Top 20+ Linux Command Interview Questions and Answers for 2024

Linux command-line skills are an invaluable asset to system administrators or developers, as well as anyone seeking to maximize the use of their system. Being ready for questions about these commands during a technical interview can greatly increase your odds of landing the job – this article covers 30 of the most frequently asked Linux command interview questions so they are easy to reference.

Why include Linux command interview questions in your interviews?

Assessment of Core Competencies: Linux is often the underlying operating system in roles spanning DevOps, system administration, and even some development jobs; thus examining candidates’ proficiency with basic Linux commands through interview questions can indicate their ability to carry out vital tasks such as processing control, file administration and system monitoring.

Problem-Solving: Linux command line questions require more than simple memorization; interviewers often present scenarios requiring specific outcomes and ask how candidates would achieve them through various commands. This test reveals their approach to problem-solving as well as their capacity for application of their skills.

Automation and Efficiency: Learning Linux commands is essential to automating tasks using scripting. This knowledge reduces the time spent performing repetitive tasks to the risk of human error during repetitive processes.

Assessing Your Comfort Level: For those unfamiliar with Linux, the command line interface may be intimidating and require time and patience to learn how to use it. By asking these questions interviewers can assess a candidate’s comfort with using Linux as well as their desire and ability to learn and utilize its terminal – even experienced users may require guides or online sources as reference material.

Candidates to Filter: Interviewers should ask command-line proficiency questions when interviewing for positions requiring deep Linux knowledge; by doing so, interviewers can quickly identify candidates with essential knowledge before progressing with more in-depth discussions about technology.

Linux command line questions provide interviewers with an effective means of gauging candidates’ technical abilities, ability to solve problems effectively and potential success in a position.

Also Read: Top Cloud Computing Skills You Need to Know in 2024

Top Linux Command Interview Questions

1. What is Linux?

Linux is an open-source, free operating system used across a range of devices ranging from smartphones (Android) and personal computers to servers and more. It is known for its security, stability and customizable options – qualities it shares with Android smartphones.

2. How do you list files in a directory using the Linux command line?

The most commonly used method to list files within directories using the Linux command line is to use the ls command. When used by itself, ls will list the names of all the files and directories within the currently working directory.

3. Explain the basic features of the Linux OS.

  • Free and Open Source: Linux is free and open-source software available to anyone to modify and add features to. Anyone may inspect and review its source code at their leisure.
  • Multitasking and Multi-user Linux allow multiple users to work concurrently on the system and manage multiple applications efficiently at the same time.
  • Command-Line Interface (CLI): Although Linux offers Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs), many people prefer using text-based command lines to interact.
  • Security: Linux is widely respected for its security features such as encryption, and user permissions and its emphasis on open-source development for community vulnerability discovery and remediation.
  • Stability: Linux has long been known for its reliability and uptime, making it an excellent choice for mission-critical servers and systems.
  • Package Management: Package managers make software installation, removal and updates simpler to ensure you always have access to the latest versions available.

4. Define Linux Kernel. Is it legal to edit Linux Kernel?

The Linux Kernel serves as the backbone of its operating system, acting as an intermediary between software and hardware. It manages resources efficiently while controlling how programs communicate with computers.

Editing the Linux Kernel is completely legal! Indeed, its open-source nature and General Public License (GPL) permits it. Modifying code is permitted, however if you decide to distribute any modifications under GPL you must also release their source code as part of your distribution package.

5. What exactly is the pwd a command used for?

The pwd command prints the entire path of the working directory in which you’re.

6. What is the best way to list the contents of an archive?

The ls command can be used to list files and directories within the working directory currently in use. You can use flags such as -l for a long listing that includes specifics or -a to display hidden files.

7. Define how to navigate another directory.

The cd (change directory) command lets you navigate between directories. Use the command cd followed by the name of the directory to navigate. To move up a level within the directory structure type the command cd ...

8. What is LILO?

LILO stands for Linux Loader and was once used to start up Linux upon boot-up. While not as prevalent today, LILO still can be found on some systems and is likely still around somewhere on this planet.

9. Name some Linux Distros.

  • Ubuntu
  • Mint
  • Fedora
  • Debian
  • OpenSUSE
  • Manjaro
  • Elementary OS
  • Pop!_OS

9. Elaborate all the file permissions in Linux.

  • Read (r): Allows viewing file content.
  • Write (w): Allows modifying file content.
  • Execute (x): Allows executing the file (if it’s a program).

10. What is Swap Space?

Swap space on your hard drive acts as an extension of RAM (memory), providing additional capacity when RAM becomes full. When this occurs, swap space helps your system continue running applications that might exceed what can physically fit in memory by temporarily storing data not currently being utilized by RAM; think of it as temporary overflow storage for memory.

11. How can you make a brand new directory?

The mkdir command is used to create an entirely new directory. You must specify the name of the directory that you wish to create the following the mkdir.

12. What is Shell in Linux?

Under Linux, the shell serves as an interpreter between you and the kernel, enabling you to write commands and translate these into instructions that the kernel understands. It acts like an intermediary that relays your command set directly to it.

13. What is a root account?

Linux root account provides access and privileges that grant it ultimate control, enabling you to complete all administrative tasks on the system – think of it as the master key!

14. Differentiate between DOS and BASH.

TypeOperating SystemCommand Line Shell (part of an OS)
OriginMicrosoftGNU Project (Free Software Foundation)
Year Introduced19811989
PlatformPrimarily MS-DOS for IBM PC compatiblesPrimarily Unix-like operating systems (Linux, macOS)
User InterfaceText-based command lineText-based command line
CommandsAn extensive set of built-in commands and support for external commandsExtensive set of built-in commands and support for external commands
Case SensitivityNot case-sensitiveCase-sensitive
File SystemHierarchical, limited directory depthHierarchical, supports deep directory structures
ScriptingLimited scripting capabilitiesPowerful scripting capabilities with shell scripts
Open SourceNoYes (GPL License)
Development StatusNo longer actively developedActively developed and maintained

15. How do you delete the directory?

The rmdir command is used to remove empty directories. Be careful because rmdir cannot delete directories with content.

12. Define the Cp command and what it does.

The Cp command allows you to copy directories and files. You specify the destination and source directories and files after cp..

13. Describe CLI and GUI in Linux.

14. What command would you use to find out how much memory Linux is using?

free: This is the most commonly used and simple command to monitor memory usage. It displays information on the total memory and buffers, memory that is free and caches. It defaults to display the data in Kilobytes (KB). The --m flag to view the output in megabytes (MB):

This will display information such as:

  • Total: Total memory available on the system
  • Utilized: Memory currently being utilized by processes and applications
  • Free: Memory that is not currently being used and is available to applications
  • Buffers: Memory used by the kernel to store temporary data
  • Mem: Memory used for the caching of recently visited data

vmstat This program provides an array of system information, including the usage of memory. Although it provides more details, however, it is not as user-friendly for quick overviews of memory use.

  • Make use of the command vmstat 1 to get the continuous update of memory statistics every two seconds (press q to stop). This can be useful to track the usage of memory over time.

15. What do you understand about the standard streams?

  • Standard Input (stdin): Data is fed into the program typically, from the keyboard, by default.
  • Standard Output (stdout): Output generated by the program, typically displayed in the terminal.
  • Standard Error (stderr): Used to display warnings or error messages and warnings, which are also shown on terminals.

16. What is file permission in Linux?

Permissions to files in Linux regulate who (user or group, as well as others) can access a particular file and the things they can do (read write, read, execute) using it. It’s a kind of secure system to protect your data, which ensures security and integrity of data.

17. What are the Linux Directory Commands?

  • pwd: Prints the working directory path.
  • ls: Lists directory contents (use flags like -l for details, -a for hidden files).
  • CD: Changes directory (e.g., cd .. goes up one level).
  • MKdir: Creates a new directory.
  • rmdir: Removes an empty directory.

18. Name the various modes of vi editors.

  • Command Mode: Used for navigation and deletion, copying, paste as well as other editing tasks, in addition to entering text.
  • Insert Mode: Used for entering and editing text in the file.

19. How can you transfer directories and files?

The mv (move) command can be utilized to move or change the name of directories and files. Make use of the command mv then followed by destination and source locations.

20. Let us know how you can modify permissions for files.

The chmod command lets you alter the permissions on files for the owners, groups and other users. Use the numeric code for permissions or the symbolic notation to modify permissions.

21. How can you alter the ownership of a file?

The chown command can be employed to change the ownership of a directory or file. Enter the new owner’s name followed by the name of the directory or file.

22. How do you access the contents of a file?

The cat command displays the contents of a text file in your terminal. For large files, think about smaller creating an easier display.

Also Read: Top Ethical Hacking Tools in 2024


The Linux command line offers an incredibly flexible and dynamic way of interfacing with your system, and gaining an in-depth knowledge of these essential commands will greatly increase efficiency and administration capabilities. Our collection of 30 vital Linux command interview questions and answers serves as an ideal starting point for your next interview focused on this OS; continue practicing and exploring your command-line experience to maximize results!

After mastering these basic commands, there’s an entire world of Linux capabilities waiting to be discovered. Tackle any area that interests you further such as shell scripting to automate tasks or advanced file system administration or network configuration. Linux community provides invaluable assistance with learning and troubleshooting; take advantage of online tutorials and forums to further your knowledge!

Master these essential commands while developing a continual education mindset to unleash all of Linux’s power at your command line and become a more adept Linux user.

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