As Linux users we spend a lot of time in our terminals getting things done; updating our systems, installing packages, development, etc. We live in our terminals, and as such we often end up inputting the same commands over and over again. Running
sudo apt update everyday gets really old, really quick. Thankfully, as Linux users we have aliases that allow us to create very handy shortcuts for frequently used commands or long complex ones.
Creating an Alias
aliaskeyword, give our alias a name, and inside the double quotes we will put the command(s) we want our alias to represent.
Removing an Alias
unaliascommand is just a way to remove previously defined aliases that we might not need anymore for whatever reason. Simply use
unaliasto remove any previously defined ones.
A practical example
For example, one alias that I always make on any system is updating the system in one command. For an Arch distro configured with the
yay AUR package helper, I would do something like this:
alias update="yay -Syu --noconfirm"
In one command I can update and upgrade both my core and AUR packages in one go without having to manually input anything. Here’s the same command but for a Ubuntu system:
alias update="sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y"
updateinstead of all that extra malarkey to update a system.
Storing aliases (using bash or zsh)
So it would be pretty wack to make all these sick shortcuts and then have to constantly re-enter them when we wanted to use them. Luckily, we don’t have to do that because your shell comes with a config file ( typically located in the root of your home directory), common examples include
~/.zshrc). These config files provide a wealth of configuration options for your shell and often come with an area that is predefined for aliases. Here’s a snippet of my
.zshrc alias section on Ubuntu:
# Set personal aliases, overriding those provided by oh-my-zsh libs, # plugins, and themes. Aliases can be placed here, though oh-my-zsh # users are encouraged to define aliases within the ZSH_CUSTOM folder. # For a full list of active aliases, run `alias`. # # Example aliases # alias zshconfig="mate ~/.zshrc" alias update="sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y" #git alias pull="git pull" alias push="git push" alias stash="git stash" alias apply="git stash apply"
Simply add your aliases to the file using a text editor then reload your shell session or use the following command to reload the shell config. This file will load up whenever you start a new terminal and all your aliases will be available and ready to use.
aliasyou defined and it will perform whatever commands it was assigned to. Your shortcut should work and you’ll be off at the races!
“zsh: command not found:”double check your aliases and reload your
.bashrcfile and try again. Aliases aren’t just terminal bound as they can also be used inside of scripts or used to call files, etc.
alias script="sh ~/someScript.sh"
alias commands allow us to make custom shortcuts for any command or operation on our system and save us a lot of time and mistakes be reducing manual input. Long commands can be transmuted into much shorter and simpler ones. The usefulness of this utility goes up exponentially when you throw in bash-scripting into the mix. Aliases kick ass and if you aren’t using them on your system you are missing out. Thanks for reading and make sure to subscribe for more command coverage!