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80 Essential Linux Commands Every Developer Should Master

80 Essential Linux Commands Every Developer Should Master

Linux, an open-source operating system renowned for its stability, security, and flexibility, serves as the foundation for countless software applications and systems worldwide. As developers immerse themselves in the Linux environment, mastering essential command-line tools becomes imperative for efficient navigation, file management, system administration, and networking tasks.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into 80 Linux commands that every developer must know to navigate the Linux ecosystem with confidence and proficiency.

01. File and Directory Operations:

  • ls: List directory contents.
  • cd: Change directory.
  • pwd: Print working directory.
  • mkdir: Make directory.
  • rmdir: Remove directory.
  • touch: Create an empty file or update the timestamp of an existing file.
  • cp: Copy files or directories.
  • mv: Move or rename files or directories.
  • rm: Remove files or directories.
  • cat: Concatenate and display file content.
  • less: View file content with pagination.
  • head: Display the beginning of a file.
  • tail: Display the end of a file.
  • ln: Create links between files.
  • find: Search for files and directories.
  • grep: Search for patterns in files.
  • locate: Find files by name.
  • diff: Compare files line by line.
  • wc: Count words, lines, and characters in a file.
  • chmod: Change file permissions.
  • chown: Change file ownership.
  • tar: Archive files.
  • gzip: Compress or decompress files.
  • unzip: Extract files from a ZIP archive.
  • df: Display disk space usage.
  • du: Show directory space usage.
  • stat: Display file or file system status.

02. Text Editing and Manipulation:

  • nano: Basic text editor.
  • vim: Advanced text editor.
  • emacs: Another powerful text editor.
  • sed: Stream editor for filtering and transforming text.
  • awk: Pattern scanning and text processing language.
  • cut: Extract sections from each line of files.
  • paste: Merge lines of files.
  • sort: Sort lines of text files.
  • uniq: Report or filter out repeated lines in a file.
  • tr: Translate or delete characters.
  • tee: Read from standard input and write to standard output and files simultaneously.

03. System Information and Management:

  • top: Display and update sorted information about processes.
  • ps: Report a snapshot of the current processes.
  • kill: Terminate processes by PID.
  • killall: Terminate processes by name.
  • pstree: Display a tree of processes.
  • uptime: Show how long the system has been running.
  • who: Display who is logged in.
  • uname: Print system information.
  • free: Display amount of free and used memory in the system.
  • hostname: Print or set system name.
  • ifconfig: Configure network interfaces.
  • ping: Send ICMP echo requests to a host.
  • netstat: Print network connections, routing tables, interface statistics, masquerade connections, and multicast memberships.
  • traceroute: Print the route packets take to network host.
  • route: Show or manipulate the IP routing table.
  • ssh: Secure Shell client for remote login.

04. Process Management:

  • bg: Run jobs in the background.
  • fg: Bring jobs to the foreground.
  • jobs: Display current jobs.
  • nohup: Run a command immune to hangups.
  • screen: Terminal multiplexer with detach and reattach capabilities.
  • tmux: Terminal multiplexer similar to screen.

05. Package Management:

  • apt: Advanced Package Tool for managing software packages.
  • apt-get: Command-line tool for handling packages.
  • yum: Package manager for RPM-based Linux distributions.
  • dnf: Next-generation package manager for RPM-based Linux distributions.

06. User Management:

  • sudo: Execute a command as another user, typically the superuser.
  • su: Substitute user identity to become superuser or another user.
  • useradd: Create a new user account.
  • usermod: Modify user account properties.
  • passwd: Change user password.
  • userdel: Delete a user account.

07. File Transfer and Networking:

  • scp: Securely copy files between hosts.
  • rsync: Remote file synchronization utility.
  • wget: Retrieve files from the web using HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP.
  • curl: Transfer data with URLs.
  • ssh-keygen: Generate SSH keys for secure authentication.
  • ssh-copy-id: Copy SSH keys to a remote server's authorized_keys file.

08. Miscellaneous:

  • history: Display command history.
  • alias: Create command aliases.
  • watch: Execute a program periodically, showing output fullscreen.
  • man: Display the manual pages for commands.


Linux commands are indispensable tools for developers, offering unparalleled control and flexibility in managing various aspects of the operating system and executing a myriad of tasks efficiently. By mastering these commands, developers can streamline their workflow, troubleshoot issues effectively, and unleash the full potential of the Linux environment. Whether it’s manipulating files, monitoring processes, configuring networks, or managing users, a solid command-line repertoire empowers developers to navigate the complexities of Linux with ease and proficiency, ultimately enhancing productivity and driving innovation in software development.

With these 80 essential Linux commands at your disposal, you’re well-equipped to tackle the challenges of development in the Linux ecosystem, and embark on a journey of exploration and discovery in the world of open-source software.