# How to Practice Unix? Can I make my own Server?

Gold Member
Warning: My terminology is horrendous in this area. Bare with me.

In my Geophysics class we are being taught the very basics of Unix using 'Putting" and a program called Xming.

We sign on to a server hosted by the profressor at school using designated usernames and passwords and we use commands so far such as:

cd "change directory"
pwd
~/filename

moving files, deleting files, editing files in the emacs, and so on.

I wanted to practice this more as I was having a lot of fun with this and thought it to be interesting.

Is there any easy way I can set up my own server of sorts or find a way to practice this code?

Thank you for any step-by-step links or knowledge.

## Answers and Replies

Gold Member
Hm. So this needs to be downloaded to a disc/usb, is there any way to get around that and just have it installed on my hard drive?

Anything else that may be slightly more easier? :)

Thank you

Gold Member
Hm. So this needs to be downloaded to a disc/usb, is there any way to get around that and just have it installed on my hard drive?

Anything else that may be slightly more easier? :)

Thank you

The program you have used is called PuTTY. You can download and install it for free.
The program Xming is there to enable graphical applications (without it, you can only use the text-mode terminal window).

You may download and install these on your computer. Then you need an account on a remote machine that you can connect to, perhaps the one you have used in your class. Do you have one?

If not, the best way to learn working with shell and unix-like system is probably to install your own GNU/Linux system. You may try installing GNU/Linux in a virtual machine using some virtualization software, so you don't mess with your current system.

RJLiberator
Science Advisor
Hm. So this needs to be downloaded to a disc/usb, is there any way to get around that and just have it installed on my hard drive?

Anything else that may be slightly more easier? :)

Thank you

It's easier and maybe better to use a live system first to see if it's what you need before installing on a hard-drive. The system linked does have a hard-drive install option.

RJLiberator
gsal
For a simple unix-like terminal, you could just download and install something like msys and even MinGW.

For another unix-like environment with a lot more capabilities and even graphical applications, you can download and install cygwin.

All these 3 applications are Windows appliactions and that they run directly on top of Windows, you are not require to install them besides Windows and having to select at re-boot time or anything like that.

RJLiberator
Gold Member
The program you have used is called PuTTY. You can download and install it for free.
The program Xming is there to enable graphical applications (without it, you can only use the text-mode terminal window).

You may download and install these on your computer. Then you need an account on a remote machine that you can connect to, perhaps the one you have used in your class. Do you have one?

If not, the best way to learn working with shell and unix-like system is probably to install your own GNU/Linux system. You may try installing GNU/Linux in a virtual machine using some virtualization software, so you don't mess with your current system.

Any step-by-step procedures for the last bit there, mate? :D

jack476
Congratulations on your decision to learn UNIX. I promise, you will not regret any efforts you make here.

Of course, to actually master UNIX takes years, and I'd second the advice of others here to start by experimenting with some of the Linux-based operating systems. Learning the C programming language (starting with the book by the same name, being my recommendation) will also be helpful.

Hm. So this needs to be downloaded to a disc/usb, is there any way to get around that and just have it installed on my hard drive?

Anything else that may be slightly more easier? :)

Thank you

Yes, a Live CD of most modern Linux distributions will have software to install it to your hard drive and will mostly walk you through the process on its own. All you need to do is download the .iso image (ie http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php), burn it to a CD (remember you have to use a .iso burner, you can't just copy and paste the image file into the CD in the My Computer menu- made that mistake once), and then go into the POST menu after you turn your computer on and tell it to boot from the disc (usually they prioritize the CD drive over the hard drive by default but this may or may not be the case). It will be much slower than once you've got it installed, so don't be turned off by that.

Doing the same with a USB stick is possible but quite a bit more fiddly.

Any step-by-step procedures for the last bit there, mate? :D

Get a virtual machine client program like VMware or Oracle Virtual Box. VMware is paid software ($80 I think) and Virtual Box is free and open source, they both have their pros and cons. Setting up a Ubuntu Linux or Linux Mint virtual machine is extremely simple, but I strongly recommend setting up a dual-boot with Ubuntu or Mint to get the full experience. There are detailed step-by-step instructions all over the internet. To start with: http://www.everydaylinuxuser.com/2014/07/how-to-install-linux-mint-alongside.html http://www.linuxmint.com/documentation/user-guide/Cinnamon/english_17.0.pdf [Broken] http://www.wikihow.com/Install-Linux-Mint Finally, if all you want is a basic Unix command-line interface, then a terminal interface like Cygwin is what you're looking for. But I'd still stress that to start getting the full UNIX experience you need to start playing with UNIX-based operating systems since the best way to learn is by doing. Last edited by a moderator: RJLiberator Gold Member Congratulations on your decision to learn UNIX. I promise, you will not regret any efforts you make here. Of course, to actually master UNIX takes years, and I'd second the advice of others here to start by experimenting with some of the Linux-based operating systems. Learning the C programming language (starting with the book by the same name, being my recommendation) will also be helpful. Yes, a Live CD of most modern Linux distributions will have software to install it to your hard drive and will mostly walk you through the process on its own. All you need to do is download the .iso image (ie http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php), burn it to a CD (remember you have to use a .iso burner, you can't just copy and paste the image file into the CD in the My Computer menu- made that mistake once), and then go into the POST menu after you turn your computer on and tell it to boot from the disc (usually they prioritize the CD drive over the hard drive by default but this may or may not be the case). It will be much slower than once you've got it installed, so don't be turned off by that. Doing the same with a USB stick is possible but quite a bit more fiddly. Get a virtual machine client program like VMware or Oracle Virtual Box. VMware is paid software ($80 I think) and Virtual Box is free and open source, they both have their pros and cons. Setting up a Ubuntu Linux or Linux Mint virtual machine is extremely simple, but I strongly recommend setting up a dual-boot with Ubuntu or Mint to get the full experience.

There are detailed step-by-step instructions all over the internet. To start with:
http://www.everydaylinuxuser.com/2014/07/how-to-install-linux-mint-alongside.html
http://www.linuxmint.com/documentation/user-guide/Cinnamon/english_17.0.pdf [Broken]
http://www.wikihow.com/Install-Linux-Mint

Finally, if all you want is a basic Unix command-line interface, then a terminal interface like Cygwin is what you're looking for. But I'd still stress that to start getting the full UNIX experience you need to start playing with UNIX-based operating systems since the best way to learn is by doing.

I recommend installing GNU/Linux in a virtual machine instead of trying live CD. LiveCDs take forever to load and will not allow you to do many things you would like to do, like saving and modifying files.

Both VMware and VirtualBox are free for personal use. I use Debian (a "parent" system to Ubuntu) and I had more luck setting it up properly in VirtualBox.

Last edited by a moderator:
Gold Member
To follow up:

cygwin

This was exactly what I was looking for right now. As my class progresses in these weeks, I'm sure some of the material talked about in this thread will become very relevant. I thank you all for your words of advice. =)

jack476
I recommend installing GNU/Linux in a virtual machine instead of trying live CD. LiveCDs take forever to load and will not allow you to do many things you would like to do, like saving and modifying files.

Both VMware and VirtualBox are free for personal use. I use Debian (a "parent" system to Ubuntu) and I had more luck setting it up properly in VirtualBox.

I just meant you need a Live CD to install Linux.

You can get a persistent OS (not just a Live one, but the real thing) to be portable and bootable off a thumb drive, but it's a pain in the arse.

Gold Member
In UNIX coding, can you simply enter a file name like "first.csh" and have it operate? Or do you need a command prior to it.

I'm working on a tutorial, and it tells me to type 'first.csh' into the command line for it to operate, but it then tells me 'command not found' which leads me to believe you need a command to run or operate it.

Gold Member
In UNIX coding, can you simply enter a file name like "first.csh" and have it operate? Or do you need a command prior to it.

I'm working on a tutorial, and it tells me to type 'first.csh' into the command line for it to operate, but it then tells me 'command not found' which leads me to believe you need a command to run or operate it.
shell scripts usually need to be marked as executable first with chmod +x first.csh and then you can run it with ./first.csh

Gold Member
I see. Thank you this helped.

I got it working on a virtual machine using xubuntu. Thanks for all the help so far guys.