Using Unix


  • General overview of the Unix operating system.
  • Main features, advantages and disadvantages of Unix.

Unix Documentation

  • Printed and on-line documentation for Unix concepts and programs.

Accounts and Passwords

  • How to get accounts on computers at Stanford and within the School of Earth Sciences
  • How to connect securely so that your password won't be captured by hackers.

Using the Shell

  • The first step in using a Unix system is logging into a shell.
  • The various ways to login and work with your environment.
  • View common Unix commands and learn about special characters to watch out for.

Using an X-terminal

  • X Window is the network-independent graphical user interface for Unix systems.
  • The basic concepts of establishing an X Window session, including authentication issues.

File Manipulation

  • Get background information on how the Unix file system works.
  • How to do basic manipulations including moving, copying, changing permissions, and linking.
  • How to do intermediate manipulation of files with data pipes.

Network Commands

  • Learn about programs for remote login, remote command execution, and file transfer from one computer to another over the network.

Editing Text

  • How to do basic and intermediate text editing with vi.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of using the vi text editor.
  • Print out a useful vi quick reference guide.

Formatting Text

  • Simple text formatting commands.
  • Identify varying ideologies behind typesetting.
  • Produce formatted text and mathematical functions with the LaTeX typesetting system.

Filters and Data Utilities

  • There hundreds of programs that are part of the standard Unix distribution, or readily available from public domain archives, that can be used to manipulate data.
  • This section discusses a few of the more commonly used ones, particularly those that operate in the filter model so they can be combined into pipelines for complicated processing tasks.


  • Unix offers many options for automating tasks and processing.
  • There are three types of programming languages discussed here: shell scripts, interpreted languages, and compiled languages.

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