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Has the Command Line Outstayed Its Welcome? 1134

Posted by samzenpus
from the time-to-go dept.
dgharmon writes "The Command Line Interface has its uses, acknowledged Mobile Raptor blogger Roberto Lim, but no piece of technology targeted at the consumer market should ever require that something be done via CLI, he says. Keep it as an option or you can take it out all together. 'If it is there, it should just be there for the IT people or tech support to use when you encounter a problem.'"
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Has the Command Line Outstayed Its Welcome?

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  • really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:28PM (#40512953)

    Guy is a fucking moron. Thats all.

    • Re:really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TehNoobTrumpet (1836716) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:31PM (#40512973)
      Why would any end user care at all about the CLI? They want an easy to use interface, and a CLI is exactly not that, especially in the realm of mobile apps, possibly the largest growing sector of software development these days
      • Re:really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by foniksonik (573572) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:40PM (#40513065) Homepage Journal

        And yet text expanders, text based app launch shortcuts, etc are all the rage with GUI users these days.

        CLI is the defacto interface for Google searches. People use it everyday and all day long. Nobody complains that it isn't intuitive.

        The right tool is the one that works the best got the job at hand.

        • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:56PM (#40513183)

          CLI is the defacto interface for Google searches. People use it everyday and all day long. Nobody complains that it isn't intuitive.

          Typing in a few keywords is not CLI. That's just data input in response to a prompt.

          Using the more complex search modifiers does make it more like CLI use as you are driving behavior - but most people do not do that.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 01, 2012 @09:09PM (#40513687)

            Google understands:

            y = 3x + cos x
            movies 12345 (or any zip code)
            light years in inches
            taco bell in los angeles ca
            valentine's day

            Building a GUI that does that, and can still find you cat pictures in an intuitive fashion without using the equivalent of a command line is just not going to happen. Yes, it takes a little effort to learn a command line but at some point a bunch of gestures, buttons, and drop down's just don't cut it.

          • by decora (1710862) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @09:21PM (#40513741) Journal

            please remind us where the word 'prompt' comes from... the 'bash prompt' or 'shell prompt'.

            you type 'key words' into it and get responses.

            why does it work? because its an anlogue of verbal communication. .. which humans have been doing for 10,000+ years.

            as opposed to 'poking square things that look like candy' which humans have been doing for 20 years.

          • by geekprime (969454) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @10:36PM (#40514115)

            >Typing in a few keywords is not CLI. That's just data input in response to a prompt.

            Have you used windows 7? the search bar searches programs and enter executes them, I'd say that 85% of my customers are typing excel instead of mousing through multiple menus.

          • by foniksonik (573572) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @10:47PM (#40514171) Homepage Journal

            It's no different than the typical CLI interactive session.

            Few people string together complex commands and arguments interactively. Most think about it, then do a few tests interactively, then write a shell script, then make an alias for it.

            At this point it you're just passing in an argument : mysearch "some keyword"

            Very similar to Google's input.

            A better example.

            In OS X you type 'open mail.app' in a terminal and pop, mail opens. Many GUI users are amazed by the simplicity when you show them this and instantly want to try more. 'open Microsoft Word' - bam, Word opens. OMG. It's so much faster than pointing and clicking.

            Then you show them 'open some file.docx' and when it opens in Word they fall on the floor.

            Suddenly they want to know more about this Terminal.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @10:58PM (#40514249) Homepage Journal

            Typing in a few keywords is not CLI

            But typing in a filename is?

            The article is pretty moronic. The author seems to be saying "CLI should be there, but should be hidden." Well, it is pretty much hidden. Many users go through life completely oblivious of the command line. Hell, you have to go three or four deep in Windows just to find it (unless you've made a shortcut as I have). He goes on to say, "If the command line is going to be there, it should only be used by tech support". Or something. That's even stupider.

            How many people, sitting at computers today, got a computer to do one thing and found out they could do something else completely? I remember my first personal computer back in the 80's. I just wanted a word processor and today half my income is generated using a computer as a digital audio workstation. And I've had to use that CLI more than a few times getting here.

            There is such a desire by the elites to make personal computers just a shopping interface. It's when I think about that desire that I find myself being a lot less critical about "the dumb masses", because when it comes down to it, they want us dumb and will go to great lengths to keep us dumb. I have a lot less anger toward ignorant Mr and Mrs America sitting and watching American Idol and Fox News because the amount of money and energy and sheer brute force that's being exerted by the elite god-kings of our society to get those people to do that and stay ignorant is simply immense. Hell, there's a political party that shall remain nameless who has adopted a platform officially opposing the teaching of critical thinking skills.

            So...fuck 'em. Keep the CLI and stop being angry at the ignorant. To a great extent, it's not their fault. We should be decent to everyone, whether they're ignorant or they want CLI. In the former case, as I say, it's not their fault. And in the latter case, well, one uses the best tool for the job, no?

        • Re:really?? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by jonnyj (1011131) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @08:14PM (#40513313)
          Excel is a case in point. Used by tens of millions of non-technical users, and at the heart of almost every business in the western world. And it's a graphically presented array of command lines.
      • Re:really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bleedingsamurai (2539410) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:42PM (#40513083)

        Why care about the command line? Because it is a whole lot easier then getting carpal tunnel clicking fifty different things when I could just type a couple commands and get the job done.

        Just because non-technical users are afraid of a particular interface does not mean you rip it out. After all, distros like Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint, Fedora, RedHat and I'm sure plenty of others make it very easy for Joe User to get his computing done.

      • Re:really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sycodon (149926) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @08:13PM (#40513301)

        There will always be some function that can't be done in the GUI because they didn't knkow how to do it that way or they forgot.

        There will always be some function that is faster to do in the CLI than it it in the GUI, especially if you know what you are doing.

    • Re:really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by xystren (522982) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:37PM (#40513031)

      I normally don't agree with AC, but I think this one hit the nail on the head.

      Why is the command line interface still there? Simply because the GIU is lacking that particular feature. I'm also much faster on a keyboard than I am with a mouse/GIU. Sure, when GUIs are able to do what the command line can, then perhaps there may be a reason to phase it out - but until that happens, keep it there. Simply, if you don't want to use the command line interface, then don't. Pretty simple if you ask me. Just because you don't like it, don't call for it's assassination.

    • Re:really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NFN_NLN (633283) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:41PM (#40513081)

      I was going about my day until I read this article. Then I had to login to Slashdot just to flame this article.

      The #1 desktop OS finally, after years of being predominately GUI only, caved into CLI with powershell. They are now moving in the correct direction and this guy NOW believes a CLI is useless for regular users?

      Lets not forget who dominates the computer scene; computer nerds. I could walk grandma through screens of settings... OR I could just send a CLI script to check and/or set any options. Scripting and automation alone make CLI indispensable. And don't think end users won't be using these scripts to simply tasks. They may not be writing these scripts but they sure will be using them!

      • Re:really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by zill (1690130) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @08:18PM (#40513335)

        but no piece of technology targeted at the consumer market should ever require that something be done via CLI

        He didn't say "CLI is useless". He didn't suggest taking out CLI. He says nothing should ever require CLI.

        If something requires CLI to work, it means every single user must type in at least one command on the CLI for the device to function.

      • NO! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by thegarbz (1787294) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @09:19PM (#40513729)

        Lets not forget who dominates the computer scene; computer nerds.

        No. Really 1000 times no. The nerds make up a very tiny minority of the computer users. The dominating force in the computer scene are people who spend all day playing on Facebook, the people who actually welcome the Ribbon Bar because it's more "user friendly".

        You've made one key mistake, .... or you're just seeking job security, I don't know.... The goal of software should be that WE DON'T NEED to set up a CLI script to run grandma through a list of options. If grandma can't use her computer the way she wants without my help then the designer of the software has failed.

        In another reply to me someone compared the use of awk and sed to entering functions in Excel. My reply then makes a good example here too. awk and sed will be ready for the consumer when a window pops up giving the user a searchable list of software functions, guides the user through entering the arguments with extensive help, and when you balls it up fixes the function for you.

        A consumer should NEVER need to access a CLI. If they do then the software developer has failed, or they are a power user like most of the Slashdot posters here who like yourself are getting very defensive at the prospect that computers should be usable by untrained monkeys.

    • Re:really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Culture20 (968837) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:53PM (#40513161)

      Guy is a fucking moron. Thats all.

      No, there's more to it than that. Roberto Lim is essentially saying "I never use an electric screwdriver when I need to open my TV remote, so no one except professional contractors should be allowed to use an electric screwdriver." Yes I do happen to be an IT professional, but I use command line loops for a lot of useful batch processing that "ordinary users" would love to use if they bothered to spend the time to look past the GUI.

      • Re:really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Nutria (679911) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @08:19PM (#40513337)

        Exactly.

        Ripping DVDs into ISO format is perfectly suitable for a GUI like brasero, because it's so slow.

        But transcoding dozens -- nay, hundreds -- of episodes of TV shows is simplified by the liberal use of bash, control structures, variables, at(1) and handbrake-cli.

        • Re:really?? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by rylin (688457) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @09:17PM (#40513717)

          I was quite tempted to mod you up, but I would say that even then, in your last example, there are other tools available for users and power users.

          OS X has its Automator.app which lets you build up a workflow that can run as a separate program, or as a "folder action" (essentially a macro applied to files in a specific folder).

          It gives you most of the power of the CLI, with more ease of use.

          It really is quite nice to use.

  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:29PM (#40512959)

    Mod headline -1, flamebait.

    (and the summary is silly, as well—how many popular software products today actually require the end user to run terminal commands?)

    • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:40PM (#40513067)

      how many popular software products today actually require the end user to run terminal commands

      Thankfully, not many.

      On the other hand, very thankfully many CAD applications and the like do have a 'command line'. Not a terminal one, but one built into the GUI.
      The reason this is 'very thankfully' is because 1. some things really are just easier when typed in, and 2. it forces the developers to make everything that's doable through the UI, no matter how awkwardly, doable in the command line.
      The latter is very important when you consider the potential for macros, batch operations, more full-fledged scripting, etc.

      If anything, more applications should have command lines.

      I realize the article is more about the main CLI, though - and the modifier "required".. in which case I agree, the CLI shouldn't really be required. It's just damn nice it's there when you want it.

      • by blind biker (1066130) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @09:13PM (#40513701) Journal

        If anything, more applications should have command lines.

        This. Fucking, THIS!
        All our scientific equipment (that is controlled by a PC, which means 90% of them) has a GUI. And a host of bugs or user errors related to the GUI. And then, contacting the vendor and getting support is a nightmare, with a GUI. My dream is that all of these devices get a CLI so I can just issue unambiguous commands of the type

        set O2FLOW 65
        set SF6FLOW 200
        move sample TEST1 react_1
        set DCPOWER 50
        process 3000s
        start

        That would be also scriptable, flexible, powerful, and as I said, unambiguous and easy to debug.

    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:42PM (#40513089)

      "... but no piece of technology targeted at the consumer market should ever require that something be done via CLI, he says."

      "... but no piece of technology targeted at the consumer market should ever require that something be done via soldiering iron, he says."

      "... but no piece of technology targeted at the consumer market should ever require that something be done via distillation, he says."

      "... but no piece of technology targeted at the consumer market should ever require that something be done via (fill in the blank), he says."

      Now ask yourself what percentage of home users have ever used the command line on their phones. Or have opened up a device to re-soldier parts of it. And when was the LAST time something like that needed to be done.

  • Three words: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Orp (6583) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:29PM (#40512961) Homepage

    No. Fucking. Way.

  • by desertfool (21262) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:30PM (#40512967) Homepage

    Sometimes you have to have a user ping something, telnet to something. I know it sucks and it is hard, but basic connectivity tests are what you need. /Love using AppNeta's PathView so I don't have to do this much anymore. //Just need the company to get more testing equipment.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:31PM (#40512977) Homepage

    Article = flamebait.

  • GUI? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xlsior (524145) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:31PM (#40512981) Homepage
    The GUI - Making easy things easier, and hard things impossible. (Seriously, there are still a lot of command line tools like sed and awk which are absolutely invaluable, with no real non-commandline alternatives)
  • 'consumer' (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jythie (914043) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:32PM (#40512991)
    I think that is the key word... a rather hazy that doesn't really mean anything.

    CLI isn't just for 'tech support and IT', but most users don't have much use for it. Though some people are just going to like it even if they are 'consumers', there are times where it can be a real time saver for common 'consumer' tasks. Though I do have to agree that no 'consumer' app should actually require its usage at this point.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:33PM (#40513003)

    The light-switch is one of the end-user interfaces for electricity in the house. The wiring behind it is better left to the experts. It's dangerous for the non-initiated to fiddle with it.

    Same for the command line. Graphical user interfaces have become the de-facto end-user interface to modern computing devices, to information, to the Internet, etc. The CLI exposes some of the wiring behind it. No need for end users to mess with it or to have to understand it. It can be confusing for them or even dangerous.

    The sooner software developers realize this, the better it is for everyone involved.

    It may be sad that today's users are not introduced at the same level to the technology that many of us were decades ago, but that's the way things go. We don't expect to wire up our house ourselves, or build our own generators or electric engines. We shouldn't expect that a product for the masses should require in-depth knowledge or even expose an interface that is not really useful for every day users.

    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday July 01, 2012 @08:02PM (#40513223)

      The light-switch is one of the end-user interfaces for electricity in the house.

      That's the whole point. What percentage of the light switches currently in use are NOT operated by some kind of switch?

      He's advocating for something that has been solved and implemented years ago.

      Graphical user interfaces have become the de-facto end-user interface to modern computing devices, to information, to the Internet, etc.

      Yep. So he's advocating that what has already happened ... happen? How many people have used the command line on their smart phones? Already solved. Already implemented. No need to claim that it SHOULD be done.

      The sooner software developers realize this, the better it is for everyone involved.

      They have realized it. They have implemented it. It is already done.

      We shouldn't expect that a product for the masses should require in-depth knowledge or even expose an interface that is not really useful for every day users.

      Again, already realized, designed, implemented, shipped and sold.

      Been there. Done that. Ten years ago.

  • So? (Score:4, Informative)

    by tsa (15680) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:34PM (#40513007) Homepage

    Why did this even make it to the home page? That door is so open you can't kick it in anymore.

  • He's right. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Karmashock (2415832) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:35PM (#40513017)

    *gets ready for mindless hate replies*

    Look, I'm not against the command line. It's fine. And I actually would say that every program should have a command line. That said, every program should also have a GUI interface.

    A serious problem in linux is that frequently you have to go to the command line to do a lot of things. You should NEVER have to go to command line.

    The command line is great for people that have memorized all the commands, know exactly what they want to do, and can run the operations in their sleep. But for everyone else it's a hinderence. They have to do queries and check forums to figure out what the program is called. Then they need to look up the syntax.

    It's the opposite of user friendly.

    Command line is great for certain things. I Scripting especially is much easier if everything can take a command line. I wish more programs in windows for example could take a command line.

    But linux especially needs to offer the GUI as the primary interface for EVERYTHING.

    I know the old linux hands disagree. This is why you have adoption problems. And because you have adoption problems many companies don't write software for your OS requiring the open source community to write everything themselves. And of course hardware venders frequently don't release drivers for your OS. Fix the GUI issue and all that will change.

    Quid pro quo. We're not asking for the universe here. Just the GUI as the primary interface. Keep the command line for those that prefer it. But you'll never get the adoption up so long as its the secondary interface.

    • Re:He's right. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:44PM (#40513113)

      I do not want a gui primary interface.

      I want standard input and output on every program.

      If it cant be part of a pipeline, it isnt worth much to me.

    • Re:He's right. (Score:5, Informative)

      by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @08:10PM (#40513281) Homepage

      But linux especially needs to offer the GUI as the primary interface for EVERYTHING.
      I know the old linux hands disagree. This is why you have adoption problems. [...] And of course hardware venders frequently don't release drivers for your OS. Fix the GUI issue and all that will change.

      This would make a lot of sense ... if it were even loosely based on reality.

      My wife, my 12-year-old daughter, and my mother in law all use linux as their only desktop OS. None of them know a CLI from a hole in the ground. None of them needs a CLI to do anything they want to do. They use GUIs exclusively -- mainly Firefox, libreoffice, and GIMP. There is no "GUI issue."

      And because you have adoption problems many companies don't write software for your OS requiring the open source community to write everything themselves.

      The existence of open-source applications on linux is a good thing, not a bad thing.

    • Re:He's right. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pushing-robot (1037830) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @08:26PM (#40513399)

      My only issue (other than the inflammatory headline) is that these are lessons that were learned thirty years ago. Do we really have to remind developers that non-experts prefer point-and-click interfaces that elucidate the program's functions or that command lines are efficient and allow greater nuance?

      A GUI is to a CLI as gesture is to speech. One is multidimensional, pictorial, concrete. The other is unidimensional, verbal, abstract. Each has an advantage at certain tasks: Using a computer that only works visually is like trying to convey War and Peace through mime. Conversely, to a user untrained in a particular application, accomplishing tasks via a command line is like trying to have a meaningful telephone conversation with an aborigine.

      Which is better? I don't care—give me both, thank you very much. Visual interfaces are indispensable as they can display complex information in an intuitive and language-independent manner. But please give me an interface to talk to the application and string programs together with all the grammatical complexity of a command line.

    • Re:He's right. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie@NOsPAM.hotmail.com> on Sunday July 01, 2012 @08:40PM (#40513501) Homepage

      To be frank I'd say this is mostly a complete non-issue. What tasks Average Joe may need to do on his computer do *require* using CLI? I can't think of anything other than recovery from update/upgrade failures and such. Sure, even those should be automated as much as possible and tbh, there shouldn't happen such failures that cause one to drop down to CLI in the first case. But why would Average Joe need a GUI tool for e.g. setting up Apache2+PHP+MySQL? Average Joes do not care about such things and for the rest of us CLI is often the faster and easier way of setting that up.

      With all that said: pray tell what functions would Average Joe need on his computer that at the moment *require* CLI? I really want an answer on that.

    • Re:He's right. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by webnut77 (1326189) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @08:52PM (#40513555)

      The command line is great for people that have memorized all the commands, know exactly what they want to do, and can run the operations in their sleep. But for everyone else it's a hinderence.

      How could this post be +4 insightful?

      If you have two screwdrivers in your toolbox but only ever use one, the unused one is NOT a hinderance. Others have a need for that 2nd screwdriver.

      Look, most people have working legs so all those wheelchair ramps are a hinderance.

      You should NEVER have to go to command line.

      Then a lot of what you can do with a program will never get coded in a GUI. Even Windows has regedit!

      Look past the end of your nose.

  • by Shalian (512701) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:37PM (#40513035)

    I invoke Betteridge's Law of Headlines [wikipedia.org] here.

    No.

  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sapgau (413511) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:41PM (#40513075) Journal

    And if it wasn't available we would find a way to install it.

    Next topic.

  • Troll article (Score:5, Informative)

    Troll article is trolling. Nothing to see here.

  • by spasm (79260) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:45PM (#40513115) Homepage

    "Mobile Raptor blogger Roberto Lim"

    Well I'd assume raptors would be mobile, but I still have no idea why a dinosaur would be blogging, let alone why anyone would care what they thought about CLI vs anything else?

  • by Balial (39889) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:48PM (#40513137) Homepage

    "Just the simple task of separating two kinds of files from a single directory, 'mkdir GIF;mkdir JPG;mv *.gif ./GIF;mv *.jpg ./JPG' and I'm done -- five seconds to accomplish that. How long would it take in a pretty looking GUI?"

    Create two directories; sort by file type; drag & drop * 2... done. And it'll deal with mixed case extensions. Don't get me started about Mr. "You can't do that FTP transfer in less than 8 mouse clicks". vs 32 keystrokes. I'm not sure where his maths comes from.

    They also don't go into how far you are away from destroying the world with a CLI:

    sudo rm -Rf ~/bin

    is one keystroke from

    sudo rm -Rf ~ /bin

    Or just the simple case of "cp a b c/", only you eagerly hit enter before "c/" so you blow away b with no checks.

    And who knows what you get when your super awesome smart shell loop isn't escaped properly on a filename with a space, quotes or apostrophe in the name.

    GUI or CLI -- do whatever you like -- but don't base your choice on the "quality" of information from the types of people in this article.

  • Silly.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Junta (36770) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @09:23PM (#40513755)

    Considering one of the focus areas of recent MS endeavours is to provide a richer baked-in shell (powershell), OSX has the same CLI credentials as the rest of the *nix world, it's silly at this point to say CLI is dead or dying.

    I understand the sentiment that nothing should 'require' a GUI, but that's actually a pretty poor sentiment that can lead to an atrocious GUI experience. What you want is a clean GUI that enables what most of your users have to cope with. The CLI in a sense is freeing for the GUI developers. If you have advanced capability that is rarely going to be used by a small portion of the population, you can make it CLI only and keep the GUI clean. Similarly, there are some things the CLI just inherently does better, and any attempts to cater to some of those use cases in GUI is similarly going to ruin the GUI for the things that it currently does well.

    I have dealt with software that held the philosophy of 'must provide all function and do it via GUI because CLI is dead'. The GUI had a labyrinth of menus and UI elements. Any attempt to do the most simple tasks prompted a 'wizard', to cover the 'well, 99% of the time, what you wanted to do was obvious, but to cover the corner cases, we are going to force you down a wizard that wants to make sure you want to do it now instead of later, when later you might want to do it, do you want to repeatedly do this same thing, while you are here, are there other things you want me to do this for, occasionally it might make sense for this to be combined with another usually unrelated task, do you want to do that this time? The data that will be processed, would you like the data exported for consumption elsewhere or thrown away?'. While it may be argued this particular piece of software was poorly designed and maybe it could've been done better, if you are trying to cater to all those scenarios trying to be *competitive* with a CLI strategy there aren't a lot of ways really to do that...

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @10:11PM (#40513989) Homepage
    When you sudo it from from my cold, dead hands.
  • human language (Score:5, Insightful)

    by devent (1627873) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @11:38PM (#40514421) Homepage
    Remarks of Professor Eben Moglen. AALS Mini-Workshop on the Internet and Legal Scholarship. o. New Orleans, Louisiana, January 5, 1995. [columbia.edu]

    Believing that any linguistically rich environment for interaction between people and computers will be commercially unpopular, the designers of operating systems want u s to live in an infant's world. They show you pretty pictures, and in order to communicate you point at the appropriate picture and grunt.

    The most important accomplishment of humanity is language, it is the single most important invention. Without language we would not have culture or technology. But here we are, trying to eliminate language from computer and replacing it with hieroglyphs and symbols.

    The only problem with the CLI is the illiteracy fostered by Windows and the still prevailing inconvenience of the DOS like command prompt. Some people think that if there is no GUI for a problem, there is no solution at all. Most people do not even know that you can actually tell a computer what to do instead of clicking on abstract symbols. We humans tell other humans all the time what to do. We left runes and hieroglyphs and symbols millenia ego, but if you tell people you can actually tell a computer what to do they will not known what you mean.

    What is so difficult to tell the computer to "find . MyFile" or "whereis firefox" or to "reboot", or to print the current "date"? Or to "sleep 5m && reboot"? or to "wget http://some.server/some.file [some.server] && poweroff"?

    If you tell me, you have to remember the commands, then I have news for you: humans are very good in remember commands (aka words). We remember at least 10,000 words for everyday usage and if you speak multiple languages, that number can go pretty high. So why do you think the CLI is only for "geeks" and a regular user should not use the CLI at all? Is it because you think of "regular" users are stupid and can't learn anything? I watched flight travel agents and McDonalds workers use the CLI all the time. Or is it more that the dominant operating system on desktops have a horrible command line interface?

  • by catmistake (814204) on Monday July 02, 2012 @06:57AM (#40515895) Journal

    Using the Command Line evokes a sense of pride, so I expect to get flamed by your readers," Lim told Linux Girl. "But I have to admit, I usually wind up typing commands from a guide without fully understanding their import."

    Lim is using a fallacious argument known as argumentum ex silentio, or appeal to ignorance: Lim is unaware or ignorant of the reasons for a command line to exist, therefore, command line has no reason to exist. Here's another example of the appeal to ignorance fallacy:

    Using a lawyer evokes a sense of pride, so I expect to get flamed by the members of your bar, but I have to admit, I usually wind up following instructions from an attorney without fully understanding their import. Lawyers don't make any sense to me, so lawyers are unnecessary.

    "YES YES YES!" hairyfeet began. "There are only TWO reasons to use CLI -- repetition and scripting --

    Here hairyfeet is employing half truths or suppressed evidence --a statement intended to deceive that conveniently omits the facts necessary for an accurate description.

    ...and how many desktop or laptop jobs require writing scripts or repeating the same actions constantly? That would be pretty much none,

    Here hairyfeet cleverly combines half truths with observational selection, which is similar to confirmation bias, as he points out unfavorable circumstances while ignoring the favorable.

    ...which is why I say as long as CLI is the dominant way to do anything in Linux, it is a SERVER OS and not a Desktop OS."

    Spectacularly, hairyfeet ends his nonsensical rant with a blatant non sequitur, as his wildly inaccurate conclusion does not follow from any legitimate established premises, nor even his own prejudicial opinion. Hairyfeet's reasoning is flawed beginning to end. Apparently, in hairyfeet's world, computer servers are not what they are because they serve the requests of client computers or programs, but they are servers because the type of their human interface is not used for anything often. Let me see if I can construct a similar example of hairyfeet's flawed argument:

    There are only TWO reasons to write a blog -- boredom and conceit -- and how many readers or editors require writing blogs or repeating the same editorial constantly? That would be pretty much none, which is why I say as long as a blog is the dominant way to do anything on a webpage, it is a bad habit indicative of narcissistic compulsion and neither a legitimate profession nor a constructive use of free time.

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