The faculty of mathematics uses ubuntu linux as it's operating system.
A shell, also called terminal or command line, is an interface to the system for performing tasks and executing programs.
|Terminal icon in the Gnome desktop|
Common things are easier and faster to do with the shell instead of clicking through a hierachy of menues of a graphical interface. To open a shell in gnome (this is the default desktop of ubuntu) goto
Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal This path does not differ too much in other desktop environments like KDE or XFCE.
You can start applications out of the shell by typing their names followed by the return key, for example
firefox & The & sign serves to detach the started program from the shell. You will find shell commands in many of our documentations. These are marked as above.