In this book you will be instructed to do three things:
For this first exercise you'll be expected to get your Terminal open and working so that you can do the rest of the book.
Get your terminal, shell, PowerShell working so you can access it quickly and know that it works.
For Mac OSX you'll need to do this:
Now you have your Terminal open and it's in your Dock so you can get to it.
I'm assuming that if you have Linux then you already know how to get at your terminal. Look through the menu for your window manager for anything named "Shell" or "Terminal".
On Windows we're going to use PowerShell. People used to work with a program called cmd.exe, but it's not nearly as usable as PowerShell. If you have Windows 7 or later, do this:
If you don't have Windows 7, you should seriously consider upgrading. If you still insist on not upgrading then you can try installing it http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=7217 . You are on your own, though, since I don't have Windows XP, but hopefully the PowerShell experience is the same.
You learned how to get your terminal open so you can do the rest of this book.
If you have that really smart friend who already knows Linux, ignore them when they tell you to use something other than bash. I'm teaching you bash. That's it. They will claim that zsh will give you 30 more IQ points and win you millions in the stock market. Ignore them. Your goal is to get capable enough and at this level it doesn't matter which shell you use.
The next warning is stay off IRC or other places where "hackers" hang out. They think it's funny to hand you commands that can destroy your computer. The command rm -rf / is a classic that you must never type. Just avoid them. If you need help, make sure you get it from someone you trust and not from random idiots on the internet.
This exercise has a large "do more" part. The other exercises are not as involved as this one, but I'm having you prime your brain for the rest of the book by doing some memorization. Just trust me, this will make things silky smooth later on.
Take this list of commands and create index cards with the names on the left on one side, and the definitions on the other side. Drill them every day while you do this book for just 15 minutes or so.
If you're using Windows then here's your list of commands:
Drill, drill, drill! Drill until you can say these phrases right away when you see that word. Then drill the inverse, so that you read the phrase and know what command will do that. You're building your vocabulary by doing this, but don't spend so much time you go nuts and get bored.