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The shell used in DICE is bash. A shell provides the command line interface to Linux. To get a shell, open a terminal window or login using ssh (see the ssh section of Connecting from outside the University - an overview for how to do this).

To get help with bash, type one of these commands at a bash prompt (for instance in a terminal window):

  • info bash displays the GNU Bash Reference Manual. It's a gentle introduction. If you're not familiar with the info system, either keep pressing the Space bar to scroll through the whole manual one node at a time, or press H (uppercase H) to see a short tutorial called How to use info. Press q to quit the info system.
  • help gives a brief list of bash commands. Type help then the name of one of those commands (for example help alias) to find out more about that command.
  • man bash provides a rigorous and thorough description of every aspect of bash.

Bash commands such as alias and function can be used to define new commands or alter the behaviour of existing ones. For example this alias would make the ls command automatically give more informative output:
alias ls='ls -F --color=auto'

Bash startup files are personal lists of commands (such as alias or function definitions) which are automatically run when logging in or starting a shell. See How does the DICE bash start-up mechanism work?

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