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A beginner’s introduction to the GNU/Linux command line, Part II

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HowTos

Your GNU/Linux computer is an amazing machine. It can display images. It can run programs. It can perform dozens of functions all at the same time. How can you keep track of all this activity? By monitoring the processes that your computer runs, and one of the best ways to monitor and control processes is by using the command line.

Long ago computers were like calculators—they did one thing at a time—but today’s computers can multi-task doing hundreds of things at the same time. The different tasks share processor time. This is why you can search the web while writing a paper and listening to music all on the same computer at the same time.

What do you do when you can’t make your process stop no matter how many times you click that little x in the corner?

Each of these different things happening on the computer is called a “process”, and your computer takes turns letting all of the processes run a little bit at a time. The computer works so fast that you usually don’t even notice.

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