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The Wonders of the Shell…

The Wonders of the Shell…

For those of you too young to know things weren’t all windows and clicks. There used to be a time when you used to control the computer using just the keyboard.

And a great time that was indeed… if you wanted to copy all the .jpg files from a folder you need only but type in a command and it would be done! Now? After you press about a million clicks, do a 2 million drags and watch 10 million internet cats you get to finish the task you set your mind to. Some say it’s easier this way, it makes more sense to the normal user to drag a picture symbolizing a file from one box to another in order to copy/move it and indeed it is easier, but what if you have 10.000 files scattered around a 100.000 file folder?

This is one example of many when the age-old console has proven itself to be better but the fact is, it’s not the only example. For you see, when a Windows user wants to find out what kind of hardware he or she has in his or her machine, he or she has to do the following:

Click Start > Right click My Computer > Click properties > Wait for the window to load > Click Device Manager > Click that you accept to grant administrative rights to that application > See what hardware you have.

While a Linux User just dose this

Type lspci > Press Enter > See what hardware you have.

You kind of see the difference in effort there, although I’m sure the Windows user is grateful for the extra muscle that he now has on his right arm.

Truth be told we can’t shun GUI’s from existence. I mean I’d love to see someone edit their 1080p home video from the console but it’s probably not going to happen. So GUI’s are not useless but they tend to be too much of an effort for the most part. For example, in Windows, or Mac, or even a GUI Linux like Ubuntu I wouldn’t even know how to sort a list of names that’s in a txt file. In the command line it’s just:

sort < unsorted_file.txt > result.txt

And this is not even scratching the surface, the CLI (Command Line Interface) can do so much more! It might even tell you you’re fat from time to time… I miss that old distro…

Anyway I digress, if your interest has been spiked and would like to give the CLI a chance, I’ve found two nice resources for you that should keep you busy for the next few weeks:

Learning the shell – a great tutorial for beginners written by  William E. Shotts, Jr.. Thanks Jr!

Advanced Bash Scripting – if you got some experience with the shell, but want to become a guru, use this to get into shell programming and advanced techniques.


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This entry was posted on August 6, 2011 by in link and tagged , , , , , , .
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