I was reading yet another Linux distribution review where a well meaning self elected computer usability expert blurted something along the lines of the trite “As long as there is need for a command prompt, it will remain relegated to the experts” and all that jazz…
Then it suddenly hit me: what would happen if they suddenly removed all trace of the command prompt from Linux (obviously giving gui substitutes)?
To any techies and other *nix users: stop hyperventilating it’s all ok it was just a gedanken experiment, please start breathing again. Now to anyone used to Macs and Microsoft Osses (just how does one spell that?) the idea of using one is just laughable (I still maintain you havn’t lived in geekland until you’ve run start run cmd and raught spectacular havoc on a windows PC). But to any sysadmin, used to managing multiple servers text based, or even an advanced/expert *nix workstation desktop user, being deprived of the command prompt is akin to being dragged kicking and screaming out of the drivers seat of sports car plonked in the passenger seat gagged, with your hands bound firmly behind your back and given only a driver speaking a foreign language and smiling dumbly at you to drive the car.
I have to admit that not diving head first into an epic cavalcade on the power, beauty and glory of what can be achieved in textland is an heroic display of restraint on my part. Don’t get me wrong I’m in no way a super dooper shell script whizzbang leet man, but I fend for myself pretty well in prompt land and occasionally write my own little scripts when I find I’m victim to some new tedious daily IT housekeeping routine. Now if I were stuck without it, I’d be using half a gazillion graphical tools simultaneously to get my normal routine done while they eat all my memory and slow me down forcing me to jump from one to the other like a rabbit in a polygamous mating frenzy on speed. Kind of like the physical sensation of having my upper arms tied to my body when working with only one desktop instead of many, only worse.
So ok, sure I would never expect my mother to jump into a command prompt and edit a configuration file with vim. But then I wouldn’t even expect her to set up her internet connection, mail client or whatever else in windows or on a Mac. All I would expect her to do is use the darn things once I (or whatever other paid expertise for those with no astrogeeks in the bloodline) have configured it for her.
What I’m trying so misguidedly to convey here is that the command line is no mideval torture instrument to be unleashed on new and unsuspecting users, but rather, it is a blessing in plain clothes for all those people who have to do real technical tasks or deal with setting up these machines for those who can’t. So instead of treating it like some kind of necessary evil it would be appreciated if all those wet behind the ears, unlicensed review wielders and self professed usability experts and possibly even the more seasoned folks that actually do know what they’re talking about would please loose the command prompt-present=only for supergeeks argumentation, it just doesn’t stand.
L’altro giorno leggevo un altro di quelle inutili recensioni su una qualche distro GNU/Linux dove se ne pontificavano i nuovi passi in avanti per quanto riguarda interfacce, installazione, usabilità … insomma le solite per poi finire ancora una volta sul ancor più trito cliché che recita più o meno nelle sue innumerevoli declinazioni :”Linux non è ancora pronto per mia nonna con il parkinson e la demenza senile perché richiede ancora l’uso della riga di comando per alcune operazioni.”
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