Unix Basics

UNIX Basics

This workshop teaches the foundations of UNIX computing. Lectures and practical tutorials introduce the most common commands and fundamental stepping stones into the world of command line computing. There are many different versions of UNIX, although they share common similarities, so you'll be able to follow this tutorial on all of them, provided that they have a terminal to enter commands and a simple text editor. The most widely used varieties of UNIX are GNU/LInux, Sun Solaris and MacOS X.

On this page you'll find:

  1. UoR UNIX Basics course videos
  2. UoR Carpentries resources to learn the UNIX shell
  3. Further links and resources to get started on UNIX


1. UoR UNIX Basics

Main objectives of the course are to be able to:

  • use basic commands
  • navigate the file structure
  • create directories and files
  • use a basic text editor
  • read files and modify them
  • search for files and file contents
  • chain commands
  • write simple bash scripts and execute them


      1. You need to have access to a UNIX machine. Our tutorial runs on the UoR Linux systems which you can access with your username and password. Do to this, please familiarise yourself first with section 2 of our Introduction to academic computing tutorials.
      2. If you are using your own UNIX machine, it should have a text editor installed. In this tutorial we use gedit as it is straightforward and simple to use.

Course Content

1. Introduction to UNIX and basic commands

This section introduces you to the concept of command line computing. It covers the fundamentals of UNIX, the directory structure and basic commands to navigate the system.

2. Creating and manipulating files

In this section you'll learn how to create and edit files using a simple text editor, read files from the command line and commands to copy, move and remove files as well as command options. We also cover displaying text arguments to the screen and appending text to files.

COMING SOON! 3. Chaining commands and creating an alias

COMING SOON! 4. Simple bash scripting


2. UoR Carpentries

Software Carpentry aims to help researchers get their work done in less time and with less pain by teaching them basic research computing skills. At UoR, we run hands-on software workshops, which cover basic concepts and tools, including program design, version control, data management, and task automation. The workshop resources for the UNIX Shell are accessible in the links below. We will also create a series of video tutorials which will be accessible outside of the workshops.

Main objectives of the course are to be able to:

  • understand the command shell
  • learn core commands to navigate and manipulate files and directories
  • combine commands to do new things
  • construct loops for repetitive tasks
  • write shell scripts to save and re-use commands
  • find files and things in files

The UNIX Shell online resources