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The latest version of the Scribes text editor lets us select some text, hit Alt+X, and then run an arbitrary command. For example, I can run the sort command and the selected text is replaced appropriately.

This is quite useful but I am also not very well-versed in awk and the like. Is there something I can grab that will provide more of these commands like sort? Maybe a package with a whole bunch of handy, task-specific string manipulation commands?

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Ubuntu (and possibly other distros) ships with a lot of documentation by default. Especially the info stuff is very useful, take the time for reading those.

Documentation about text and file manipulation, which also has an extended page on file permissions:

info coreutils

Use the arrow keys to scroll through the pages (or page up/down). For more commands, press h for help. If you're on a menu item, press Enter to navigate to the section.

For a list of help available for info, just invocate info without arguments.

Almost every command has an own so-called "manpage" (manual page), that can be viewed using the man command. If you would like to learn more about the awk command, run man awk. Not all pages are about commands. For example, information about the Linux filesystem hierarchy can be viewed with man hier.

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Oh, wonderful! Thanks, Lekensteyn. For some reason I never thought to check where sort came from. And I just learned something else: you can use yelp to show man pages, and it does a pretty good job. Searching for info:coreutils gives a document with all the sections laid out very nicely, so I can continue to convince my fear reflex that I'm not using the scary command line :b –  Dylan McCall Jan 20 '11 at 7:07

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