- What is a terminal?
- How do I open a terminal window?
- How do I use the terminal?
What is it:
The terminal is an interface in which you can type and execute text based commands.
Why use it:
It can be much faster to complete some tasks using a Terminal than with graphical applications and menus. Another benefit is allowing access to many more commands and scripts.
A common terminal task of installing an application can be achieved within a single command, compared to navigating through the Software Centre or Synaptic Manager.
For example the following would install Deluge bittorrent client:
sudo apt-get install deluge
To save a detailed list of files in the current directory tree to a file called
find -type f > listing.txt
Sometimes you will also see the following notation:
$ whoami calum $ ls Downloads Documents
This means that the command
whoami is executed which gives
calum as output. Following that command,
ls is executed which outputs
A similar notation is:
# apt-get update
This means that the command should be run as root, that is, using
$ sudo apt-get update
Note that the
# character is also used for comments.
# this command will give your username whoami # the next command will show the contents of the current directory ls
How do I open a terminal:
Open the Dash (Super Key) or Applications and type
Use the keyboard shortcut by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T.
For older or Ubuntu versions: (More Info)
Applications → Accessories → Terminal
Alternative names for the terminal:
- Command line
- Command prompt
(Although technically they mean different things)
Common commands & Further information
- Ubuntu Documentation: Using The Terminal
A Terminal is your interface to the underlying operating system via a shell, usually bash. It is a command line.
Back in the day, a Terminal was a screen+keyboard that was connected to a server. Today, it is usally just a progam.
You can open it via the utilities part of the apllications menu, or press Alt+F2 and type
The terminal (also known as console) is an application in which you can execute commands directly. It looks like:
You can start the terminal from Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal.
If you're not using Gnome, but KDE (Kubuntu), you would find it under: Kickoff menu -> Applications -> System -> Konsole.
The Ubuntu wiki has an article about the terminal which includes information on starting the terminal in Xubuntu and Lubuntu, and a basic overview of commonly used commands. It's recommended for reading as it includes much examples as well.
A Terminal is a command interpreter. A Terminal is an entity that takes input from the user and deals with the computer rather than the user deal directly with the computer. If the user had to deal directly with the computer he would not get much done as the computer only understands strings of 1's and 0's
When a person drives a car, that person doesn't have to actually adjust every detail that goes along with making the engine run, or the electronic system controlling all of the engine timing and so on. The dashboard would also be considered part of the the Terminal since pertinent (Having logical precise relevance to the matter at hand) information relating to the user's involvement in operating the car is displayed there. In fact any part of the car that the user has control of during operation of the car would be considered part of the Terminal.
Terminal is a program that allows the user to use the computer without him having to deal directly with it. It is in a sense a protective shell that prevents the user and computer from coming into contact with one another.
Simply said, a Terminal is a CLI (Command Line Interface) to interact with programs in the computer.
In Ubuntu you can open a terminal:
- by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T
- by pressing the Super key, type "terminal" and then hit Enter.
You can use the terminal for various tasks, such as:
- Installing, updating, and deleting software.
- For power off, reboot, sleep...
- Creating and removing files and folders.
- Many more...