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Glom
2009-Oct-14, 06:49 AM
Why is it the in thing to use the Konsole in Unix for the simplest of tasks? Yes, I know it has more power than a GUI, but for things like viewing a simple ASCII file in a text editor, why do I have to type a command rather than opening the window showing the files and then double clicking?

Do I do it to make myself look really computer literate?

Do I do it to keep in touch with the fundamentals of computing and not have my skills dulled by the luxuries of GUI? Is Unix, computing for Amish?

TheHalcyonYear
2009-Oct-14, 07:04 AM
Well, I don't think you are going to like the answer, but here's how I understand it.

Konsole is a "state of the art", so to speak, terminal emulator with all the cool features that a kernel hacker could have ever dreamed of. A true Linux kernel hacker doesn't believe in GUI's, they're for the unwashed masses. A true Linux kernel hacker not only can type 300 characters, or more, of command line that contains pipes, redirection and control structures, they will tell you that they can type it faster than you can open a window and double clicking. A true Linux kernel hacker will also tell you that you are illiterate if you don't know all the arcane command line flags that go with each command one types in at the command line.

Linux kernel hackers see themselves as an elite group. Not passing judgment, just reporting.

Nicolas
2009-Oct-14, 07:30 AM
I prefer a system where you have a decent GUI for when you're just doing your thing, with a command console available for when you need it. Doing everything from a command console isn't handy nor user friendly; doing everything from a GUI will get tedious and/or limiting. Just give both and be done with it.

jokergirl
2009-Oct-14, 07:35 AM
I assume you mean the command line.

Unix-based computers still don't necessarily come with a GUI. Nor do they have to, for what they are used for. There is not necessarily a visual file manager ("window with files in") either, even if a GUI is installed.

It's not the in thing, it's just how things are in *nix systems often. Feel free to use the GUI if you have it. But you should also feel free to inform yourself about what other things you can do in shell that's not just "opening a window".

;)

slang
2009-Oct-14, 08:56 AM
Why is it the in thing to use the Konsole in Unix for the simplest of tasks? Yes, I know it has more power than a GUI,

There you go, you already answered your own question :)


but for things like viewing a simple ASCII file in a text editor, why do I have to type a command rather than opening the window showing the files and then double clicking?

What do you mean, you "have to"? You have a choice, no? Use your favorite GUI, or use a shell. Or use both, and choose whatever fits best for the task you need to or want to do. Sometimes just typing the commands is faster than using a mouse to click through lists and windows, move hand to keyboard, type some, move back to mouse, search, click, move hand, etc.

A GUI program has the advantage that you can see all options available. IE in a configuration screen, everything is available on a few tabs, sorted in a smart way, and buttons/checkmarks/lists give an immediate insight into what you can do. You can recognize filetypes by their icons. You can just click a file, and the OS will automatically launch an appropriate application for it. It's easy with a mouse to select a few files from a long list, and drag them somewhere or do something else with them. Web browsing, document editing, spreadsheet calculations etc can be much easier in a WYSIWYG GUI.

A command line interface (CLI) in unix has other advantages. For one, it works very well over remote connections. Almost every unix-like machine has an easy option to control it over a network connection, using a CLI. That is much less straightforward with GUIs. Some things are much easier from the CLI, by using several commands. Like: search thousands of files for a text string to match partially, extract line number 24 from each file, change the 3rd field on that line into something else, and replace tabs with spaces. This sort of thing can be pretty difficult to do in a GUI. In unix it's just a few short commands in a row. Most commands are pretty universal, and they'll be available whether you work in Linux, *BSD, HP-UX, Solaris, to name just a few. "ls", "vi", "cd", all the same commands. In different GUIs you can encounter very different "explorer" like programs, which may take a while to get used to.

If your question is, why can't I use GUI options while working in a shell or console: it would depend on what type of machine you are working on, available hardware, which OS, does it even have a mouse, etc etc. The very limitations of the CLI also make it so extremely portable. That said, I think there are GUI implementations of CLI's, where things like file choose windows etc are available.

But in the end the answer is always: use what works, what is available, what you know how to use, what you like, and what fits your requirements. Having some CLI knowledge in your toolkit can be helpful. And fun. :)

Moose
2009-Oct-14, 11:59 AM
The other aspect is that if/when things really go to heck on you, and I mean _really_ go to heck, you may not be able to reach your preferred GUI, or any GUI at all.

The one time I wound up trying to revive the box with a rescue boot disk, I found that the only tool I could reach was vi. (I was "raised" on an oversimplified subset of emacs, so I was outta luck.) I wound up editing config files with ed.

Many unix proggies stick very close to the command line to keep their emergency skills fresh. "Peacetime" is for training. When you're trying to recover a system, and the PHB is breathing down your neck, it's far too late to be reading man pages to figure out if some obscure command will be helpful (let alone the obscure flags to that obscure command.)

DonM435
2009-Oct-14, 01:04 PM
I always considered "vi" to be an encryption tool. Any time I use it on a file, said file becomes indecipherable rather quickly.

Glom
2009-Oct-20, 02:34 PM
A ha! So it turns out that Windows can be controlled from the console after all.

Or at least I can open a text file using it.

mugaliens
2009-Oct-21, 04:55 AM
Kludgily, but yes.

Nick Theodorakis
2009-Oct-21, 12:19 PM
There are a number of utilities that can be run from the Windows command line, and some I believe can only be run from there (such as tracert).

I actually still use xcopy now and then.

Nick

slang
2009-Oct-21, 04:51 PM
Oh, in MS Windows cmdline? "start file.ext" (insert path as needed) will launch the application associated with .ext files, if the file already exists.

jokergirl
2009-Oct-26, 01:31 PM
I recommend you read In the Beginning was the Command Line. It's a really good introduction and a plain good read as well.

;)

Glom
2009-Oct-26, 08:01 PM
I recommend you read In the Beginning was the Command Line. It's a really good introduction and a plain good read as well.

;)

I think that might have been suggested to me by my colleague?

nauthiz
2009-Oct-26, 08:28 PM
On Unix systems, I tend to default to the GUI for just navigating the filesystem and opening files, but when I'm manipulating data in any kind of serious way I drop to the shell because I find it tends to be more convenient.

If I want to remove all the JPEG files from some hierarchy of directories, for example, doing it with the GUI might involve ten minutes' worth of clicking around through all the folders, sorting stuff by type and multiselecting and all that, whereas doing it from the command line only requires a few seconds' worth of tapping out a fairly simple text command.