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Linux in a Nutshell

This directory of Linux commands is from Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition.

Click on any of the 687 commands below to get a description and list of available options. All links in the command summaries point to the online version of the book on Safari Bookshelf.

Buy it now, or read it online on Safari Bookshelf.


head [options] [files]

Print the first few lines (default is 10) of one or more files. If files is missing or -, read from standard input. With more than one file, print a header for each file.


-c num[b|k|m] , --bytes num [b|k|m]

Print first num bytes or, if num is followed by b, k, or m, first num 512-byte blocks, 1-kilobyte blocks, or 1-megabyte blocks.


Display help and then exit.

-n num, --lines num, -num

Print first num lines. Default is 10.

-q, --quiet, --silent

Quiet mode; never print headers giving filenames.

-v, --verbose

Print filename headers, even for only one file.


Output version information and then exit.


Display the first 20 lines of phone_list:

head -20 phone_list

Display the first 10 phone numbers having a 202 area code:

grep '(202)' phone_list | head

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