How Do I Get On-Line?: Shell Logins

Read at your own risk

This document dates from the early web period, and is kept for archival purposes only. It is no longer updated, and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate.
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A “shell” is a command-line interface to, generally, a Unix computer.

When connecting to your Unix account, you’ll usually:

1. Be asked for your username (or “login”). Type it in, and press return.

2. Finally, you’ll be asked for your password. Type it in and press return. Unix doesn’t let you see your password as you type it in, in case someone’s looking over your shoulder.

At this point, you’re at what’s called the “Unix command line”. Here, you can type the name of the software you want to use. Some examples are:

pine for electronic mail

trn for Usenet news

lynx for the World Wide Web

In general, you’ll only use a ‘shell’ account if you already know what you’re doing, so I won’t be talking about that from here on.

What is the Net?

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