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Most Commonly Used Linux Commands

by Brent Stewart on Monday, Aug 17, 2020

I’ve seen some articles recently on “Linux commands frequently used by admins” or “15 commonly used Linux commands”, which got me thinking . . . what commands do I use most frequently?

history shows us a list of recent commands starting with a sequence number (example below). But I just want the command!

> brent@MintyTwenty:__~$ history__  
    1  mkdir git  
    2  cd git  
    3  git clone  
    . . .

Piping this output into awk allows me to filter this down to the first word. Awk can pull a field out; in this case the sequence number is field 1 and the command is field 2.

>  brent@MintyTwenty:~$ __history | awk '{print $2}'__  

Getting closer! I want a frequence count of which commands are used, so let’s pipe this to uniq -c.

> brent@MintyTwenty:~$ __history | awk '{print $2}' | uniq -c__  
      1 mkdir  
      1 cd  
      1 git  
      3 sudo  
      1 exit  
      1 git  
      1 ls  
      1 cd  
      1 git  
      1 cd   
      1 ls  

Notice that it’s showing cd counted in multiple groups. I think this is because of the way uniq is grouping, so let’s help it out by piping that output to sort before asking uniq to group and count.

brent@MintyTwenty:~$ __history | awk '{print $2}' | sort | uniq -c__  
      1 "  
      3 alias  
      4 awk  
      4 ./  
      1 cat  
     31 cd  
      3 chmod  
      . . .  

At this point it is easy to find that my top commands are:

  1. history (probably from working through this example)
  2. git
  3. cd
  4. ls
  5. sudo


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