Friday, March 20, 2009

Command Line as Keyboard Shortcut

Command Line as Keyboard Shortcut

I scared the crap out of my regular readers a couple Linux Mondays by delving into Command Line Hell. In an article about why people don't just adopt our beloved free operating system--and the dreaded termininal prompt is one of the reasons--David Williams makes the point better than I can:
I consider the command line analogous to using keyboard shortcuts.

For instance, I can log in faster by typing my username, pressing tab, entering my password then pressing the enter key than someone who clicks into the login box, type their username, moves the mouse to the password box, clicks, types their password, then moves the mouse to the login box and clicks again.

I can create five directories faster by calling up a terminal window (even in Windows Vista, by pressing the Windows key + R, then typing cmd and pressing enter) and using the mkdir command five times, than someone who opens up their file system and has to click the File/New Folder menu five times, entering a directory name each turn.

Similarly, I can stop and restart services quicker, or search for specific words in a log file or many other activities far more swiftly if I do it on a command line than by using the graphical tools.

That’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s perfectly fine. In modern Linux distros there is no need for anyone to ever to use a terminal window if they don’t wish to. It’s a myth you must type in commands.

It's a great analogy. I'm still amazed to see people who've been in Windows for years going Menu, Edit, Cut, menu, Edit, Paste rather than ctrl-c, ctrl-v. But to each their own, and that's the good thing about multiple routes to the same destination. You can take the shortcut or the scenic route.

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