This command gives a listing of files (and subdirectories) in the current working directory. If you type

in one of your fresh terminal windows, you should get a listing of the nonhidden files and subdirectories in your home directory. Remember to hit Enter after the command. (Hitting Enter will always be implicit from now on.) Do you see any files? If you are just starting in the course, chances are that the command gave no response. Actually you do have some files in your home directory, but they are “hidden” as a convenience in Unix, since you usually don't change them.

To see all your files and directories, including your hidden (or “dot”) files and subdirectories type

   ls -a
Now you should see the files .cshrc and .login that the system uses when you log in or open a window. You should also see a file .Xdefaults that is used to control the behavior of the windows. If you don't see these files, please see the TA for help. The entries ./ and ../ are special directories. They refer to the current directory and the parent directory (next level up), and are always included in this list.

To see lots of details of your files and directories, type

   ls -l
You will get something like this:
   -rw-r--r-- 1 detar hep      154 Aug 31  2004 Makefile
   -rw-r--r-- 1 detar hep      771 Sep  5  2001 minimum.tex
The fields tell you all you wanted to know and then much more (1) information about access permissions, (2) number of hard links (3) the name of the author (4) the name of the author's group the file belongs to (5) the file size in bytes, (6) the date of last modification, and (7) the name of the file.