LinuxQuestions.org

LinuxQuestions.org (/questions/)
-   General (http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/general-10/)
-   -   Why I (Try to) Use The Command Line (http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/general-10/why-i-try-to-use-the-command-line-570246/)

Forezt 07-17-2007 08:08 PM

Why I (Try to) Use The Command Line
 
For whatever compulsion, in my recent return to gnu/linux following a lengthy stroll through the world of OS X and its tasty-looking user interface, I've been trying to make myself do as much as possible with the command line. Perhaps it's that the command line's simple modularity and its logical power make it superior to any pre-concieved GUI could ever be, or that I simply like to look nerdy in front of a green-on-black terminal.

Whatever the reason, I've been thinking a lot about computer interfaces lately. Using OS X, Windows, and X (all kinds of configurations) at various times in my life, I've never been able to shirk the feeling that GUIs are roundabout, incomplete emulations of physical tools. Especially after reading Neal Stephenson's In The Beginning was the Command Line, I've come to think that we're in a very transient stage of computer history, when computers are confined to live in screens. Whether it's nanotechnology, virtual reality, or augmented reality, I think that we'll soon be in a world where the tools of mind are as tangible and manifold in form as the tools of matter.

Or maybe I've just over-thought all of it. Anyway, I'm trying to use the command line more because I think it's a superior computer interface in the sense that it is a more complete and consistent metaphor than the GUI, closer to the core of what computers really are.

What do you think?

masonm 07-17-2007 08:15 PM

I think you should use whatever tools and/or interface allows you to get the job done most efficiently and forget all the other crap. A computer is a tool to do a job, nothing more nothing less.

wjevans_7d1@yahoo.co 07-17-2007 08:24 PM

Quoth masonm

Quote:

A computer is a tool to do a job, nothing more nothing less.
That depends on your point of view.

To some, a garden rake is much more than a garden rake, because of their love of gardening. They love the sound of leaves being gathered in the fall, for example.

To some, a computer can make the heart sing. For a few of these, it requires a GUI to do so. For others, the command line can be the path to Nirvana. (I'm not particularly exaggerating here, and I'm certainly not joking or being sarcastic.)

YMMV, of course.

masonm 07-17-2007 08:28 PM

Don't get me wrong, I am into computers and do get a lot of enjoyment out of using them, but in the end it isn't the computer itself but what I can do with it. Much like the rake.

rkelsen 07-17-2007 09:16 PM

Paraphrasing masonm; Use whatever works for you to achieve the results you want.

Up until recently, I'd use the CLI for burning CDs. Nowadays, I find it easier to use K3B.

That said, I still find the CLI to be much quicker for most other things.

I always laugh when Windows users complain about having to open a terminal. "You mean I have to MANUALLY edit a text file!?" hehe... Maybe I have a twisted sense of humour...

alred 07-18-2007 10:13 AM

without the command line or apps in their command line form , people will have no choice but to choose between being stucked at where they are forever or write their own and start all over from scratch or "updating" with their own hands by being forced to read others scripture which doesnt concern them in any sense ...

i suspect that those who respect and feel thankfull to the developers of apps in command line form actually love to use apps in gui form more than anyone else ...


.

jiml8 07-18-2007 10:19 AM

The nice thing about a gui is that it keeps you from having to take the time to learn the commands. Your choices are all there for you, and you can pick and choose what you want to do. So long as what you want to do falls within the limitations of the gui, carry on with relatively little pain and a short learning curve.

I love gui commands and frontends, for routine things. But when the going gets tough, there is no substitute for the command line.

b0uncer 07-18-2007 10:28 AM

Easiness of GUI is relative. There's already enough graphical user interfaces that are so difficult to learn and use that I often think "god, why didn't they just provide me with a few simple commands rather than endless forests of menus, cryptic buttons and boxes, and in addition my favourite program was just hidden behind that awkward messagebox, ..."

GUIs are good for simple tasks where you need one finger and something to move the cursor. Good thing is that you'll see several things at once, bad thing is you can't, at least today, combine the tools as powerfully as in console environment. GUIs just don't bend so easily to the form you need.

Like somebody said, as kids we learn to draw and play with images, and when we grow up, we learn to read and write.

manlydan 07-18-2007 10:59 AM

For the average jo user, a GUI is all that is needed. But to really appreciate the system and how it works then knowing the command line becomes a necessity.

I actually got to the point to where even when I start X windows, the first thing I do is bring up a terminal :)

After getting used to typing in my commands rather than clicking them, I feel more comfortable with the terminal than I do with the GUI tools.

alred 07-18-2007 11:08 AM

unless the gui that you clicked can also bring up a command line ... ^_^


//seriously ... what is the difference between a command line "lover" and a gui "lover" ... probably there isnt such a thing as if there are really two distinct types of computer users ...


.

slackhack 07-18-2007 11:14 AM

i like the command line for routine and administrative tasks. but i can't stand it for things like video editing. it seems a little ridiculous that someone should have to remember three lines of options just to perform one command. so for me it all depends on the task.

raska 07-18-2007 11:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by b0uncer
....cryptic buttons and boxes....

That just made me remember of a Solaris consultant who often visits us here, let's call him Charlie.

So, Charlie is like a thirty-something-years-old Unix guru, he can type faster on vi (I'm not saying vim nor elvis, just plain old, Unix vi) any script or code than you could ever dream of. CLI is his natural working environment and he utterly fears any kind of button to click over. Charlie is always saying things like "you can't quite know what that button does", so if there is a way to do something on CLI, he would know about it and prefer it that way.

He mainly helps us with the Veritas volume manager on RAIDed arrays on our production SAP systems, and his fear comes obvious of a graphical interface possibly crashing, or doing something it should not, and leaving us with a wiped-off, screwed up system. Better use the line commands and following his "read ten times, type once" philosophy.

That is just an example of when a GUI is not the best shot ;)

jiml8 07-18-2007 11:35 AM

Quote:

Easiness of GUI is relative. There's already enough graphical user interfaces that are so difficult to learn and use that I often think "god, why didn't they just provide me with a few simple commands rather than endless forests of menus, cryptic buttons and boxes, and in addition my favourite program was just hidden behind that awkward messagebox, ..."
*shrug* That's when you drop to the command line.
Quote:

GUIs are good for simple tasks where you need one finger and something to move the cursor.
They are also good for very complicated jobs where what you want to do is exactly what the gui supports.

Just yesterday on this site I worked someone through a fairly serious problem that had arisen at least in part due to an excessive dependence on gui tools. Along the way I told her (I think it was a her and a fairly young one at that) to ignore the gui tool she had been using because things had gone wrong and we needed to work on the command line. Before we were done, I had her editing hex (using khexedit...a gui tool :) ) and patching her master boot record.

Got the immediate problem fixed, too.

GUI tools certainly have their place. But so does the command line.

manlydan 07-18-2007 11:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slackhack
i like the command line for routine and administrative tasks. but i can't stand it for things like video editing. it seems a little ridiculous that someone should have to remember three lines of options just to perform one command. so for me it all depends on the task.

Yeah, I use GUI tools for cd/dvd recording (k3b) and sound editing (audacity). Of course I always call the programs from a terminal though ;)

Jorophose 07-18-2007 01:22 PM

I like the command line, in the rare case that X fails on me. Need to be prepared for anything. :)


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:30 AM.