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Common pronunciations of Linux directories, commands, etc


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Oct 27, 2011
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Over the course of the 20 years that I've used Linux, i've said and heard a number of ways that people pronounce things and think I have a pretty good idea of the most accepted ways to pronounce and say things when dealing with Linux systems.

When you're on a conference call at work or just dealing with colleagues face to face you want to make sure you know what they're talking about.

I overheard two co-workers (Joe and Scott) talking the other day. Joe said "cat proc cpuinfo". Scott wasn't getting it so Joe said "no.. no, type cat slash proc slash cpuinfo" and eventually got on the keyboard himself.

When asking someone to do something.. you don't say the slash..
e.g. "list out the etsy hosts file" or "tail var log messages"

One thing you want to do is learn how to pronounce each of the top directories in Linux. Some of the ones I hear differently from people are:

/etc: etsy (like the website) Not "E T C" or "et cetera"
/lib: lib.. rhymes with rib. Not libe.
/lib64: see above
/mnt: mount
/proc: prock.. rhymes with rock
/sbin: s bin
/selinux: S E Linux
/tmp: temp
/var: rhymes with jar
/usr: user

Other things i've heard pronounced differently than the majority of how people pronounce them:

Linux: most people say it with a short i like spin.
MySQL: most people say "My S Q L", not "my sequel"
fstab: F stab (some say F S tab)
initrd: init R D
fsck: F S C K - or FS check
chown: as one syllable.. rhymes with 'own'
chmod: as one syllable.. rhymes with 'nod'
ls: L S (ell ess)
sudo: I pronounce it so it rhymes with voodoo, but some people say su dough.
vim: rhymes with gym
vi: vee eye
emacs: rhymes with junk :cool:

List out your additions/experiences below!

(Note: This post was moved from linuxforum.com where I originally published it)
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initramfs: init ram F S
chroot: as in chown and chmod above, not like an open-ended cigar (cheroot, which sounds like sh)

I used to have in my signature in another Forum - "Linux is pronounced Lin-nix" - only because I saw and heard the great man himself (Linus Torvalds, pron. Leen-us Tor-folds) pronounce it in the intro to a training video ... and I figured he would know, lol.


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