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Common Tasks


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Basic UNIX commands

In addition to native command line system administration tools, OpenIndiana also includes the GNU core utilities suite. When working with basic UNIX commands, most likely you will be using the GNU core utilities. For learning to navigate the OpenIndiana command line environment, Linux command line books are very helpful.

One of the best books currently available is The Linux Command Line by William Shotts. If you want to quickly become a command line guru, this is the book to read. Best of all, it was released under a Creative Commons license and can be downloaded for free. Print versions are also available.

Basic system administration

Commands to be able to use administration commands

Command Further details Brief summary
su su(1M) Switch user. Without any parameters, root implied
sudo sudo(1M) Perform the command following with root privilages
pfexec pfexec(1) Similar to sudo but not prompted for a password and limited privilages


Basic system information

Command Further details Brief summary
prstat prstat(1M) Statistics on system processes
df df(1M) Disk usage by partition
du du(1) Disk usage by file
pkg list pkg(1) List software packages installed on the system


System shutdown, reboot…

Command Further details Brief summary
shutdown shutdown(1M) Shutdown the system


shutdown -i5 -g0 -y # Turn off the machine immediately
shutdown -i6 -g0 -y # Reboot the machine immediately
shutdown -i6 -g120 -y # Reboot the machine in 2 minutes (120 seconds)

User management

Command Further details Brief summary
listusers listusers(1) List users accounts
who who(1) List users logged onto the system
useradd useradd(1M) Create a new user
usermod usermod(1M) Modify a user (group memberships, roles, login shell…)

Desktop applications

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How can the desktop be modified?

Documentation Team


  • Gnome or (MATE) walkthrough
  • Appearance applet
    • Enabling Compiz
    • Configuring font anti-aliasing
    • Desktop backgrounds

In regards to the default terminal emulator, see:

  • we introduce mediator x-terminal-emulator for link /usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator with possible implementations gnome-terminal, mate-terminal and xterm;
  • mate-terminal implementation has the highest priority (if it is installed, by default it wins);
  • glib is modified to use link /usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator if it's found for running applications with Terminal=true.

Multimedia - Audio

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Multimedia - Video

Documentation Team


  • How to get OI to play a DVD
  • How to get flash player installed and working.
  • How to get VLC installed and working.
  • Totem (video player)

Using OpenIndiana as a media server, HTPC, etc.


Documentation Team


  • OI uses CUPS as the primary print system.
  • GNOME print manager (system-config-printer)

See the additional information about printing in contrib/ Also see the deprecation comments in the OSOL printing guide.

Graphics workstation

Documentation Team


  • GIMP

Desktop Publishing system, Etc.

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Boot loader settings

OpenIndiana Hipster uses the 'BootForth' boot loader (GRUB is not used any more, disregard older manusls/wiki pages that mention grub).

Boot configuration items should be stored in /boot/conf.d.

  • To change the console from the standard monitor to serial console (e.g. COM1 / ttyS0 on other OSes), use the following command:

    # echo console=ttya > /boot/conf.d/console

    (Alternatively, use eeprom console=ttya).

  • To change the boot-loader's default timeout, run:

    # echo autoboot_delay=2 > /boot/conf.d/autoboot

NOTE: Any filename can be used under /boot/conf.d/ - the filename does not matter (only its content matters).

See loader(5) for more technical details (and other boot options).

Last update: 2023-09-03 19:46:49
Created: 2016-06-13 01:47:32