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Has the Command Line Outstayed Its Welcome? 1134

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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  • 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.

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

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


  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:41PM (#40513077) Homepage

    CLI is for writing code...?

    What happens in your GUI when you have a folder with 10,000 files in it? What if you want to do something with all those files? Are you going to do it one click at a time?

  • Troll article is trolling. Nothing to see here.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:53PM (#40513165)

    Roblimo is Robin Miller, surely?

    Name explained here:

  • by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @08:04PM (#40513237)

    I wish GIMP allowed such a thing, it'd be a blast for sprite art.

    It does - sort of. The supported languages are not very well-tailored to the application, but there is a Console and you can enter commands in there directly if you want.
    I haven't checked if there's a 'apply pencil at x,y' - but I would imagine there is one :)
    ( I have only used it for some batch processing - specifically for a segmentation-based chromatic aberration removal process for a lens that makes the usual tools very unhappy (the equations they use just don't fit nicely). Admittedly, the lens is a piece of $20 e-bay crap :) )

    I'd start with these two: [] []

  • 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:really?? (Score:2, Informative)

    by SplashMyBandit ( 1543257 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @08:21PM (#40513361)
    Actually, one or more databases are the heart of most businesses. Excel is at the heart of user workflows in small/medium businesses, but often then the 'business' part is still a database of one kind or another. Just sayin'.
  • Re:He's right. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 01, 2012 @08:31PM (#40513439)

    A serious problem in linux is that frequently you have to go to the command line to do a lot of things.

    You should try Linux. Its not what you think it is.

  • The problem is that the GUI interface to the network has moved to different locations in different versions of Windows. In an IT department, you probably know what version of Windows is running, but with the public at large, they may have not a clue what version of Windows is running and how to access that information. Running ipconfig works on virtually every version of Windows. And to my knowledge, Windows has not provided a GUI interface to ping or tracert. Sure, there are third-party versions, but most systems don't have them installed, and if you're trying to troubleshoot a network problem, you probably can't just download them then.

  • Okay, it's a race, you sit there on that Windows 7 box with MP3s scattered all over the drive, round them up with your mouse and move them to this USB stick.

    I'll do the same thing with CMD.exe.

    xcopy c:\*.mp3 g:\ /s
    del c:\*.mp3

    I win!
  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @09:07PM (#40513667) Homepage Journal
    What are you talking about? Unless you use ksplice(most don't) you still have to reboot your machine to get the latest and greatest kernel. Now you can *INSTALL* kernel updates without rebooting, but you will continue to run the old kernel until you do so.
  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @09:08PM (#40513675)

    "Yes I have. I have a mother and she's a pain even when you're standing next to her. You pick it up fairly quickly.

    The key is to help guide the eyes and always confirm that the expected outcome has happened. It's not a case of saying "Double click network and then click status" It's a case of "Do you see the little icon that looks like ...., now double click it, did you see the window pop-up?, good now at the top of the window there will be a few tabs one of which will say status, now click that status tab..."

    It's simple once you adapt to it. Mind you the commandline is not without its problems either. There's a lot of users out there who don't know what the "-" symbol is. Is it a dash, is it minus? Not to mention the many people who don't know which slash is a forward slash and which one is the backslash.

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

    by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @09:09PM (#40513681) Homepage Journal

    Maybe CLI should not be required. But CLI should always be available.
    I can understand a newbie getting scared of big black empty screen. But the newbie can overcome the fear, learn and use that skillfully.
    On the other hand, I will never overcome anguish and frustration of repeatedly clicking through the same "Add User" wizard of BackOffice (Small Business Edition) mandated for schools, as I was trying to add four classes of students, each requiring manually entering the same data over and over, roughly 3 minutes per user. Done with cli+adduser command or config file+text editor this would take up to 10 seconds per user. And after a hour of searching for options to automate the process, I arrived at a page where I learned "Batch user addition is not available in Small Business Edition. You need Enterprise edition for this option to work."
    But the GUI was so much more intuitive!

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

    by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @09:12PM (#40513695) Homepage Journal

    He didn't suggest taking out CLI.
      Keep it as an option or you can take it out all together.

  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @09:17PM (#40513721) Homepage Journal

    I've seen a pro at work with AutoCAD.
    While us, students, would click awkwardly through the menus finding a command buried three levels deep, it was at his fingertips. He'd create our hour's work within less than five minutes, and primarily thanks to never digging in menus. One hand on the mouse to point things, directions, intersections, grid points etc, the other telling what to do with that point - using the keyboard.

  • Re:really?? (Score:2, Informative)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @09:49PM (#40513877)
    "The difference between the Google search box and a bash command line is, one is interpreted as a search command, the other as a unix executable."

    No. The difference is that one needs a GUI, a network connection, multiple layers of complex protocols, and a fairly intelligent device, while the other works perfectly fine from a dumb, serial ASCII terminal. If it can't be done on a Teletype KSR-33, it's not a CLI.
  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @10:43PM (#40514147) Journal

    I still can't stomach Enlightenment, though.

    Can you please kindly elucidate the reason you _still_ can't stomach Enlightenment?

  • by bmorency ( 1221186 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @11:56PM (#40514497)
    Fedora wants to introduce offline updates. You need to reboot to apply updates. []
  • by dna_(c)(tm)(r) ( 618003 ) on Monday July 02, 2012 @01:32AM (#40514839)

    Linux is great for systems that will be managed by folks who do Linux, and its great when those folks can set up a locked down system for someone else. But as an every day replacement for Windows, to be managed and run by average Joe? Yea, not quite yet.

    Not even Windows can be adequately managed by Joe and Jane Average. You need a minimal level of understanding in order to keep any system running - not even talking about keeping it safe. I even get silly questions from the Mac users...

  • by sa1lnr ( 669048 ) on Monday July 02, 2012 @03:17AM (#40515193)

    I'd KILL for an official Control Panel option in Windows to allow me to customize the BSOD screen. Power Ranger Pink anyone? []

    The "Notmyfault" link.

  • 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.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.