Chapter 3. Shell Prompt Basics

3.1. Why Use a Shell Prompt

Graphical environments for Linux have come a long way in the past few years. You can be perfectly productive in the X Window System and only have to open a shell prompt to complete a few tasks.

However, many Red Hat Enterprise Linux functions can be completed faster from the shell prompt than from a graphical user interface (GUI). In less time than it takes to open a file manager, locate a directory, and then create, delete, or modify files from a GUI, a task can be finished with just a few commands at a shell prompt.

A shell prompt looks similar to other command line interfaces with which you might be familiar. Users type commands at a shell prompt, the shell interprets these commands, and then the shell tells the OS what to do. Experienced users can write shell scripts to expand their capabilities even further.

Figure 3-1. A Shell Prompt

This chapter explains how to navigate the file system, manipulate files, perform simple administration tasks, and other shell prompt basics.