Accessing a remote Linux system using ssh

Many of the new users may not be familiar with Linux. Most of the times they might be using a Windows or Macintosh for their daily work. But, Linux is very popular among the scientific computing community and  these workstations / servers / clusters will Linux. Hence, you might need to familiarize yourself with the Linux environment. This post tries to provide some help!

Access remote Linux machine:

Most preferred way is to login to the remote machine using Secure Shell (ssh). On Windows you can use very popular tool called as PuTTY for performing ssh to the remote Linux host.

SSH is one way of connecting to a remote host. Other ways could be using

  • VNC
  • Remote Desktop

You can search on internet for installation and usage help on these tools.

Basic Commands:

This section lists the some of the basic Linux commands you might need in daily use.

To create a directory/folder
mkdir <directory_name>
For example:
mkdir mycode

To change the directory or go to the directory
If you want to go to the directory / folder inside your current directory / folder
cd <directory_name>
For example:
cd mycode

If you want to go to the directory / folder anywhere in your system
cd <directory_path>
For example:
cd /home/mandar/project/my_code

Create a empty file
touch <filename>
For example:
touch mycode.c

Compile C code using gcc compiler
gcc <filename>
For example:
gcc mycode.c

List the contents of the directory
Find out the list of files and directories / folders available in the given directory

Copy file
cp <source_filename> <destination_filename>
For example:
cp mycode.c old_code.c

Move file (cut and paste)
mv <source_filename> <destination_filename>
For example:
mv mycode.c old_code.c

Print working directory
Find out which directory your are working on. It returns full path of current working directory

Delete file(s)
rm <filename(s)>
For example:
rm mycode.c

Getting help for a given command
Display the manual page (help page) of a specific command.
man <command>
For example
man cp


There are many editors available for editing the files on your Linux machine. I have listed the popular ones.

  • vi
  • vim
  • nano
  • Gedit (GUI based)


Information provided here meant for introduction. You will need to dig more about the information provided here. Also, the options listed here are not the only ones. I have just listed the popular ways. You can search for more options on internet.

Best of Luck!