The Unix shell has been around longer than most of its users have been alive. It has survived so long because it’s a power tool that allows people to do complex things with just a few keystrokes. More importantly, it helps them combine existing programs in new ways and automate repetitive tasks so they aren’t typing the same things over and over again. Use of the shell is fundamental to using a wide range of other powerful tools and computing resources (including “high-performance computing” supercomputers). These lessons will start you on a path towards using these resources effectively.
This lesson guides you through the basics of file systems and the shell. If you have stored files on a computer at all and recognize the word “file” and either “directory” or “folder” (two common words for the same thing), you’re ready for this lesson.
If you’re already comfortable manipulating files and directories, searching for files with grep and find, and writing simple loops and scripts, you probably want to explore the next lesson: shell-extras on December 16.
The workshop will be held for two consecutive Monday afternoons from 1pm to 4pm on Dec 9 & 16 at the Jackson Laboratory campuses in Bar Harbor, Maine and Farmington, Connecticut. Participants must attend in person. Remote attendance from desks, home, or away will not be supported.
Bar Harbor: breezeway bioinformatics training room 1540, building 1, unit 5
Farmington: conference room 3320
Participants will be encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own research problems.
Requirements: Participants must bring a laptop with a
Mac, Linux, or Windows operating system (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc.). They should have a few specific software packages installed (listed below).
Code of Conduct: Everyone who participates in Carpentries activities is required to conform to the Code of Conduct. This document also outlines how to report an incident if needed.
Accessibility: We are committed to making this workshop
accessible to everybody.
The workshop organizers have checked that:
The room is wheelchair / scooter accessible.
Accessible restrooms are available.
Materials will be provided in advance of the workshop and
large-print handouts are available if needed by notifying the
organizers in advance. If we can help making learning easier for
you (e.g. sign-language interpreters, lactation facilities) please
get in touch (using contact details below) and we will
attempt to provide them.
Click on "Next" four times (two times if you've previously
installed Git). You don't need to change anything
in the Information, location, components, and start menu screens.
From the dropdown menu select "Use the nano editor by default" and click on "Next".
Ensure that "Git from the command line and also from 3rd-party software" is selected and
click on "Next". (If you don't do this Git Bash will not work properly, requiring you to
remove the Git Bash installation, re-run the installer and to select the "Git from the
command line and also from 3rd-party software" option.)
Ensure that "Use the native Windows Secure Channel library" is selected and click on "Next".
Ensure that "Checkout Windows-style, commit Unix-style line endings" is selected and click on "Next".
Ensure that "Use Windows' default console window" is selected and click on "Next".
Ensure that "Enable file system caching" and "Enable Git Credential Manager" are selected
and click on "Next".
Click on "Install".
Click on "Finish".
If your "HOME" environment variable is not set (or you don't know what this is):
Open command prompt (Open Start Menu then type cmd and press [Enter])
Type the following line into the command prompt window exactly as shown:
setx HOME "%USERPROFILE%"
Press [Enter], you should see SUCCESS: Specified value was saved.
Quit command prompt by typing exit then pressing [Enter]
This will provide you with both Git and Bash in the Git Bash program.
The default shell in all versions of macOS is Bash, so no
need to install anything. You access Bash from the Terminal
See the Git installation video tutorial
for an example on how to open the Terminal.
You may want to keep
Terminal in your dock for this workshop.
The default shell is usually Bash, but if your
machine is set up differently you can run it by opening a
terminal and typing bash. There is no need to
When you're writing code, it's nice to have a text editor that is
optimized for writing code, with features like automatic
color-coding of key words. The default text editor on macOS and
Linux is usually set to Vim, which is not famous for being
intuitive. If you accidentally find yourself stuck in it, hit
the Esc key, followed by :+Q+!
(colon, lower-case 'q', exclamation mark), then hitting Return to
return to the shell.
The default shell in all versions of macOS is Bash, so no need to install anything. You access Bash from the Terminal (found in /Applications/Utilities). You may want to keep Terminal in your dock for this workshop.
The default shell is usually Bash, but if your machine is set up differently you can run it by opening a terminal and typing bash. There is no need to install anything.
High Performance Computing Cluster
JAX provides access to high performance computing (HPC) through the Helix cluster, which currently serves Farmington and Bar Harbor.
Ask the JAX IT Service Desk to give you an account for Helix.