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Re: Working from the "complicated" and "archaic" console.

  • Subject: Re: Working from the "complicated" and "archaic" console.
  • From: Liam Slider <liam@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2006 06:18:59 GMT
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Organization: EarthLink Inc. -- http://www.EarthLink.net
  • References: <pan.2006.> <dt8ra1$1u99$1@godfrey.mcc.ac.uk>
  • User-agent: Pan/ (As She Crawled Across the Table)
  • Xref: news.mcc.ac.uk comp.os.linux.advocacy:1082609
On Sun, 19 Feb 2006 04:12:35 +0000, Roy Schestowitz wrote:

> __/ [Liam Slider] on Sunday 19 February 2006 03:49 \__
>> There's been a lot of bashing of the command line and the console
>> lately, as if it's this evil, archaic, and hideously complex thing.
>> Well, I've decided to spend some time there. With the exception of a few
>> little apps (like Pan, because frankly, I don't want to lose track of
>> what I have and haven't read on usenet. And a few games and Firefox for
>> a few online forums only. And KPPP since it's simple and I already have
>> it configured, besides I don't know of an easy to configure console app
>> that's quite compatible with my online service) I will be living from
>> the console for a while. And what I do in the gui....well, my gui will
>> be simplified, just X11 with twm. Login is no longer graphical, but text
>> only with X11 started manually. Can't get much simpler than that.
> Save yourself the trouble. I was using TWM for a couple of days (not out
> of choice) and it makes work rather sluggish.

Meh, I'm only using it for a couple things. I'm going to be mainly in the

>> Why put myself through this "torture"? Simple, to show that it isn't
>> really all that hard, and I can do most things without it being
>> complicated. So far? I've learned the wonders of screen, a nice little
>> util that works like a wm, but for consoles. I can open new "screens" at
>> will and open apps in them, I can open them and close them while running
>> an existing application, list which ones are open and what's running in
>> each, and switch between them at ease. Most of the basic functionality
>> of a wm without the GUI. Nice. Of course, I start the first one with
>> "mc" (Midnight Commander), a fantastic console based file manager/shell.
>> I'm greeted by the warm blue glow of the screen and navigate using the
>> arrow keys to my Music directory where I "click" (hit Enter) on an
>> MP3....screen goes black, text scrolls up....giving the song's tag info,
>> the length of play, and the time played....and the music starts playing
>> out of my speakers. Some nice Blues music. I spawn another screen, and
>> open lynx...hideous, so I urpmi links, much better browser....and I
>> start browsing the web...while my music is playing. Occasionally I flip
>> back to the mp3 screen to see how much time is left, and then head back
>> to browsing. No problem, a couple of keystrokes, and the instructions
>> are all there anyway. Music stops playing....so back I head, to find
>> midnight commander is back, so I navigate to my video directory and
>> select one....and mplayer starts right up playing the video right on the
>> screen. So I head to the subdirectory I keep certain documents in, and
>> pull one up for a little technical reading. No need for a GUI for
>> multimedia or basic web research, or for simple file reading...and can
>> do them at the same time, from one login session. Next....head to twm
>> and start up pan and Firefox, check on some forums and usenet...and post
>> this. I could easily do both of those in console too....but prefer the
>> GUI. Oh, and I flip back and start up another song (Two Tickets to
>> Paradise), just for the hell of it.
>> Complicated? No, not really. Damn simple. The unix world had "user
>> friendly" figured out before GUIs got into common use. Hell, if anything
>> I'm doing a lot of things faster. And I'm *used* to the GUI. I'll be
>> here for a while, trying out new old things, just as an experiment.
> The bare command line is good for particular things, though scripting what
> you do in a command-line session is often the better way. GUI's are an
> abstraction layer to a command line (or equivalent). Choosing to work
> exclusively from the command line is often analogous to programming in
> assembly code, only far less radical.
> The command line is particularly useful for features that would have
> cluttered or complicated a GUI too much, repeatability and scriptability
> included. Packages like Photoshop attempt to bridge that gap, it's worth
> mentioning...
> Another thing about the command line is conciseness and compactness. No
> GUI can ever replace that.

Yes, the command line has a lot of advantages, and the GUI has advantages
as well. I'm not disputing that. I'm just trying to show that the command
line isn't really *hard* as has been claimed in general. 

>> The important thing to remember is that the console can be as easy to
>> use and as capable as the GUI, you can do pretty much everything in it.
>> Which means that old "junk" hardware that isn't even capable of
>> *running* X11 and modern windowmanagers, or don't run them well at all,
>> can run very well indeed and be quite capable machines even now. Maybe
>> some use can be put to pratically antique hardware eh folks?
> It's rarely worth the electricity consumption though.

Better to put something to use if it can be made useful (or made into
something useful), than to just toss it.

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