In day to day administration we as system administrators have literally thousands of commands to choose from to keep our servers running in tip top condition. I’ve seen top 10 lists of essential commands every Linux user should know. I’ve seen top 35 lists of the best Linux shell commands. I’ve seen top 100 lists of Linux shell commands that if your not using them you’re not a real system administrator. Hooey. It’s not the command or commands you know that will ease your administrative burden. It’s knowing how to respond to issues that will ease your administrative burden.

I’ve been using Unix and Linux for over 35 years and I’m still no expert. I have learned how to troubleshoot issues and experience has taught me the proper tools to use to solve whatever the issue might be. If it’s an issue I don’t know how to fix Google is always available as a resource. When your having a problem and going nuts because you’ve spent all day working on some problem and at the eleventh hour you’re still no closer to the solution then when you started it can be frustrating. But take heart in this. Chances are you’re not the only person in the world to have had said issue. In fact, if you’ve really run into an issue that nobody in the world has ever had then you might have found something special. Unique borders on perfection and we know nobody or anything is perfect. Chances are the issue your having is not really unique. Don’t let pride or ego keep from getting a little help from Google or whatever your favorite search portal is. You’ll live longer 😉

So, onto daily commands I use:

locate - for whatever reasoned removed from Ubuntu - apt install locate
top - checking system resources and what's the 'top' process
cat <file> - oldie but a goodie. let's see that file
pwd ls cd cp mv mkdir rmdir df du chmod chwon - just the basics
tail -f - monitor a log file or anyfile for additions in real time
kill -9 - kill that program
kill -HUP - restart/reload that program
ping <system> - is that system up and running?
history - what was that command and options I used last week
man <command>- man you better know what this is
gzip -d - zip and unzip while we're at it
useradd userdel - self explanatory
^<old comamand>^<new command> - replaces previous command with new command
ctrl-d - logout
find / -name <file> -print - find that file damnit
sudo su - - be root
ls -ld - see directory permissions, but don't list it
curl<command> - new favorite for getting one-liners
fortune - even i need a break sometimes - apt install fortune fortunes
while true; do <command -options>; done - do command over and over

I’m going to keep this article updated every time I think of a command I use daily that’s not on here. This is not going to be of much help for veteran system administrators, but I think it will be a huge help for new system administrators. As I expect this to grow so please add a comment and let me know an essential every day command you use so I can add it to the list.

— I revisits this story in 2021, 09.12 @ around 11am or so.

I think about it hard for a while and this was an article for whatever reason I felt rushed to write. It’s because it seemed that I couldn’t make the list of commands long enough when I felt it should have been infinitely simple to just copy it from somewhere and paste it over, but I couldn’t do (find) it and I was struggling to find words (commands) to describe the trivial situations (reading email logs, not wanking to porn) that weren’t even happening.

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By Editor

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