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CSDE Workshops

Introduction to the Unix/Linux Shell

Instructor: Phil Hurvitz

Unix is a computer operating system: a set of programs that allow users to direct computer activities, including input, processing, and analysis. The system is capable of simultaneously handling multiple activities from multiple users. The development of Unix started around 1969 at AT&T Bell Labs by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie. Linux is a free and open-source implementation of Unix, which was originally developed by Linus Torvalds in the early 1990s. This set of documentation will use the term “Unix” to refer to both Unix and Linux.

In this workshop, students will learn the basics of interacting with the Unix operating system through the Unix shell, which is an interactive terminal that accepts interactive command-line or scripted input and produces printed or stored outputs. By the end of the workshop, students will learn about the overall organization of the Unix system, including a set of Unix commands and utilities, the structure of and use of the Unix file system, and some practical applications.

The target audience for this workshop spans the range from those who are curious about what the Unix shell is to those who are wanting to perform data-related tasks efficiently, particularly on large text files.


Students will need to have a CSDE computing account (see as well as access to the CSDE Linux/Unix Environment (see; select “UNIX Network” in the request).