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Utilities in Linux and some terminology confusion


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#1 Ubiq

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 02:21 PM

Hi Guys!

 

Sorry, there's a lot of reading here, but I'm really confused!

tl;dr: Questions are highlighted.

 

Does anyone have handy a list of installed utilities in Ubuntu 15? I've done a few searches but I'm getting lots of results that differ from each other and that I feel aren't complete. I'm studying the tut on recommended linux apps, and its great, but I think I would be able to make better use of it if I could learn exactly what's already on my system.

 

Now for the embarrassing bit.  :blush:

 

Maybe I'm overthinking this, but I feel that I lack a true understanding of what a utility is in linux. My understanding of a "utility" is that its a small executable/program that comes bundled with the os for the purposes of maintenance.

In my very small understanding of the computer universe, a utility is an executable/program like an "application" is, but an "application" is one that you download/install from a third party vendor for something unrelated to os maintenance.

 

I was confused when I first learned that "ls" was a "utility". I thought it was a "command". Isn't a command a direction you give a computer through the terminal?

 

So, if you made it through all that: Just how confused am I about the definitions of "utility" and "application"? I have this fear that an "application" just means stuff you buy for an expensive phone.

Thank you!! :flowers:


Machine: Toshiba Portege r705-P41, Dual Boot: MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; Ubuntu 15.04
CPU: Intel Core i5 460M @ 2.53GHz Arrandale 32nm Technology,
RAM: 4.0GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 532MHz (7-7-7-20), Motherboard: TOSHIBA Portable PC (rBGA1288 Socket)
Video Card: Intel HD Graphics Revision 2 1720 MBytes

Speccy


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#2 NickAu

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 06:14 PM

Utility software is system software designed to help analyze, configure, optimize or maintain a computer.

Examples of Utility Softwares are;
Anti-virus
Backup
Data compression utilities

Application Software is the software which allows users to do things like creating text documents, playing games, listening to music or viewing websites.

 

 

Open Office
Adobe Photoshop
Media Player
Web Browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome


Edited by NickAu, 28 August 2015 - 06:16 PM.


#3 wizardfromoz

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 06:59 PM

A slightly more detailed version of what Nick is saying can be found at:

 

http://www.networkpcworld.com/difference-between-utility-software-and-application-software/

 

A grey line is crossed when the utility softwares may be packaged as a suite, eg Open Office is a suite of applications.

 

:wizardball: Wiz

 

Edited typo


Edited by wizardfromoz, 28 August 2015 - 06:59 PM.


#4 jonuk76

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 07:20 PM

I don't know the ins an outs of the semantics, but some of the things you mention, like ls, rm, mv as a group are called GNU Core Utilities.  These are basic utilities that do things like file operations.  One of the philosophies of Unix is "do one thing and do it well" and these core utilities pretty much fit that description.  They each have manuals attached to them, so if you type "man ls" into the terminal you'll open the manual page for the ls utility.

 

More standard GNU utilities (which may or may not be included in a default Ubuntu installation) are described here - http://www.gnu.org/manual/blurbs.html  Even if not present they can usually be installed from the repos if needed.

 


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#5 Al1000

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 07:33 PM

It may have been referring to the difference between built-in shell commands, and utilities, which are everything else.

To see a list of the built-in shell commands, type help in a terminal. Anything that isn't in the list is a utility/application.


You can also use which (or whereis) to find out on an individual basis whether a "command" is built-in to the shell, or a separate utility. For example type
which ls
and you'll probably find the output is
/bin/ls
which tells you where the utility/application is. Now try the same with cd:
which cd
and you'll find that there is no output, indicating that cd is built in to BASH (Bourne Again SHell)

Edited by Al1000, 28 August 2015 - 07:35 PM.


#6 wizardfromoz

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 08:50 PM

To see a list of the built-in shell commands, type help in a terminal. Anything that isn't in the list is a utility/application.
 

 

Ubiq, good article below

 

http://www.howtogeek.com/108890/how-to-get-help-with-a-command-from-the-linux-terminal-8-tricks-for-beginners-pros-alike/

 

Options such as

help|more
help|less

will give you more control over your search output viewing.

 

If you see eg "hash" in the output, you can type

help -d hash

... the output will be

 

 

hash - Remember or display program locations.

 

... that is, a short description of the command.

 

:wizardball: Wiz

 

BTW pressing "q" key will escape the mode if you do not wish to view all the output.

 

Edited - added BTW


Edited by wizardfromoz, 28 August 2015 - 08:51 PM.


#7 Ubiq

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 03:39 AM

All these links and examples are awesome! Thank you! :love4u:

 

AI1000, I think you are right about the bash commands. I've been putting off reading about it because it seems hard, but I guess I gotta get over it.


Machine: Toshiba Portege r705-P41, Dual Boot: MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; Ubuntu 15.04
CPU: Intel Core i5 460M @ 2.53GHz Arrandale 32nm Technology,
RAM: 4.0GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 532MHz (7-7-7-20), Motherboard: TOSHIBA Portable PC (rBGA1288 Socket)
Video Card: Intel HD Graphics Revision 2 1720 MBytes

Speccy


#8 cat1092

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 03:42 AM

 

 

Does anyone have handy a list of installed utilities in Ubuntu 15?

 

In addition to the excellent advice posted above, there's also documentation that comes with the OS. 

 

If you've yet to install Ubuntu 15, as long as you know how to install, just go ahead & go for it. By using the examples above (& some self-learning), you'll learn what to use for various tasks in Ubuntu. Should you find that you need one not bundled, it's usually in the Ubuntu Software Center. 

 

Experience is your best teacher, and you can always ask questions when needed.  :)

 

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/VividVervet/ReleaseNotes

 

While you may not understand it all at first, and likely never will (I don't & have been running Linux MInt for 6 years), as time passes, you'll learn what you need to know. That's the main thing. You don't need to know what every command does, as you'll never use them all. 

 

Good Luck!

 

Cat


Edited by cat1092, 29 August 2015 - 03:47 AM.

Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 





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