These tips will look familiar to any one who has games/fortune in their MOTD, because indeed this is where they’re from. These tips are well worth reading, even for an experienced FreeBSD user. For example, how many users know about the “look” command, I for one am enlightened!
Any user that is a member of the wheel group can use "su -" to simulate a root login. You can add a user to the wheel group by editing /etc/group. -- Konstantinos Konstantinidis <kkonstan at duth.gr>
By pressing "Scroll Lock" you can use the arrow keys to scroll backward through the console output. Press "Scroll Lock" again to turn it off.
Can't remember if you've installed a certain port or not? Try "pkg_info -Ix port_name".
Ever wonder what those numbers after command names were, as in cat(1)? It's the section of the manual the man page is in. "man man" will tell you more. -- David Scheidt <dscheidt at tumbolia.com>
Forget how to spell a word or a variation of a word? Use look portion_of_word_you_know -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
Forget what directory you are in? Type "pwd". -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
Forget when Easter is? Try "ncal -e". If you need the date for Orthodox Easter, use "ncal -o" instead. -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
FreeBSD is started up by the program 'init'. The first thing init does when starting multiuser mode (ie, starting the computer up for normal use) is to run the shell script /etc/rc. By reading /etc/rc and the /etc/rc.d/ scripts, you can learn a lot about how the system is put together, which again will make you more confident about what happens when you do something with it.
Handy bash(1) prompt: PS1="u at h w !$ " -- David Scheidt <dscheidt at tumbolia.com>
Having trouble using fetch through a firewall? Try setting the environment variable FTP_PASSIVE_MODE to yes, and see fetch(3) for more details.
If other operating systems have damaged your Master Boot Record, you can reinstall it either with /usr/sbin/sysinstall or with boot0cfg(8). See "man boot0cfg" for details.
If you accidentally end up inside vi, you can quit it by pressing Escape, colon (:), q (q), bang (!) and pressing return.
If you are in the C shell and have just installed a new program, you won't be able to run it unless you first type "rehash". -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
If you do not want to get beeps in X11 (X Windows), you can turn them off with xset b off
If you have a CD-ROM drive in your machine, you can make the CD-ROM that is presently inserted available by typing 'mount /cdrom' as root. The CD-ROM will be available under /cdrom/. Remember to do 'umount /cdrom' before removing the CD-ROM (it will usually not be possible to remove the CD-ROM without doing this.) Note: This tip may not work in all configurations.
If you need a reminder to leave your terminal, type "leave +hhmm" where "hhmm" represents in how many hours and minutes you need to leave. -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
If you need to ask a question on the FreeBSD-questions mailing list then http://www.FreeBSD.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/ freebsd-questions/index.html contains lots of useful advice to help you get the best results.
If you write part of a filename in tcsh, pressing TAB will show you the available choices when there is more than one, or complete the filename if there's only one match.
If you `set watch = (0 any any)' in tcsh, you will be notified when someone logs in or out of your system.
If you use the C shell, add the following line to the .cshrc file in your home directory to prevent core files from being written to disk: limit coredumpsize 0 -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
If you want df(1) and other commands to display disk sizes in kilobytes instead of 512-byte blocks, set BLOCKSIZE in your environment to 'K'. You can also use 'M' for Megabytes or 'G' for Gigabytes. If you want df(1) to automatically select the best size then use 'df -h'.
If you want to play CDs with FreeBSD, a utility for this is already included. Type 'cdcontrol' then 'help' to learn more. (You may need to set the CDROM environment variable in order to make cdcontrol want to start.)
If you want to quickly check for duplicate package/port installations, try the following pkg_info command. pkg_info | sort | sed -e 's/-[0-9].*$//' | uniq -c | grep -v '^[[:space:]]*1'
If you'd like to keep track of applications in the FreeBSD ports tree, take a look at FreshPorts; http://www.freshports.org/
In order to make fetch (the FreeBSD downloading tool) ask for username/password when it encounters a password-protected web page, you can set the environment variable HTTP_AUTH to 'basic:*'.
In order to search for a string in some files, use 'grep' like this: grep "string" filename1 [filename2 filename3 ...] This will print out the lines in the files that contain the string. grep can also do a lot more advanced searches - type 'man grep' for details.
In order to support national characters for European languages in tools like less without creating other nationalisation aspects, set the environment variable LC_ALL to 'en_US.ISO8859-1'.
"man firewall" will give advice for building a FreeBSD firewall -- David Scheidt <dscheidt at tumbolia.com>
"man hier" will explain the way FreeBSD filesystems are normally laid out. -- David Scheidt <dscheidt at tumbolia.com>
Man pages are divided into section depending on topic. There are 9 different sections numbered from 1 (General Commands) to 9 (Kernel Developer's Manual). You can get an introduction to each topic by typing man <number> intro In other words, to get the intro to general commands, type man 1 intro
"man ports" gives many useful hints about installing FreeBSD ports.
"man security" gives very good advice on how to tune the security of your FreeBSD system.
"man tuning" gives some tips how to tune performance of your FreeBSD system. -- David Scheidt <dscheidt at tumbolia.com>
Need to do a search in a manpage or in a file you've sent to a pager? Use "/search_word". To repeat the same search, type "n" for next. -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
Need to find the location of a program? Use "locate program_name". -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
Need to leave your terminal for a few minutes and don't want to logout? Use "lock -p". When you return, use your password as the key to unlock the terminal. -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
Need to print a manpage? Use man name_of_manpage | col -bx | lpr -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
Need to quickly empty a file? Use ": > filename". -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
Need to quickly return to your home directory? Type "cd". -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
Need to remove all those ^M characters from a DOS file? Try tr -d \r < dosfile > newfile -- Originally by Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
Need to see the calendar for this month? Simply type "cal". To see the whole year, type "cal -y". -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
Need to see which daemons are listening for connection requests? Use "sockstat -4l" for IPv4, and "sockstat -l" for IPv4 and IPv6. -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
Need to see your routing table? Type "netstat -rn". The entry with the G flag is your gateway. -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
Nice bash prompt: PS1='([$(tput md)]t <w>[$(tput me)]) $(echo $?) $ ' -- Mathieu <mathieu at hal.interactionvirtuelle.com>
Over quota? "du -s * | sort -n " will give you a sorted list of your directory sizes. -- David Scheidt <dscheidt at tumbolia.com>
nc(1) (or netcat) is useful not only for redirecting input/output to TCP or UDP connections, but also for proxying them with inetd(8).
sh (the default Bourne shell in FreeBSD) supports command-line editing. Just ``set -o emacs'' or ``set -o vi'' to enable it.
Simple tcsh prompt: set prompt = '%# '
The default editor in FreeBSD is vi, which is efficient to use when you have learned it, but somewhat user-unfriendly. To use ee (an easier but less powerful editor) instead, set the environment variable EDITOR to /usr/bin/ee
Time to change your password? Type "passwd" and follow the prompts. -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To change an environment variable in /bin/sh use: $ VARIABLE="value" $ export VARIABLE
To change an environment variable in tcsh you use: setenv NAME "value" where NAME is the name of the variable and "value" its new value.
To clear the screen, use "clear". To re-display your screen buffer, press the scroll lock key and use your page up button. When you're finished, press the scroll lock key again to get your prompt back. -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To determine whether a file is a text file, executable, or some other type of file, use file filename -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To do a fast search for a file, try locate filename locate uses a database that is updated every Saturday (assuming your computer is running FreeBSD at the time) to quickly find files based on name only.
To erase a line you've written at the command prompt, use "Ctrl-U". -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To find out the hostname associated with an IP address, use dig -x IP_address -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To obtain a neat PostScript rendering of a manual page, use ``-t'' switch of the man(1) utility: ``man -t <topic>''. For example: man -t grep > grep.ps # Save the PostScript version to a file or man -t printf | lp # Send the PostScript directly to printer
To quickly create an empty file, use "touch filename". -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To read a compressed file without having to first uncompress it, use "zcat" or "zless" to view it. -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To repeat the last command in the C shell, type "!!". -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To save disk space in your home directory, compress files you rarely use with "gzip filename". -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To search for files that match a particular name, use find(1); for example find / -name "*GENERIC*" -ls will search '/', and all subdirectories, for files with 'GENERIC' in the name. -- Stephen Hilton <nospam at hiltonbsd.com>
To see all of the directories on your FreeBSD system, type find / -type d | less All the files? find / -type f | less
To see how long it takes a command to run, type the word "time" before the command name. -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To see how much disk space is left on your partitions, use df -h -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To see the 10 largest files on a directory or partition, use du /partition_or_directory_name | sort -rn | head -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To see the IP addresses currently set on your active interfaces, type "ifconfig -u". -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To see the last 10 lines of a long file, use "tail filename". To see the first 10 lines, use "head filename". -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To see the last time that you logged in, use lastlogin(8). -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To see the MAC addresses of the NICs on your system, type ifconfig -a -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
To see the output from when your computer started, run dmesg(8). If it has been replaced with other messages, look at /var/run/dmesg.boot. -- Francisco Reyes <lists at natserv.com>
Want colour in your directory listings? Use "ls -G". "ls -F" is also useful, and they can be combined as "ls -FG".
Want to find a specific port, just type the following under /usr/ports or one its subdirectories: make search name=<port-name> or make search key=<keyword>
Want to know how many words, lines, or bytes are contained in a file? Type "wc filename". -- Dru <genesis at istar.ca>
Want to see how much virtual memory you're using? Just type "swapinfo" to be shown information about the usage of your swap partitions.
Want to strip UTF-8 BOM(Byte Order Mark) from given files? sed -e '1s/^xefxbbxbf//' < bomfile > newfile
Want to use sed(1) to edit a file in place? Well, to replace every 'e' with an 'o', in a file named 'foo', you can do: sed -i.bak s/e/o/g foo And you'll get a backup of the original in a file named 'foo.bak', but if you want no backup: sed -i '' s/e/o/g foo
When you've made modifications to a file in vi(1) and then find that you can't write it, type ``<ESC>!rm -f %'' then ``:w!'' to force the write This won't work if you don't have write permissions to the directory and probably won't be suitable if you're editing through a symbolic link.
You can adjust the volume of various parts of the sound system in your computer by typing 'mixer <type> <volume>'. To get a list of what you can adjust, just type 'mixer'.
You can automatically download and install binary packages by doing pkg_add -r <URL> where you replace <URL> with the URL to the package. This will also automatically install the packages the package you download is dependent on (ie, the packages it needs in order to work.)
You can change the video mode on all consoles by adding something like the following to /etc/rc.conf: allscreens="80x30" You can use "vidcontrol -i mode | grep T" for a list of supported text modes. -- Konstantinos Konstantinidis <kkonstan at duth.gr>
You can disable tcsh's terminal beep if you `set nobeep'.
You can get a good generic server install by using the instant-server port/package. If you have ports installed, you can install it by doing # cd /usr/ports/misc/instant-server # make install && make clean as root. This will install a collection of packages that is appropriate for running a "generic" server.
You can install extra packages for FreeBSD by using the ports system. If you have installed it, you can download, compile, and install software by just typing # cd /usr/ports/<category>/<portname> # make install && make clean as root. The ports infrastructure will download the software, change it so it works on FreeBSD, compile it, install it, register the installation so it will be possible to automatically uninstall it, and clean out the temporary working space it used. You can remove an installed port you decide you do not want after all by typing # cd /usr/ports/<category>/<portname> # make deinstall as root.
You can look through a file in a nice text-based interface by typing less filename
You can make a log of your terminal session with script(1).
You can often get answers to your questions about FreeBSD by searching in the FreeBSD mailing list archives at http://www.FreeBSD.org/search/search.html
You can open up a new split-screen window in (n)vi with :N or :E and then use ^w to switch between the two.
You can permanently set environment variables for your shell by putting them in a startup file for the shell. The name of the startup file varies depending on the shell - csh and tcsh uses .login, bash, sh, ksh and zsh use .profile. When using bash, sh, ksh or zsh, don't forget to export the variable.
You can press Ctrl-D to quickly exit from a shell, or logout from a login shell. -- Konstantinos Konstantinidis <kkonstan at duth.gr>
You can press Ctrl-L while in the shell to clear the screen.
You can press up-arrow or down-arrow to walk through a list of previous commands in tcsh.
You can search for documentation on a keyword by typing apropos keyword
You can `set autologout = 30' to have tcsh log you off automatically if you leave the shell idle for more than 30 minutes.
You can use aliases to decrease the amount of typing you need to do to get commands you commonly use. Examples of fairly popular aliases include (in Bourne shell style, as in /bin/sh, bash, ksh, and zsh): alias lf="ls -FA" alias ll="ls -lA" alias su="su -m" In csh or tcsh, these would be alias lf ls -FA alias ll ls -lA alias su su -m To remove an alias, you can usually use 'unalias aliasname'. To list all aliases, you can usually type just 'alias'.
You can use /etc/make.conf to control the options used to compile software on this system. Example entries are in /usr/share/examples/etc/make.conf.
You can use "pkg_info" to see a list of packages you have installed. -- Konstantinos Konstantinidis <kkonstan at duth.gr>
You can use the 'fetch' command to retrieve files over ftp or http. fetch http://www.FreeBSD.org/index.html will download the front page of the FreeBSD web site.
You can use "whereis" to search standard binary, manual page and source directories for the specified programs. This can be particularly handy when you are trying to find where in the ports tree an application is. Try "whereis firefox" and "whereis whereis". -- Konstantinos Konstantinidis <kkonstan at duth.gr>
Want to run the same command again? In tcsh you can type "!!"
Want to go the directory you were just in? Type "cd -"