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Clueless at the Prompt
Welcome to installment 10 of Clueless at the Prompt,
Here's this month's account of the triumphs, trials and
tribulations that I caused myself or encountered since the last
time, and a couple tips that may come in handy and increase your
understanding of Linux.
*Splitvt and Screen: Last month, I suggested splitvt as a substitute
for virtual consoles when using a serial terminal. I still recommend
splitvt since you can work in two separate windows that are in sight of
each other- cut and paste with gpm is a snap for scavenging previously
written scripts or....
But several people wrote to tell me about screen, which is an even better
substitute for virtual consoles when using that dumb terminal. I'm still
working on making screen work fluidly, Alt-F* took a little
getting used to at first. Instead of the A-F* combination you use the
C-a* keys to open a new window. There are some other features that I have
only read about, the only difference between screen and virtual consoles
is that each new screen is already logged on.
Like I said, I'm not familiar with all of screen's features, but to use
it, basically you type:
and your screen session is started in VT0.
To add more VTs you can use:
and to change from one screen to another:
and you can change from screen to screen, depending on how many you have
opened. Note that the screens are numbered 0-9 rather than 1-10,
the only clumsy feature of this program, IMHO.
*Back to basics: Some friends of mine, the nefarious UGD folks
have a page
"User Guide Dog"which details many, if not
most of the usual commands that a new user might find useful but not
clearly documented. I don't have to tell you that man pages can be pretty
hostile to a gnubee (ever wonder what that picture was?), but if you
check them out after using the programs to do the things you most commonly
need to do, you will most likely achieve enlightenment - the information
is suddenly much more clear. The UGD Project is shaping up as a good
vehicle for this journey, if you can take the ride. Bring along your sense
of humor, one of the guys is a Canadian from out on the tundra ; ).
*Some stuff you may not hear anywhere else (so basic they forgot
to tell you):
Here's some stuff you probably already know
about, if you've been into Linux (or other unices) for a while.
Filename Completion: If you aren't an enthusiastic
typist, you'll find this of value. Just type enough of the filename
to make it unique, then hit
and it will complete the filename so you can get on with your life
and file manipulation. Play with this feature, if you haven't
typed enough of the name to be unique, it will sit and stare at
you, try another character or two. Likewise, if you specified the
wrong directory, you'll get nada.
Quick cd: Another keystroke saving apparatus
and its close relative
The details for
a quick cd areas follows: as you may be already aware, the dots
represent your current directory(single dot) and parent directory
(double dot).By CDing to
you will be magically transported to the parent directory, ie
from /usr/bin to /usr.You can use:
to return to the previous directory,
and to go up two or more levels:
../../and so on
will work. The single dot is not as useful in terms of cd, but it
does have its use. If you are in a directory that's not in your
path, or dont have
in your path statement, you must
give a path to run an executable file. This is easily accomplished
which will give the relative pathname, allowing it to be found and
There are a few good reasons why using the single
dot in your path statement isn't a good idea, suffice to say, if
you'd like more info on that subject, you should read up on system
GPM: This has been so basic to my Linux experience
that I would be crippled without it, in fact once when I flubbed
an installation and didn't have it running, it became my first
priority to correct that little oversight. The mere fact that the
non unix OS seem not to have this is reason to upgrade to Linux,
although I found a dos program that allows a similar use of the
mouse on simtelnet. In a related matter, if you dual boot(most
home boxes, I'd imagine)you might find yourself using
when you actually meant to type
when what you wanted was
you can create batch files(like shell scripts) named for your
favorite unix commands, using your favorite switches. Not as
cool as dosemu or just plain staying in Linux, but ya gotta do
what ya gotta do.
*Errata: No I don't really do "make dev" when I make a kernel
(maybe I could blame it on my keyboard)make dep is what I meant.
If you have a subject that you would like to see covered or have
any corrections, comments or flames let me know, and I'll look
into the matter.
See you next month!
Previous "Clueless at the Prompt" Columns
Clueless at the Prompt #1 - Feburary 1997
Clueless at the Prompt #2 - March 1997
Clueless at the Prompt #3 - April 1997
Clueless at the Prompt #4 - May 1997
Clueless at the Prompt #5 - June 1997
Clueless at the Prompt #6 - July 1997
Clueless at the Prompt #7 - September 1997
Clueless at the Prompt #8 - December 1997
Clueless at the Prompt #9 - February 1998
Copyright © 1998, Mike List
Published in Issue 26 of Linux Gazette, March 1998