using the criterion -name with the argument foo to tell find to perform a name search for the filename foo.  The output might look like this:


If find doesn’t locate any matching files, it produces no output.

The above example said to search the whole system, by specifying the root directory (“/”) to search.  If you don’t run this command as root, find will display a error message for each directory on which you don’t have read permission.  This can be a lot of messages, and the matching files that are found may scroll right off your screen.  A good way to deal with this problem is to redirect the error messages so you don’t have to see them at all:

find / -name foo 2>/dev/null

You can specify as many places to search as you wish:

find /tmp /var/tmp . $HOME -name foo

How to check if package is installed (quickly)

On your terminal:

apt-cache policy bridge-utils

If it’s installed, it will display the version installed, if it’s not, it will display the lines of text below:

  Installed: (none)
  Candidate: 1.2-1build1
  Version table:
     1.2-1build1 0
        500 http://archive.ubuntu.com gutsy/main Packages

How to check the installed packages list

Type the following command to get list of all installed software:

# dpkg --get-selections

How to delete a package install with apt-get

Simple delete without associated files :

sudo apt-get remove mon-paquet

Complete delete  :

sudo apt-get purge mon-paquet

 Ubuntu Openn SSH Installation

Type the following two command to install both ssh client and server:

# sudo apt-get install openssh-server openssh-client
# sudo start ssh

or you can use this command :

# sudo /etc/init.d/ssh start

 Reboot Server Linux

Type the following command :

# sudo reboot
# sudo shutdown -r now

Restart Apache 2 web server, enter :

If you are using Ubuntu use sudo:
$ sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
To stop Apache 2 web server, enter:
# sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 stop

Configuring a static IP address on Ubuntu / Debian

First of all perform :


Login to the server using your root account. Type the following to edit the interfaces file :

sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

Look for the following line in the file:

iface eth0 inet dhcp

and change it to

iface etho inet static

Below that line add the following lines, changing the addresses as necessary


If you are using nano, Hit Ctrl-X, Y and enter to save and exit
Reboot the server for the static IP to take effect.

sudo reboot

Linux Server behind a corporate Firewall like TMG or Juniper :

If you are a proxy server so check the file /etc/apt/apt.conf

The contents were,

Acquire::http::proxy "http://<proxy>:<port>";
Acquire::ftp::proxy "ftp://<proxy>:<port>";
Acquire::https::proxy "https://<proxy>:<port>";

This was the reason why you could reach proxy but couldn’t get past it, since there is no username password information. So just put that info into it..

Acquire::http::proxy "http://<username>:<password>@<proxy>:<port>/";
Acquire::ftp::proxy "ftp://<username>:<password>@<proxy>:<port>/";
Acquire::https::proxy "https://<username>:<password>@<proxy>:<port>/";

save the file and you are done…

Note: More better add these lines in another file, /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/80proxy. This will ensure that after a version upgrade changes won’t be lost.

For my corporate network I was given by my administrator the proxy name in the format:


For our Windows network our username is in the format:


For example:


See How to install and setup apache2

See also how to set apache2 web permissions

See also how to set date.timezone in apache




Since 20 years I work on Database Architecture and data migration protocols. I am also a consultant in Web content management solutions. I am an experienced web-developer with over 10 years developing PHP/MySQL, C#, VB.Net applications ranging from simple web sites to extensive web-based business applications. When not writing code, I like to dance salsa and swing and have fun with my little family.

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