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Methods to Use whereis to Find System Instructions on Linux

Are you struggling with the problem of finding important system instructions inside your working system (OS)? Don’t sweat it, as it’s a widespread hurdle. However on the brilliant facet, you’ll be able to depend on the whereis command to lend you a hand.

On this tutorial, you’ll learn to successfully use the whereis command as a device that swiftly guides you to the exact areas of these elusive instructions and utilities.

Dive into the world of whereis and take full command of your system!


Earlier than diving in, guarantee you might have a Linux machine (ideally Ubuntu) with a terminal emulator.

Finding a Command’s Binary File by way of the whereis Command

Are you consistently coping with aliases, symbolic hyperlinks, and completely different variations of the identical command? If sure, understanding a command’s binary file path by way of the whereis command is particularly useful.

Under is the essential syntax for the whereis command:

  • [options] – Thought-about as non-compulsory command-line arguments, these choices allow you to specify the kind of recordsdata to seek for and the areas to look in.
  • <command_name> – Specifies the command you want to find the binary file of.
whereis [options] <command_name>

To see how the whereis command works in motion, comply with these steps:

Open your terminal, and execute the next whereis command to checklist the variety of choices obtainable.

The next checklist in your terminal reveals all of the choices you should use with the whereis command. Figuring out these choices offers you extra management over the way you need the whereis command to function.

Viewing all options available for the whereis command
Viewing all choices obtainable for the whereis command

Now, run the under whereis command to find the trail of the ls (or every other) command’s binary file, handbook pages, and supply recordsdata.

💡 With out specifying choices, the whereis command solely searches for 3 kinds of recordsdata: binaries, manuals, and supply recordsdata of their default areas.

Within the output under, you’ll be able to see two paths as follows:

Path File Sort Particulars
/usr/bin/ls Binary file Signifies the binary file for the ls command is positioned within the /usr/bin listing. This listing accommodates all of the important instructions put in in your system.
/usr/share/man/man1/ls.1.gz Handbook web page Signifies the handbook web page for the ls command is positioned within the /usr/share/man/man1 listing. This listing holds all of the handbook pages put in in your system. The .gz extension signifies that the handbook web page is at the moment compressed.
Locating the ls command’s binary file path
Finding the ls command’s binary file path

💡 Keep in mind that the precise path can differ relying in your Linux distribution, model, and system configuration.

Using Situated Instructions

Now that the situation of your chosen command, you’ll be able to make use of that command in varied methods. One instance is you’ll be able to run the command immediately by specifying its path. Or automate duties in a customized script that runs the command.

To make use of positioned instructions, the ls command, for instance:

Execute the next command to run the ls command from its specified path immediately.

If the desired path is right, you will note the recordsdata and folders within the working listing listed, as proven under.

Alternatively, run the under command so as to add the listing containing the command to your system’s PATH atmosphere variable. Doing so means that you can execute the command from anyplace on the system.

💡 If the command is within the present listing, the shell doesn’t seek for the command within the PATH atmosphere variable.

export PATH=$PATH:/usr/bin

As soon as added to the PATH atmosphere variable, you’ll be able to run the command (i.e., ls) with out specifying the total path, as proven under.

Filtering the Search End result by the Base Title

The whereis command additionally offers a number of switches you should use to change its conduct and improve the search course of. One instance is the -b or --basename swap, which helps you to keep away from ambiguity by narrowing the search to the precise binary you have an interest in.

Execute the next whereis command to search out the trail of the ls command, restricted to its base identify (-b or --basename).

If profitable, you will note the next output. Discover that just one path is listed,/usr/bin/ls, the trail to the ls command’s binary file.

Filtering the search result by the command’s base name
Filtering the search end result by the command’s base identify

Finding Instructions by way of a Customized Set of Directories

Explicitly defining directories the place the whereis command ought to seek for binary executables might help enhance the efficiency of the search course of.

On that be aware, the B or --path swap might help restrict the search to particular directories. This swap is helpful when looking for instructions in giant filesystems or advanced listing constructions.

To see how the B or --path swap works:

Run the next command to seek for the ls command’s binary recordsdata (-f) solely within the /usr/native/bin and /decide/bin directories.

Discover that you simply specify a number of directories within the command by separating them with colons (:) on Unix-like programs (or semicolons (;) on Home windows).

whereis -B /usr/native/bin:/decide/bin -f ls
Searching for a command’s binary files on specific directories
Looking for a command’s binary recordsdata on particular directories

Discovering a Command’s Documentation

When working in environments with restricted or no web connectivity, understanding the paths of the handbook pages is especially beneficial.

To discover a command’s documentation:

Execute the next command to seek for handbook pages (-m or --man) for the ls command, excluding binary and supply code recordsdata associated to the command.

Discover under that solely the handbook web page for the ls command is listed within the output.

Finding the ls command’s manual page
Discovering the ls command’s handbook web page

Accessing a Command’s Supply Code Information

Just like explicitly discovering a command’s documentation, you’ll be able to seek for a command’s supply code recordsdata by appending the -s or --source swap. Accessing the supply code can present perception into how a command is carried out, serving to you perceive its performance and conduct extra deeply.

With the ability to entry a command’s supply code recordsdata is particularly useful while you want to:

  • Customise or modify a command’s conduct immediately.
  • Diagnose points or troubleshoot issues associated to a command’s conduct.
  • Contribute enhancements or fixes to the mission (if the command is open supply) if you’re aware of the supply code.

To entry a command’s supply code recordsdata:

Run the under whereis command to search out the supply code recordsdata of the ls command.

Why does the ls command not have supply code recordsdata? The provision of supply code recordsdata for some instructions, just like the ls command, depends upon a number of components.

These components embody the command itself, the distribution of Linux you might be utilizing, and the way the distribution packages and manages its software program.

Searching for the ls command’s source code files
Looking for the ls command’s supply code recordsdata

Looking for Uncommon Entries

Uncommon entries are recordsdata that do not need precisely one entry of every requested kind: binary, handbook, and supply. Looking for uncommon entries additionally helps with troubleshooting error messages.

Execute the next command to seek for the ls command and determine uncommon (-u or --usage) entries.

If the ls command has solely two entries or greater than three entries, as proven under, they’re thought-about uncommon entries.

Searching for a command’s unusual entries
Looking for a command’s uncommon entries

Performing Complicated Searches Utilizing Completely different Switches

You’ve seen tips on how to use particular person switches with the whereis command, however why not use a number of switches? The whereis command will not be restricted to just one swap when looking for instructions.

Combining switches to carry out advanced searches allows you to slender your search or concentrate on particular kinds of recordsdata related to a command.

To see how mixed switches work:

Execute the next command to seek for the ls command within the /usr/bin listing (-B), restricted to handbook pages (-m) and supply code recordsdata (-s).

whereis -B /usr/bin -m -s ls

The output excludes binary recordsdata, as proven under. However for the reason that ls command’s supply code will not be discovered, you’ll be able to solely see the trail for the command’s handbook web page.

Performing complex searches with combined switches
Performing advanced searches with mixed switches


On this tutorial, you discovered that the whereis command is not only a device however your trusty map on this terminal panorama. Within the huge realm of the command line, the whereis command emerges as a real companion.

With this newfound data, you’ll be able to confidently navigate the intricate paths of Linux instructions, accessing their binary recordsdata, handbook pages, and supply code.

Now, why not delve into the world of package deal administration (i.e., apt for Debian/Ubuntu)? Domesticate a deeper perception into how the software program ecosystem in your Linux system works!



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