Built-in utilities are programs that
allow you to perform tasks which involve complex actions in
one fell swoop. For exampole, the "ls" utility which we
will discuss tomorrow allows you to find out the contents of a
directory and print that list to the monitor.
Utilities provide user-interface
functions that are basic to the modern concept of an operating
system but which are too complex to be built into the shell
(remeber that small and focussed is better in the UNIX
There are usually over 300 such utilities
built in to the UNIX systems shipped today and we will discuss
many of them in this tutorial.
Of course, you can also install larger utilities
such as commercial software packages, but those are usually
considered separate from the UNIX OS whereas
the built-in utiities tend to get clumped into the OS since they
they are built in and the difference between them, the shell, and the kernel
is transparent to the user.
So the next question must be how do you
use these utilities? Well to answer that we return to the shell.