No Command Line Required

One of the main concerns that people usually express to me regarding GNU/Linux is that, to them at least, it seems like the command line needs to be used more often than they want. (Which is basically anything more than an average of 0 times per year.) As a result, they tend to be unwilling to even consider switching from Windows to it because they refuse to learn how to learn the command line. It’s just too stone-age for their taste and they’ll settle for nothing less than pointy-clicky.

The fact is, when it comes to day to day use, there is a graphical application available  for every task. In some cases there are even several. Actually, switching to the command line can be about as common as having to edit the windows registry if you want to avoid it. The difference being that the files you edit will be actually be in English and won’t involve nonsensical things like REG_DWORD or REG_SZ* registration keys buried deep in a tree that has branches that are sometimes cryptic, sometimes generic and oftentimes seemingly randomly named.

Come to think of it, if all you are doing is editing files, you don’t even need the command line for that either, because you can do that in any one of the editors available. (There’s at least on installed by default on every distribution)

In addition, one of the strengths of the command line is that I can tell someone to open a terminal and paste in:

apt-get install firefox thunderbird enigmail vlc amarok miro transmission

and it will install Firefox, Thunderbird with the enigmail extension, VLC, Amarok, Miro, Transmission and Open Office along with the dependencies needed such as gnupg for enigmail for them. That one little line saves both them and me about an hours worth of time typing out and following instructions on which website to go to for each program, downloading each one, and then running each and clicking next, next, I Agree, next, next, next ok, next, ok like a brainless monkey.

Of course, they could always use one of the many fine graphical installers that are available to install all of those programs, like synaptic or adept (and one is generally installed by in most distributions by default); but it’s much less work for both of us if I just give them that line that they can simply paste in.

So no, there is no command line required, but you’ll be glad it is there.


*For those who aren’t aware, a REG_DWORD is a 32-bit unsigned integer (numbers between 0 and 4,294,967,295 [232 – 1]) (little-endian). Why they didn’t just call it INTEGER is beyone me. On the other hand REG_SZ is a string… STRING would’ve made more sense. And what is tha Z for anyhow?!


~ by ghendar on May 29, 2009.