LinuxQuestions.org
Support LQ: Use code LQ3 and save $3 on Domain Registration
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Non-*NIX Forums > General
User Name
Password
General This forum is for non-technical general discussion which can include both Linux and non-Linux topics. Have fun!

Notices

Reply
 
Search this Thread
Old 07-17-2007, 08:08 PM   #1
Forezt
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: Aero-nomadic
Distribution: Debian (etch, PPC)
Posts: 80

Rep: Reputation: 15
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?

Last edited by Forezt; 07-17-2007 at 08:13 PM.
 
Old 07-17-2007, 08:15 PM   #2
masonm
Senior Member
 
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Following the white rabbit
Distribution: Slackware64 13.37 Android 4.0
Posts: 2,248

Rep: Reputation: 46
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.
 
Old 07-17-2007, 08:24 PM   #3
wjevans_7d1@yahoo.co
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2006
Location: Mariposa
Distribution: Slackware 9.1
Posts: 938

Rep: Reputation: 30
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.
 
Old 07-17-2007, 08:28 PM   #4
masonm
Senior Member
 
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Following the white rabbit
Distribution: Slackware64 13.37 Android 4.0
Posts: 2,248

Rep: Reputation: 46
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.
 
Old 07-17-2007, 09:16 PM   #5
rkelsen
Senior Member
 
Registered: Sep 2004
Distribution: slackware
Posts: 1,748

Rep: Reputation: 161Reputation: 161
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...
 
Old 07-18-2007, 10:13 AM   #6
alred
Member
 
Registered: Mar 2005
Location: singapore
Distribution: puppy and Ubuntu and ... erh ... redhat(sort of) :( ... + the venerable bsd and solaris ^_^
Posts: 658
Blog Entries: 8

Rep: Reputation: 31
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 ...


.
 
Old 07-18-2007, 10:19 AM   #7
jiml8
Senior Member
 
Registered: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,171

Rep: Reputation: 114Reputation: 114
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.
 
Old 07-18-2007, 10:28 AM   #8
b0uncer
Guru
 
Registered: Aug 2003
Distribution: CentOS, OS X
Posts: 5,131

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
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.
 
Old 07-18-2007, 10:59 AM   #9
manlydan
Member
 
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Lake Charles, LA
Distribution: Gentoo/LFS
Posts: 39

Rep: Reputation: 15
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.
 
Old 07-18-2007, 11:08 AM   #10
alred
Member
 
Registered: Mar 2005
Location: singapore
Distribution: puppy and Ubuntu and ... erh ... redhat(sort of) :( ... + the venerable bsd and solaris ^_^
Posts: 658
Blog Entries: 8

Rep: Reputation: 31
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 ...


.
 
Old 07-18-2007, 11:14 AM   #11
slackhack
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jun 2004
Distribution: Arch, Debian, Slack
Posts: 1,016

Rep: Reputation: 46
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.
 
Old 07-18-2007, 11:18 AM   #12
raska
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Aguascalientes, AGS. Mexico.
Distribution: Slackware 13.0 kernel 2.6.29.6
Posts: 816

Rep: Reputation: 30
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
 
Old 07-18-2007, 11:35 AM   #13
jiml8
Senior Member
 
Registered: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,171

Rep: Reputation: 114Reputation: 114
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.
 
Old 07-18-2007, 11:52 AM   #14
manlydan
Member
 
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Lake Charles, LA
Distribution: Gentoo/LFS
Posts: 39

Rep: Reputation: 15
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
 
Old 07-18-2007, 01:22 PM   #15
Jorophose
Member
 
Registered: Oct 2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Distribution: Xubuntu 6.06!! =D
Posts: 137

Rep: Reputation: 15
I like the command line, in the rare case that X fails on me. Need to be prepared for anything.
 
  


Reply

Tags
apple, computer, future, interfaces, science


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Is there a single command to list all hardware installed (command line)? davee Linux - Hardware 6 02-28-2009 07:19 PM
Redirecting output to a command-line argument of another command madiyaan Linux - Newbie 1 02-19-2005 04:35 PM
Command to output file content line by line aznluvsmc Programming 2 09-12-2004 07:45 PM
51 characters only in the 1st Line of command line eggCover Linux - General 2 07-29-2004 01:28 PM
Where is Command line utility for Cups and command tutorial mossy Linux - Software 8 01-16-2004 12:24 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:19 AM.

Main Menu
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration