Simplifying and improving standard commands


fd (packaged as fd-find in some distributions) is a simplification of the find command. fd (Figure 4) has less than half the options of find and does not have obscure distinctions like global and positional options that can confuse occasional users.

Figure 4: fd is an alternative to the standard find command.

What fd does have is a selection of the most commonly used options. It supports regular expressions – which a search command must do to be any use at all – as well as options to include hidden files, to choose patterns to ignore, to perform case-sensitive searches, or to filter by file types. Probably, it would take a sophisticated user to find fd lacking.


The Bash shell is rich in pagers for viewing files. Although each has more functionality than its predecessors, all remain available in major distributions.

The newest pager is most (Figure 5). Its name continues a running joke; less is more than the more command, while most is more than less.

Figure 5: most is an enhancement of less and more.

The advantages of most begin with multiple display options. It continues with the ability to display multiple files and to navigate between them using keyboard shortcuts. If you are frequently opening man pages, you might also want to set most as the default pages with commands, options, and other standard items color-coded.


apt-get is the front end for the dpkg command in Debian and its derivatives. Over two decades or so, apt-get has grown both in complexity and in the number of related utilities – most of which include apt in their names. The result is an immensely powerful yet immensely confusing collection of tools.

First developed by Ubuntu, apt (Figure 6) is a replacement for the most common uses of apt-get and its utilities. Not only does it drop the last four characters of the command, but the same basic command is used for functions like search that were originally in a separate command. At the same time, the same functions found in apt-get, such as install and update, are also used, making apt easy to learn for experienced users. As an added bonus, apt includes a progress bar that is easier to read at a glance or from a distance than apt-get's percentage completion counter.

Figure 6: apt is an improved front end for Debian's dpkg and related utilities.

apt is not nearly as comprehensive as apt-get and its utilities, so for advanced users it is not a replacement. However, for maybe eighty percent of standard package management, it makes maintenance simpler and more convenient.

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Command Line: MultiTail

    MultiTail is not only more powerful than Tail, it's also easier to use.

  • A Tale of tails

    When it comes to file monitoring, tail's replacements, colortail and MultiTail, offer more sophisticated control over how your information is displayed.

  • Command Line – Tilix

    A terminal emulator with innovative features makes working from the command line easier and more efficient.

  • Command Line: tree

    The tree command can provide a clear view of all your files and directories and offers a few advantages over the usual ls command.

  • File Management

    We give you an overview of commands for moving, editing, compressing, and generally manipulating files.

comments powered by Disqus