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This probably seems very confusing. The following table helps clarify how commands (modules) are marked and why.

Command Mark Description

SV The external command is only supported on System V systems.
BSD The external command is only supported on BSD systems.
csh The internal command is only supported by the csh.
ksh The internal command is only supported by the ksh.
internal The command is an internal shell command. It is performed by the shell.
external The command is external from the shell. It is a separate program that executes apart from the shell.
csh/ksh The command is supported by the csh and ksh but not the sh.
""(no marks) The command is supported by SV and BSD if external.
""(no marks) The command is supported by all shells.
A(X-csh) The letter as used by the ksh and the letter X used by the csh.
A(X-bsd) The letter as used by SV and the letter X used by BSD.

The BSD operating system is distributed by the University of California. Vendors purchase the source code and make proprietary changes as they desire. Thus the BSD commands may or may not correspond to the documentation contained in this book. An AT&T System V V32 license is required to purchase the BSD source.

A module marked as SV only or BSD only may actually be found on different type systems. This is usually because the vendor starts with a System V base and includes BSD extensions or vice versa.

Two learning sequences are provided at the beginning of this book. One is a list of all System V modules, the other is for Berkeley (BSD) UNIX. Related commands are grouped together. These learning sequences are extremely useful to chart your progress if you are learning or teaching UNIX User Commands.

When using the learning sequence it is best to decide which shell you are going to use. If you have the ksh, use it. If you don't have the ksh but do have the csh, then use it. Otherwise suffer with the sh. Once you select a shell, continue using it throughout the book. If a module is specifically designated for a shell you are not using, skip to the end of the module and find the next module to start using.

This module provides a brief overview of this book. It provides information about using the book, its contents, and how it is organized. It informs you about hardware and software requirements. It also tells you what you should know before continuing in the learning sequence.

Module 2 is a sample session using UNIX. It is designed for the user who wants to dive in immediately and for the person who needs to step through a simple exercise using the UNIX System. Module 2 takes you on a tour of the UNIX System, from logging in and performing tasks with UNIX commands to logging out. As you follow along on your computer, you will discover how easy it is to use the power of UNIX.

Module 3 is a brief overview of the UNIX System. It provides valuable insight into the features and functionality of UNIX. It must be read to understand how UNIX works and how you can better use the resources that UNIX provides.

Modules 4 through 166 describe and illustrate the User Commands. These modules are arranged in alphabetical order for easy reference, once you have finished the learning sequence.

Appendix A contains a list of terms and definitions that are used in this book. This appendix is a useful tool for clarifying words that were not defined when you first encountered them in the text or that are not a module within themselves.

Appendix B contains UNIX exercises. It is provided for the classroom and self-teaching situations. If you are a classroom instructor, you may wish to include these exercises in student assignments. If you are learning UNIX on your own, the exercises are a good way to see what you've learned about a command. If you can answer the questions, you are ready to move on to the next module in the learning sequence.

Appendix C contains an MS-DOS to UNIX command cross reference. It provides a table of MS-DOS commands and the closest UNIX equivalent.

Appendix D contains a VMS to UNIX command cross reference. It contains a table of VMS commands and the closest UNIX equivalent.

Appendix E contains file formats for the password and group files.

Appendix F contains the ASCII collating sequence used by UNIX commands to distinguish the proper order (precedence) of bytes.

Appendix G contains a quick reference for the vi full screen text editor.


The UNIX System has been ported (rewritten to run on different hardware) to every major hardware vendor's machine. With over 150 designs of computers running UNIX, ranging from micros to supercomputers, you will discover differences between the various UNIX implementations. Hopefully, this book provides a standard resource of information that will allow you to be productive on your UNIX System.


Because UNIX is a multitasking, multiuser system, it is hard to know each system's requirements. Therefore, the following list is a general guideline for what you as a user will need before you can begin to work on UNIX. You will have to consult your UNIX system administrator to establish some of these requirements.

1.  An account on the UNIX System; provides you with a user name. In this book mylogin has been used as the user name. Substitute your user name in place of mylogin as you work the examples in this book.
2.  An ASCII terminal; must be capable of FULL-DUPLEX mode.
3.  A direct line to the computer from your terminal or a modem connected to your terminal.

Request that your system administrator E-mail you a short letter when your account is set up.

The key to using UNIX is knowing what it has to offer. It is the most flexible and powerful general purpose operating system on the market, and as a user you can accomplish many tasks with little effort by using it efficiently. This book provides the necessary information for you to use the system.

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