Unix Tutorials

File System

Command line

There are a few ways of getting your hands on a bash prompt. Both Gnome and KDE provide applications (Terminal and Konsole, respectively) that will give you access to the command line. If you are having trouble with your graphics card or you haven’t installed the X graphical system, you can access a text-based login prompt by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F1 all the way through to F6. You will still need to provide login details to gain access.

The most common way you’ll probably be accessing your new server is via SSH.SSH (which stands for Secure SHell) is a suite of tools that provides secure access to machines across an untrusted network. Before SSH, the standard way to connect to a server was to use telnet. Unfortunately, telnet sends everything on to the network “in the clear,” so it was often possible for attackers to be able to steal passwords directly from the network.

For Linux and the Apple Mac, SSH is a standard part of their operating systems. On Linux, wherever you can get a shell prompt, simply typing ssh will give you access to the program. The same is true for OS X (which has a very strong BSD background). You will need to run the Terminal program, which can be found in Applications ? Utilities. This tool gives you a very similar command line that you would expect to see on CentOS. Indeed, they both run bash!

If you’re running Windows, you won’t have an SSH client as standard. Fortunately, there is a really good client called PuTTY that’s open source and freely available for download. You can download PuTTY from its web site at http://www.chiark.greenend.org. uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html. PuTTY is a pretty simple tool that can be downloaded as a stand-alone executable as well as part of an installer. The stand-alone executable is particularly handy for placing on USB sticks when you need to connect to your server from someone else’s machine.