Unix/Linux Interview Questions and Answers

What is the difference between cat and more command?

"Cat" displays file contents. If the file is large the contents scroll off the screen before we view it. "More" command is like a pager which displays the contents page by page.

$cat bigfile.txt
$more bigfile.txt
$cat bigfile.txt | more

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What is Unix operating system?

UNIX is a powerful multitasking, multiuser computer Operating System initially developed by Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie at AT&T Bell laboratories in 1970.

What is a shell in Unix?

The shell is the Unix command line interpreter. It provides an interface between the user and the kernel and executes programs called commands.

What are the different types of shells available in unix?

There are following different Shells in unix operating system:

Bsh- Bourne shell, It is developed by Stephen Bourne.
ksh – This is called as Korn shell. This is developed by David Korn.
Bash- Bourne Again shell, It is most used for shell scripting in Unix operating system.
csh – This is also called as C-shell

What is Shell Script in unix

A shell script is a list of commands in a computer program that is run by the Unix shell which is a command line interpreter.


$cat testHello.sh
echo "-------------" 
echo Hello World  
Hello World 

What are different ways to create a file in Unix?

There are multiple ways to create a file in Unix-
cat command
$cat file.txt

touch command
$touch file.txt

echo and printf command
$echo 'New file.' > file.txt
$printf 'New file. ' > file.txt

Using Vi,emacs text editors
$vi file.txt

How to delete a file in Unix?

rm command is used to delete file

To delete a file
$rm file.txt

To delete a file with confirmation
$rm -i file.txt

To deletes a file forcefully
$ rm -f file.txt

Which command is used to delete all files in the current directory and all its sub-directories?

rm command to delete the specified files and directories.

To delete all files and subdirectories in the current directory
$rm -rf *

To delete the files with name
$rm file1.txt file2.txt file3.txt

What is a pipe and give an example?

Unix commands alone are powerful, but when you combine them together. The symbol | is the Unix pipe symbol that is used in command line to combine them together.

The output of the command to the left of the pipe gets sent as input of the command to the right of the pipe.


$cat apple.txt | wc
ls - | grep "page" | wc -l

How to create and remove directory in Unix?

You make a new directory via mkdir newdirectoryname ,and can remove a directory using rmdir directoryname. To remove a directory, you must first remove all the files it contains.

$mkdir Directory_name
$rmdir Directory_name

What is nohup command in unix?

Nohup stands for no hang up. It is a Unix command that is used to run another command. It tells Unix not to stop passed command once it has started, that will keep running until done.

When you execute a Unix job in the background( &, bg command), and logout from the session, then that process will get killed. It can avoid this by executing the job with nohup. Nohup prevents the command from being aborted automatically when you log out or exit the shell.

# nohup sample.sh &

By default, standard output will be redirected to nohup.out file in the current directory. You can also redirect the output to an other file using the normal shell redirection.

# nohup sh sample.sh > sample-out.log &

Once a job is started or executed using the nohup command, stdin will not be available to the user.

What is inode?

An inode is a unique entry which by default gets created on a disk section for a file system. It contains the following information:

Location on the disk
User of the file
Size of the file
Group of the file
Device ID
File size
Date of creation
Owner of the file

ls and stat command used to display the inode numbers of the files-
$ls -i file.txt
$stat file.txt

What is relative path and absolute path?

Absolute path : Exact path from root directory.
Relative path : Relative to the current path.

What are some basic UNIX commands?

Some basic Unix commands -
man – view manual pages for Unix commands
clear – clear screen
date – show current date and time
cal - shows a calendar of the current month
whoami – show your username
who – find out who is logged into the system
cd – change directory
pwd – show current directory
mkdir – make new directory
rmdir – remove directory
cat – create file and show contents to the standard output
more – basic pagination when viewing text files
less – improved pagination tool for viewing text files
ls – list files and directories
cp – copy files
rm – remove files and directories
mv – rename or move files and directories to another location
head – show the specified lines from first line of text file
tail – show the specified lines from last lines of text file
wc - tells you how many lines, words, and characters are in a file
grep – search for patterns in text files
chmod – change file/directory access permissions
chown – change file/directory ownership
ps – list processes
top – show tasks and system status
kill – kill a process (stop application running)
gzip - compresses files
gunzip- uncompresses files
du - shows the disk usage of the files and directories

What is du command do?

du command is short for disk usage, with the help of this command you can find the disk capacity and free space of the disk.

$du -h /home/demo/dict

44K /home/demo/dict/data
2.0M /home/demo/dict/system design
28K /home/demo/dict/table/sample_table
32K /home/demo/dict/table
98M /home/demo/dict

What is the use of the command 'ls -x chapter[1-5]'?

ls stands for list; so it displays the list of the files that starts with 'chapter' with suffix '1' to '5', chapter1, chapter2, and so on.

What will the following command do?
$echo *

It is similar to 'ls' command and displays all the files in the current directory.

What is the use of "grep" command?

grep (Global Regular Expression Print) is a pattern search command.
It searches for the pattern, specified in the command line with appropriate option, in a given file(s).
Syntax : grep [options] pattern [files]
Example :
$grep 99mx mcafile
$grep “coml” file.txt
$grep “me” file1.txt file2.txt file3.txt
$grep “me” *

$grep -i "Search" Filename --to use the option -i for case insensitive search

How do display the 10th, 11th and 12th line of a file in Unix?

Combining the two commands head and tail can give you the result -

$ head -12 <filename> | tail -3
Ex -

$ head -12 test.txt | tail -3

How will you find the 99th line of a file?

Combining the two commands head and tail can give you the result -

$ tail +99 test.txt|head -1

How to count number char, line in a file?

by using wc-stands for word count.
$wc -c for counting number of characters in a file
$wc -l for counting lines in a file
$grep -c 'me' file.txt for count the number of lines which is having that specific string

Which command is used to apply permission to a file?

“chmod” command which stands for “change mode” is used to add, remove, or modify file or directory permissions.

$chmod 477 file.txt
provides Read Permission to User, Read/Write/Execute Permissions to Group & Others.
$chmod 777 file.txt
provides full read write and execute permission (code=7) to all the group.

$ls -l *
-rw-r--r-- 1 users 777 Dec 18 lookup.icn
-rwxr-x--x 1 users 562 Jan 10 hello
drwxr-xr--- 1 users 1024 Nov 2 mydir

- rw- r-- r--
type of file owner group others
the first character specifies the file type either a ‘-‘ means it’s a file, or a ‘d’ means it’s a directory.

Number Octal Permission Representation Ref Binary
0 No permission --- 000
1 Execute permission --x 001
2 Write permission -w- 010
3 Execute and write permission: 1 (execute) + 2 (write) = 3 -wx 011
4 Read permission r-- 100
5 Read and execute permission: 4 (read) + 1 (execute) = 5 r-x 101
6 Read and write permission: 4 (read) + 2 (write) = 6 rw- 110
7 All permissions: 4 (read) + 2 (write) + 1 (execute) = 7 rwx 111

How to find the latest file?

To get the latest file or directory in the current working directory

$ls -lrt |tail -1  

-t switch sorts the listing by 'time' so the output is displayed from newest to oldest, -r switch reverses so the newest file is at the end of the listing, And -l gives you the long listing.

Latest Updates

Pipes and Cistern

Three taps A,B and C can fill a tank in 12, 15 and 20 hours respectively. If A is open all the time and B and C are open for one hour each alternatively, the tank will be full in?

Two pipes A and B can fill a tank in 6 hours and 4 hours respectively. If they are opened on alternate hours and if pipe A s opened first, in how many hours, the tank shall be full?

A large tanker can be filled by two pipes A and B in 60 min and 40 min respectively. How many minutes will it take to fill the tanker from empty state if B is used for first half of the time, and A and B fill it together for the other half?

A tank is filled by 3 pipes with uniform flow. The first two pipes operating simultaneously fill the tank in the same time during which the tank is filled by the third pipe alone. The 2nd pipe fills the tank 5 hours faster than first pipe and 4 hours slower than third pipe. The time required by first pipe is?

Two pipes A and B together can fill a cistern in 4 hours. Had they been opened separately, then B would have taken 6 hours more than A to fill the cistern. How much time will be taken by A to fill the cistern separately?

Two pipes A and B can fill a tank in 24 min and 32 min respectively. If both the pipes are opened simultaneously, after how much time B should be closed so that the tank is full in 18 min?

Two pipes A and B can fill a tank in 36 min and 45 min respectively. A water pipe C can empty the tank in 30 min. First A and B are opened. after 7 min, C is also opened. In how much time, the tank is full?

Two pipes can fill a cistern in 14 hours and 16 hours respectively. The pipes are opened simultaneously and it is found that due to leakage in the bottom it took 32 min more to fill the cistern. When the cistern is full, in what time will the leak empty it?

Bucket P has thrice the capacity as Bucket Q. It takes 60 turns for Bucket P to fill the empty drum. How many turns it will take for both the buckets P and Q, having each turn together to fill the empty drum?


In a class , 30 % of the students offered English, 20 % offered Hindi and 10 % offered Both.If a student is offered at random, what is the probability that he has offered English or Hindi?

In a lottery ,there are 10 prizes and 25 blanks.A lottery is drawn at random. what is the probability of getting a prize ?

Two dice are thrown simultaneously .what is the probability of getting two numbers whose product is even?

Two diced are tossed the probability that the total score is a prime number?

Two cards are drawn at random from a pack of 52 cards What is the probability that either both are black or both are queens?

Two dice are thrown together .What is the probability that the sum of the number on the two faces is divisible by 4 or 6?

A bag contains 6 white and 4 black balls .Two balls are drawn at random .Find the probability that they are of the same colour?

In a simultaneous throw of a pair of dice,find the probability of getting a total more than 7?

An unbiased die is tossed.Find the probability of getting a multiple of 3?

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