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Exploring the Linux File Types

UNIX and Linux systems have a variety of file types, and do not require extensions. This situation seems designed to cause confusion for anyone having to manage system files. Even worse is attempting to determine what is the type of a file that has been created by another administrator of the system, or that was installed and has no further documentation.

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Path Info

Clock icon Beginner
Clock icon 30m
Clock icon Nov 27, 2019

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Table of Contents

  1. Challenge

    Use the ls, file, and stat Commands on Various Files on Your System to Determine File Type Information

    Commands used to examine files on the system.

    Move into the /dev directory

    cd /dev

    In this directory determine file types.

    ls -l
    cd /etc
    file * | less

    locate the aliases files. cat the DB file

    cat aliases.db

    clear the terminal of non std characters.


    read the file in octal or hex format

    od aliases.db
    hexdump aliases.db
  2. Challenge

    Understand the Important Differences Between Regular Files, Directory Files and Hard and Soft Links Using Various Commands

    View file and directory details using the ls command, create a regular file, and then create a hard link and a soft link that the file. Display the differences between the hard and soft links using ls -l options for more information and lastly view more information about the files with the stat command, including their types as defined in the magic number files.

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