Linux file name notation
. Linux file system is organized as hierarchies of directories
(also known as directory trees). To reach the location of a file within an arbitrary directory,
a file path must be specified. There are two basic types of paths: relative paths and absolute paths.
A relative path is the location of a file relative to the current directory. The command pwd
shows the current directory (the directory in which the user is currently working).
An absolute path, also referred to as an absolute pathname or a full path, is the location of a file
relative to the root directory (/). Absolute paths always begin with the root directory. Because the
root directory is represented by a forward slash ( / ), a path is absolute if the first character is a /.
Otherwise, it is a relative path.
Forward slashes are also used to separate all items in both relative and absolute paths. When a path ends
with a forward slash, it indicates that the last item in the path is a directory.
A file can be located by either absolute or relative paths. Absolute paths start at the top of the
file system with / (referred to as root) and then look down for the requested directory. Relative paths
look down from the current directory.
Using absolute paths allows you to change to a directory from the / directory, which requires you to know
and type in the complete path. Using relative paths allows you to change to a directory relative to the one
you are currently in, which can be convenient if you are changing to a subdirectory within your current
The following commands perform file and directory management functions in a Linux environment.
You definitely will use one or more of these commands to manage a dedicated server remotely.
You should become familiar and eventually proficient with these commands since you may have to
use them on a daily basis.
You can learn these commands to see how they work by actual practice with simple parameters first.
Detailed help is available by typing man
and the name of the command. For example man cat
shows the help file for cat which explains all of its command line options. There are plenty of good
examples on how to use these commands from the Internet. Remember that the search engine is your friend.
In general, you probably will not use all options available in a particular command. However, if you
are well aware of what these commands can do, it would make the task of administration a dedicated
server simpler, more efficient and secure. If you develop server scripts, understanding these commands well
will reduce the development time of your project.