As has been said it usually happens because there is a long file name or dir name in /usr/bin so that the default multi-column view is forced to single column.
/usr/bin also tends to have a huge number of files in it. On my system (FC2) I currently have 2710 files in /usr/bin. With a simple 'ls' on that folder it will still produce 10+ screens of listing even with the terminal window maximized so that I get 4 columns.
There are several ways around this:
'ls /usr/bin/ | less'
you will get a single column listing that is searchable and pageable. Type '/string' to search forward for 'string', type '/' to repeat last forward search, type 'q' to quit. You can also add the '-x' option if you want to get more than one column when the output is piped through 'less'.
Another option is to simply use automatic filename completion. This is a standard feature in the bash shell and is configured correctly on most versions of Linux I have ever used. Simply type:
Then press the [Tab] key a couple of times. You should see something like this:
[utidjian@cobalt utidjian]$ /usr/bin/
Display all 2710 possibilities? (y or n)
Then press 'Y' to get a multicolumn (depending on terminal and filename size) view of the contents of /usr/bin that is automagically piped through 'more'. Press the spacebar to page, 'q' to quit. Another nice feature of Tab completion is, say, you wanted to list all the commands that begin with 'k' (or whatever). Just type '/usr/bin/k' and press the [Tab] key twice. On my system I get:
[utidjian@cobalt utidjian]$ /usr/bin/k
Display all 217 possibilities? (y or n)
Press 'y' and you will get all possible completions that begin with 'k'.
Note: This feature of Tab completion works this way because the all files in /usr/bin/ are executable (or should be). Compare to the commands:
For more Tab completion silliness try just pressing [Tab][Tab] at a blank prompt. You will get all possible completions... which is all possible commands in your path.