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The much maligned CLI.

Posted 03-17-2009 at 10:33 AM by rich_c

I'm sure we've all seen comments in 'Is Linux ready for the desktop' type articles complaining about the command line... Of course, in reality, most current distros don't require users to go anywhere near the command line for pretty much any reason.

However... It deserves better than the comments that imply that if you have to use the command line then Linux is doomed. It is an extremely useful and powerful tool! If you want to go beyond the everyday tasks of most users, or even if you want to do something that can be done in a GUI but do it quicker and more efficiently then the CLI can be your friend. It doesn't take much research and fiddling about to start doing some quite useful tasks. I get the impression that if you want to be taken seriously when you claim to know something about GNU/Linux then you have to have the command line in your set of skills. Most online training courses I've looked at dive pretty much straight into using the most basic commands for navigating around filesystems etc.

Where most people who throw up their hands in horror at the mention of CLI probably get their aversion from, is the use of command line to fix problems. Things like someone with sound not working being asked to go to the command prompt and type in lspci. Where's the problem with that? You could probably get the info required from a GUI like KInfoCenter but lspci gives you everything you may need to start coming up with a solution right there in a few lines of text, which are easier to cut and paste back into a thread on a forum to request someone have a look for you.

So although I'm not advocating dumping the GUI and going back to the good old days, I do think we need to learn to love the command line as it has got a whole lot to give!
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