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Old 08-19-2012, 05:39 AM   #1
skylight
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Smile Which is the best text-only OS?


Hi everyone

I have, for a long time, wanted to get away from supporting the corporate giants such as Microsoft, etc, and take the plunge into Linux and free, open-source software. Now I have decided that, although I am not very learned when it comes to computers or the Internet, that I am definitely going to do it.

What has really pushed me to it is this: I want to have a text-only Operating System. No photographic type images at all. But I read somewhere that this might limit my ability to visit certain sites, somewhere it said "some sites rely on java or adobe" or something like that.

Is there a text-only OS that won't be limited in that way? Furthermore, if I use such an OS, can I have a choice of fonts, or is everything going to look like brightly coloured letters over a black screen, which wreaks havoc with my eyes?

Thanks for reading, I am open to as much advice as possible as I begin this journey

'skylight'
 
Old 08-19-2012, 06:18 AM   #2
Mr. Alex
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Quote:
What has really pushed me to it is this: I want to have a text-only Operating System.
Every GNU/Linux distro can be text only.

Quote:
No photographic type images at all. But I read somewhere that this might limit my ability to visit certain sites, somewhere it said "some sites rely on java or adobe" or something like that.
You know, modern websites are made this way - you can barely surf them without JS. And the HTML/CSS layout is so complicated that text browsers like "links" & "elinks" can't really display them. They display just some kind of a mess. So you can do what you ask, but you'll be fed up very quickly.

Quote:
Is there a text-only OS that won't be limited in that way?
No. If you want correct web-surfing, you have to use GUI.

Quote:
Furthermore, if I use such an OS, can I have a choice of fonts
Yes and not only fonts, but colors and even images because Linux framebuffer allows you to see images in virtual console. "w3m" text browser will show pics in VC.

Last edited by Mr. Alex; 08-19-2012 at 06:20 AM.
 
Old 08-19-2012, 06:35 AM   #3
sycamorex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skylight View Post
Hi everyone

I have, for a long time, wanted to get away from supporting the corporate giants such as Microsoft, etc, and take the plunge into Linux and free, open-source software. Now I have decided that, although I am not very learned when it comes to computers or the Internet, that I am definitely going to do it.

What has really pushed me to it is this: I want to have a text-only Operating System. No photographic type images at all. But I read somewhere that this might limit my ability to visit certain sites, somewhere it said "some sites rely on java or adobe" or something like that.

Is there a text-only OS that won't be limited in that way? Furthermore, if I use such an OS, can I have a choice of fonts, or is everything going to look like brightly coloured letters over a black screen, which wreaks havoc with my eyes?

Thanks for reading, I am open to as much advice as possible as I begin this journey

'skylight'
Hi and welcome to LQ.

Your websurfing experience would be very limited without GUI. I tend to do as much as I can without GUI but browsing is not something I'd recommend in CLI.

Any linux distribution will do. Most of them default to GUI but you can modify this behaviour and start without the graphical interface.

Have a look at some minimalistic tiling window managers like i3. It might be what you're after. The best of both worlds.
 
Old 08-19-2012, 08:30 AM   #4
pixellany
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There are certainly lots of things you can do while running "text only". As already noted, you will only be able to see----you guessed it---TEXT.

One option to consider: In any Linux system, let it boot up into the GUI environment. Then use ctrl-alt-F1* to get into a (text-only) terminal. If you need to look at a web page or other graphical content, then ctrl-alt-F7* will take you back to the GUI.


*This could vary on some systems----the typical setup has terminals on F1 thru F6, and then GUI logins on F7 and up.
 
Old 08-19-2012, 08:45 AM   #5
brianL
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There's a live CD, INX, that can show you what is possible without X

http://inx.maincontent.net/info/info.html

Last edited by brianL; 08-19-2012 at 08:47 AM.
 
Old 08-19-2012, 08:49 AM   #6
sycamorex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianL View Post
There's a live CD, INX, that can show you what is possible without X

http://inx.maincontent.net/info/info.html
Looks quite okay. I'll give it a try one day.
 
Old 08-19-2012, 08:51 AM   #7
brianL
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Yeah, it's interesting. I tried it briefly when it first came out - whenever that was.
 
Old 08-19-2012, 11:10 AM   #8
jefro
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To be more exact, the only OS that I know of that isn't text based is BeOS (and Haiku-OS). They actually had to port a shell to it by design.


I'd put a vote in for Wind River VxWorks.


Try a text based browser now with your current OS. Lynx and a few other browsers can be installed an run. Also you may have to use new url names. Some may be automatically directed but others may have to use portable device web sites that don't rely so much on flash or such.

Last edited by jefro; 08-19-2012 at 11:13 AM.
 
Old 08-19-2012, 11:20 AM   #9
Mr. Alex
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Originally Posted by jefro View Post
To be more exact, the only OS that I know of that isn't text based is BeOS (and Haiku-OS). They actually had to port a shell to it by design.
Windows has GUI built in kernel so it's not text-based OS also.
 
Old 08-19-2012, 12:26 PM   #10
DavidMcCann
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You could always set up Linux to use the TWM window manager. You can read about it at Wikipedia and see it here
http://xwinman.org/screenshots/twm-system.gif
FVWM is similar and available in Slackware.
 
Old 08-19-2012, 12:54 PM   #11
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Alex View Post
Windows has GUI built in kernel so it's not text-based OS also.
I did not know that---could you provide details?
 
Old 08-19-2012, 03:51 PM   #12
guyonearth
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You're wasting your time, in my opinion. Modern websites don't work well as text only, for many reasons, but primarily that they are no longer primarily text. Logical, right? As someone who actually used text-based systems back in the day, I can tell you that a text-based OS is very limited and limiting in what it can present for you at any one time. For someone who multi-tasks in the true sense of the word, it's just not practical. I may have 10 programs and 20 windows open at any one time, so a "text-based" interface would be of little use to me.
 
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:23 PM   #13
punchy71
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So then we're stuck with the future being graphical user interfaces all being based on the Windows 8 Metro UI (and every other UI will follow it I'm sure- including Linux, BSD, etc., etc.) which borrows its coceptual icons (or tiles) from city airport and bus terminals, which is why it is called "Metro UI". Doesn't sound like much of a future to me.
 
Old 08-19-2012, 06:31 PM   #14
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by punchy71 View Post
So then we're stuck with the future being graphical user interfaces all being based on the Windows 8 Metro UI (and every other UI will follow it I'm sure- including Linux, BSD, etc., etc.) which borrows its coceptual icons (or tiles) from city airport and bus terminals, which is why it is called "Metro UI". Doesn't sound like much of a future to me.
You realize that there is more than one UI on Linux? If you don't like this new tablet-style interfaces go for KDE, XFCE, LXDE or one of the many window managers.
 
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:42 PM   #15
guyonearth
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Originally Posted by punchy71 View Post
So then we're stuck with the future being graphical user interfaces all being based on the Windows 8 Metro UI (and every other UI will follow it I'm sure- including Linux, BSD, etc., etc.) which borrows its coceptual icons (or tiles) from city airport and bus terminals, which is why it is called "Metro UI". Doesn't sound like much of a future to me.
Windows' Metro UI is optional. I've used it for a month, and I rarely use the "Metro" interface at all. The standard desktop is always one click away and works as always. There are many different options for UIs and desktops, especially with Linux, you're not bound into anything. Linus interface development is not driven by what Microsoft does, I'm sure most here would agree with that. The standard interface type of menu/taskbar/desktop exists in many forms because it works so well for so many people, not because anybody feels a need to copy anyone else.
 
  


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