Old 19th July 2006, 02:59   #41
spiderbaby1958
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Quote:
Originally posted by swingdjted
I just don't like the tinkering needed for Linux. I like just getting something (software or hardware), tossing it in my computer, and after a couple seconds of installation I can do what I wanted to.

When I buy software/hardware, among other things, I look at system requirements:

RAM: blah blah MB or GB
Processor: yadda yadda MHz or GHz
Operating System: Mac blah blah, Windows yadda yadda,

Linux? er, um, maybe? Perhaps if I have the right geek to pay to make adjustments it'll work after some time and work?

If Linux becomes able to use in such a way that you can just get your stuff, click install, then start using, I'll be impressed enough to look into it.
With Debian, what you do is type:

apt-get install <package name>,

and any one of fifteen thousand software packages are auomatically downloaded and installed in one step, along with any dependancies. It's not going to get any easier than that.

Of course, there's more to it than that. There is tinkering involved, but that comes with power and flexibility. It's definitely a bitch to learn Linux, just as it's a bitch to learn a foreign language or a musical instrument. Once you learn it, it can take you to amazing places, but that's true for a lot of things, and there's no time to learn them all. No one can tell you whether it's worth your effort. However, I don't think it's quite the way you think it is. Linux is solid and reliable software, unless you go for one of the the more unstable development systems like Debian SID, and there's a vast amount of information available about hardware requirements, etc.

I prefer using a text editor to a word processor most of the time, which is why I mentioned emacs. Of course I know the difference, but I can see where I gave the impression that I don't.
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Old 19th July 2006, 03:19   #42
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Here's the thing about Linux:

The future of usable computers (until they can read our minds) is all-inclusive GUIs. If I have to type something in at a command prompt, it means I have to memorize the things I want to type there. That's why bookmarking sites is so useful; nobody really wants to type in the URL every time or google th page. Yes, I know autocomplete for fields exists, but it still stands: not having a GUI for EVERYTHING is a major turn-off to a common user of computers. (Of course, that excludes pretty much everyone on this forum; my point is, computers weren't popular before GUIs with good reason.)

I mean, seriously, there's no way you can tell me that it wouldn't be possible to GUI everything in Linux. And when that happens, you gain me as at least a part-time user.
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Old 19th July 2006, 03:29   #43
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Why would you want to gui everything? I'm not sure about you, but I wouldn't want to try and automate system administration tasks using a gui. It is simply easier to get a lot of things done via the command line. I don't see this changing in the near future.

I realize, Phyltre that you mean the average Joe. Linux is not hard to use. Ubuntu is trivial. In debian you hardly ever even need to apt-get install anything as it installs everything but the kitchen sink for you, and I can guarantee that somoeone out there has made a program called kitchen sink.

At the risk of starting a holy war, I'll add the following to a thread that I may later regret becoming involved in:

vi > emacs

There I said it. Nobody eat me.

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Old 19th July 2006, 04:36   #44
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You're safe; I don't have the mashed potatoes to go with, so I'll pass for now.

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Old 19th July 2006, 13:48   #45
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Quote:
Originally posted by k_rock923
vi > emacs

There I said it. Nobody eat me.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say:

vi != emacs

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Old 19th July 2006, 15:28   #46
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all text editers suck.

You lose.

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Old 19th July 2006, 15:44   #47
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Quote:
Originally posted by xzxzzx
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say:

vi != emacs
Yes, you are right, xzxzzx. Vi aand emacs were not designed to serve the same function. That being said, I do use vi whether I am writing a program or not. I am just more comfortable with it and I really like using modes for some reason.

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Old 19th July 2006, 16:35   #48
spiderbaby1958
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Quote:
Originally posted by Phyltre
Here's the thing about Linux:

The future of usable computers (until they can read our minds) is all-inclusive GUIs. If I have to type something in at a command prompt, it means I have to memorize the things I want to type there. That's why bookmarking sites is so useful; nobody really wants to type in the URL every time or google th page. Yes, I know autocomplete for fields exists, but it still stands: not having a GUI for EVERYTHING is a major turn-off to a common user of computers. (Of course, that excludes pretty much everyone on this forum; my point is, computers weren't popular before GUIs with good reason.)

I mean, seriously, there's no way you can tell me that it wouldn't be possible to GUI everything in Linux. And when that happens, you gain me as at least a part-time user.
These days, there's really not a hell of a lot anymore that can't be done in Linux with a gui, especially with a distro like SUSE, which ties just about all administrative functions to an application called YAST (Yet Another Setup Tool) which can be run both as a gui or at the command-line. You almost always have a choice of whether to use the command line or the gui, depending on your knowledge, taste, available resources, or even your mood. In fact, you have a choice of gui's (Gnome vs. KDE vs. Fluxbox vs. E17, etc.) and a choice of command lines (BASH vs. SH vs. ZSH), (Xterm vs. Konsole, vs. the plain Console).

Use of the command line is generally optional, yet having the command line as an option is vastly empowering. For one thing, with no real knowledge of programming you can combine several commands into a text file and create a script that can not only automate a long and complicated series of commands, it can be saved and reused. It can be redited and and adapted. On Christmas Day, I wrote a script for using a text-to-speech program to turn a hundred text files into a hundred mp3s for study purposes. I used to do that one by one with a Windows gui program called "ReadPlease". ReadPlease is a good program, but the script that I wrote on Christmas Day has saved me about 12 hours of pointing, clicking, and watching the little bar fill up.

It was a crude script-- just a list of numbered commands, seperated by spaces and semicolons. That's all you need to write a script that works, but someone who really knows shell scripting has shown me that all of my lines of commands can be replaced with a few lines. The more you know, the easier it gets.

The command line excels at streamlining the dullest, most repetetive of computer tasks, the copying, moving, and sorting of files.

If I want to create a sequence of 26 alphabetical directories, I type:

mkdir a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

How much typing and clicking do you think it would take to create 26 directories with a Windows gui?

If I have a big directory of mp3's, and I want to sort out all the Rolling Stones files into a seprerate directory, I type:

mkdir rolling_stones ; mv *[Rr]olling*[Ss]tones*mp3 rolling_stones

and it's done. The directory is created, and all mp3 files containing the words "rolling stones" are immediately transported into that file, no matter where the words appear in the name of the file, at the the beginning or at the end, capitalized or lower case, with or without "The" at the beginning. That's power. Once you know how to use it, having the command line as an option is a conveniece and an empowerment, pure and simple.

Last edited by spiderbaby1958; 19th July 2006 at 17:57.
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Old 19th July 2006, 20:48   #49
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I'm not finsihed yet!

I love the command line advantage with documentation and tutorials. Windows tutorials are like scavanger hunts, all about telling you where to find the right button.

In GNU/Linux tutorials, you're often supplied with a line command. Sometimes, it's a complex and arcane line command. But you don't have to memorize it, understand it or even type it... you just have to copy it into the terminal window!

Most terminals on the GNU/Linux desktop allow you to copy text into the terminal, and there's even a program called gpm that allows you to copy text into the plain console (with no desktop running).

If I told you the names of some of the most commonly used commands, I bet you could figure out what at least some of them do: cp, mkdir, ls, mv, unzip, reboot. You pick up the common ones very quickly. The rest you can keep (as I do) in a text file for easy reference, or create a script or alias, or even a custom-made launcher for your desktop.
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Old 19th July 2006, 23:28   #50
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Quote:
Originally posted by spiderbaby1958

Use of the command line is generally optional, yet having the command line as an option is vastly empowering. For one thing, with no real knowledge of programming you can combine several commands into a text file and create a script that can not only automate a long and complicated series of commands, it can be saved and reused. It can be redited and and adapted.

The command line excels at streamlining the dullest, most repetetive of computer tasks, the copying, moving, and sorting of files.

If I want to create a sequence of 26 alphabetical directories, I type:

mkdir a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

How much typing and clicking do you think it would take to create 26 directories with a Windows gui?

If I have a big directory of mp3's, and I want to sort out all the Rolling Stones files into a seprerate directory, I type:

mkdir rolling_stones ; mv *[Rr]olling*[Ss]tones*mp3 rolling_stones

and it's done. The directory is created, and all mp3 files containing the words "rolling stones" are immediately transported into that file, no matter where the words appear in the name of the file, at the the beginning or at the end, capitalized or lower case, with or without "The" at the beginning. That's power. Once you know how to use it, having the command line as an option is a conveniece and an empowerment, pure and simple.
My question is, why don't they adapt the same architecture into a GUI? Anything that can be done in a command CAN become a GUI. It would look more complicated than a command line initially, but you'd have all the options sitting in front of you (or treed into separate categories) which would make it much more accessible once you got past seeing it all onscreen. And many GUIs give different modes, simple/moderate/advanced, for different kinds of users.

I know that I sound obsessed with GUIs, and that to you it sounds like I'm insisting on them arbitrarily. The average Linux user is more comfortable with a command line than with a GUI, which is great--and it's (at least part of) what keeps Linux from being accessible to people who aren't computer-centric.

There is great power in a command line, obviously. But the real test of Linux, or any OS (in regards to growing its userbase) is moving to a GUI without sacrificing power. I don't claim to have all the solutions for that, but either people must want to learn computers intensively (unlikely) or they have to be able to learn intuitively by trial and error (which is hard via a command line.)
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Old 20th July 2006, 01:50   #51
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How did this thread turn into an argument about linux?

Oh, yeah, because all computer topics eventually turn into arguments about Linux.

Linux, the Hitler of the computer world.

End of Topic.


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Old 20th July 2006, 01:52   #52
spiderbaby1958
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Quote:
Originally posted by Phyltre
My question is, why don't they adapt the same architecture into a GUI? Anything that can be done in a command CAN become a GUI. It would look more complicated than a command line initially, but you'd have all the options sitting in front of you (or treed into separate categories) which would make it much more accessible once you got past seeing it all onscreen. And many GUIs give different modes, simple/moderate/advanced, for different kinds of users.

I know that I sound obsessed with GUIs, and that to you it sounds like I'm insisting on them arbitrarily. The average Linux user is more comfortable with a command line than with a GUI, which is great--and it's (at least part of) what keeps Linux from being accessible to people who aren't computer-centric.

There is great power in a command line, obviously. But the real test of Linux, or any OS (in regards to growing its userbase) is moving to a GUI without sacrificing power. I don't claim to have all the solutions for that, but either people must want to learn computers intensively (unlikely) or they have to be able to learn intuitively by trial and error (which is hard via a command line.)
Wow, this discussion is finally getting interesting!

The Linux GUI isn't as powerful as the command line, but neither is the Windows GUI. I submit that in the vast majority of cases it's as powerful as the Windows GUI, In fact, Linux features multple workspaces, a feature which makes the Linux Desktop GUI much easier to organize than the Windows. With Windows, of course, you can open as many windows as your RAM can handle, but with Gnome or KDE or most other desktops you can PUT THEM WHERE YOU WANT THEM IN RELATION TO EACH OTHER. You get used to that, and the Windows desktop starts to feel like random chaos.

The Linux gui(s) continue to develop, fast. When I first started with Linux, the preferred GUI application for burning CDs was called CDToaster, which I never could figure out. Later came XCDRoast, which I could eventually figure out. For the last couple of years it's been K3B, which I think is considerably simpler to use than the last version of Nero that I tried: drag, drop, and click. From my first exposure to CD Toaster to the arrival of K3B took about two years.

I would also submit that a majority of Linux users are more comfortable wtih the command line because when you know it, the command line is damned comfortable. It's not necessarily because Linux users are "different". I came to Linux from a very limited Windows background, and I didn't use the command line except when absolutely necessary for about two years. I finally started to use it to organize my porn collection. I felt guilty about the time I was spending on this moronic pursuit, and I thought that if I learned how to use the command line to move around my files, I would at least be bettering myself a little. And that's when the light went on, and I really started to use Linux for the love of Linux, and not just because I hated Microsoft.

However, for me, it's not really about the command line, it's about the command line option, the ability to choose, moment by moment, which method I prefer. I still use the gui about half the time. There are times when I just don't have the focus to work with a list of files, it just seems too abstract. I want icons, and a graphic representation. I really like Konqueror, which functions as a web browser AND a file browser. I could tell you why I think Konqueror is better than Windows Explorer, but I haven't used Windows Explorer in a couple of years, so comparisons may be spurious. I'll just say that Konqueror is a damn good file manager.

Maybe a gui that rivals the cli for power and agility can be created, but I can't get my mind around it. Konqueror comes as close I can imagine. It has a browser window, where you can type in the address of the file you're looking for, with field completion, and
a list of possible completions. (After I've posted this, I may take some screen shots to post later) Best of all, the browser window retains the address for later use, creating (as far as I know) a real rarity, a GUI shortcut.

You do seem kind of obsessed with the GUI, but at the risk of sounding a little gay, I consider your obsession to be a beautiful thing. I'm sure there are people in the Linux community who thinks GUIs are for losers and poo-poo heads, but I'm sure not one of them. If I'm a geek these days, it's by education, not by DNA, and I wasn't a fast learner. I don't think I'd be using Linux today if I couldn't have approached it by the GUI. The GUI is vitally important.

If you have some ideas about how to design the gui that rivals the cli for power and flexibility (the Philospher's Stone of Software?) or if it's just something that you're interested in, I think that you really ought to be on our team. If it can be done, I guarantee you that there are people in the Linux community working on it, and there are all kinds of opportunities here to act on your obsession that you're not going to find anywhere else, if only by testing new software for bugs.

Last edited by spiderbaby1958; 20th July 2006 at 02:20.
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Old 20th July 2006, 02:52   #53
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With operating systems as they are today, you cannot match command line power with a gui. Maybe one day but I really don't think so. Again, I go to the exhibit of automation. You lose command line, you lose serious automation tools.

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Old 20th July 2006, 05:47   #54
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YAST

Quote:
Originally posted by Phyltre
My question is, why don't they adapt the same architecture into a GUI? Anything that can be done in a command CAN become a GUI. It would look more complicated than a command line initially, but you'd have all the options sitting in front of you (or treed into separate categories) which would make it much more accessible once you got past seeing it all onscreen. And many GUIs give different modes, simple/moderate/advanced, for different kinds of users.
What you're describing here kind of reminds me of SUSE's YAST. Yast is an awesome tool. Essentially, it's THE BIG GUI for system administration, actually a sprawling collection of GUIs within GUIs. It's complicated, at first, but it's comprehensive, and once you get a sense of it, it goes a long way toward making system administration comprehensible. YAST is the answer to almost every administration task I've ever encountered in SUSE, including package management, hardware detection, upgrades, and setting up for the internet.

YAST serves as a pretty good illustration of what the GUI is good for, and what it's not as good for. It puts a beginner to intermediate user in charge of all administrative functions, but OH MY GOODNESS, it's slow, even on my 3.0 ghz Pentium 4 machine. That doesn't matter much, because it's purely an administrative tool to be run by the superuser (root) for administrative tasks. It's not something you need to use all the time, and it's still faster and easier than finding the answer in the manual.

Wikipedia article on YAST
Lots of YAST Screenshots

Here's what YAST looks like when you run it in a terminal window.


ERRATA:
Quote:
Best of all, the browser window retains the address for later use, creating (as far as I know) a real rarity, a GUI shortcut.
This was an unfortunate choice of words. I forgot that in Windows, a desktop launcher is often called a "shortcut." It's 3 in the morning, too late for clarifying. Just forget I said it, please.

Last edited by spiderbaby1958; 20th July 2006 at 06:59.
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Old 20th July 2006, 11:12   #55
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Spiderbaby, I'd still like to know how all of these magical GUI tools are going to help me when I need to do the same complex thing 3000 times.

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Old 20th July 2006, 14:22   #56
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Originally posted by k_rock923
Spiderbaby, I'd still like to know how all of these magical GUI tools are going to help me when I need to do the same complex thing 3000 times.
The answer to that is "not much". Like I said, YAST is about Administartion and "setup". If you're going to need to do the same administration function 3000 times, SUSE probably isn't for you, but neither is Windows.

I'll say it again: I can't imagine how any GUI can ever touch the power of the CLI. It seems to me that the limitations are instrinsic. Alphanumeric characters on a keyboard are always going to be more powerful and agile than the gui, for the same reason why you can say more with 26 Latin letters than you can say with 26 Chinese characters. With 26 Chinese characters, you can say 26 things, and maybe even combine them to say a couple hundred, but with 26 letters you can say anything. No amount of technology or design innovation is ever going to change that.

However, I'm going to stop short of saying that it can't be done. I'm just going to say that I can't comprehend it. After all, I wasn't able to comprehend the advantages of the CLI until I actually started using it.

When Phyltre expresses the desire for a GUI that is as powerful as the command line, I think that maybe he (she?) is asking for something much simpler and more reasonable than I thought at first. Maybe (s)he just wants universal access through the GUI. I'd argue that we've got something like that now. A couple of dozen posts ago, I mentioned apt-get for Debian. I could have mentioned synaptic, the gui frontend for apt-get, but apt-get is easier. You can indeed create a GUI that will do anything that the Command Line can do BUT you will probably have to click and click and click and click to get anything done.

The best of all possible worlds, it seems to me, is for the user to always have the choice of click click clicking through as many menus and screens as it takes to get something done, thereby saving himself or herself the drudgery of reading the manpage OR learning the commands and options and arguments and sparing himself or herself the drudgery (and possible carpal tunnel) of all that click click clicking, now and forever. I don't think there's any question which operating system comes closest to that ideal. It's not Windows.

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Old 20th July 2006, 16:17   #57
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Well, here's a pseudo-example of what I mean. The plugin for winamp, ActiveWinamp, lives in a GUI environment but it runs on command-line principles (you basically make your own functions up with a programming language.) Now this draws a distinction between Windows and Linux; in Windows, you need lots of applications to get complicated things done with minimal input, because you need a GUI to do them. In Linux, you basically use the command line to write your own impromptu bit of programming, so you don't need as many applications.

Looking at it hierarchically, this is just two different ways of making binary become something beneficial to the user. Both use programming languages, but they introduce the user at slightly different stages in the process. In the short term, it would help to make/emulate a graphical programming language, similar to the sandbox idea in video games: create entities within an environment, introduce a physics system to determine interactive behavior, and give the player power to organize situations within this structure. Like Spore for applications.

In the long term, though, I think computers need a higher IQ. Not really MUCH higher, to be honest, but if they had any predictive power whatsoever it could make things much easier. For instance, if you spend five minutes renaming mp3s from tag data (a simple example, I doubt anyone still does this given all the programs that automate it) the computer would distill your actions into a simple process, and ask you if you'd like to apply it to the rest of the folder/directory. And it would remember this, adding it to a list of custom tools. It all comes down to the computer actually being aware of what you're doing (don't read that to include any sort of realy awareness. I mean that it would monitor what you're doing and look for patterns--something computers seem fairly adept at.)

There really are lots of ways to make OSes more powerful while moving away from text-entry. It's just that it's easy to get lost in a paradigm and think inside an arbitrarily determined box.
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Old 20th July 2006, 17:24   #58
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I like what you say about the OS's need for prediction that could help the user save time. Some (I don't remember exact examples) basic computer operations do this already - although they sometimes act without confirmation from you. On some versions of windows, you can actually teach the computer bad habbits, where it assumes something based on what you've done before - and this can get annoying, mostly because it didn't get your permission before changing the default.

If it got your permission first to make assumptions and then act to save you time, that would be great.

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Old 20th July 2006, 18:09   #59
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But if you know that you'll be doing it more than once, why not just write a shell script in the first place and have it be written the 'right' way and not the way that the OS decides to write it?

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Old 20th July 2006, 18:41   #60
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Quote:
Originally posted by Phyltre

In the long term, though, I think computers need a higher IQ. Not really MUCH higher, to be honest, but if they had any predictive power whatsoever it could make things much easier. For instance, if you spend five minutes renaming mp3s from tag data (a simple example, I doubt anyone still does this given all the programs that automate it) the computer would distill your actions into a simple process, and ask you if you'd like to apply it to the rest of the folder/directory. And it would remember this, adding it to a list of custom tools. It all comes down to the computer actually being aware of what you're doing (don't read that to include any sort of realy awareness. I mean that it would monitor what you're doing and look for patterns--something computers seem fairly adept at.)

There really are lots of ways to make OSes more powerful while moving away from text-entry. It's just that it's easy to get lost in a paradigm and think inside an arbitrarily determined box.
Wow, that sounds pretty horrible... bloated and annoying, but that doesn't mean that it isn't visionary. Future hardware and software may make the "predictive" gui work a lot better than it sounds, but right now in 2006, it sounds about as convenient as eating cornflakes with an electric spoon.

I'm not a developer. I consider myself an artist and educator in training, and the only "paradigm" that concerns me is reality. I don't really take offense, but I bristle just a little bit at the idea of "moving away from text entry" instead of providing intelligent and powerful alternatives. If it really matters that much to you, I support you in your quest to never have to read a manpage, but until your GUI-in-the-sky becomes a reality, the command line is the most powerful interface there is, and that's just a fact. It sounds a little like you want to take it away from me. Out of my cold dead hand, motherfucker!

Having gotten that off my chest, let me reiterate my conviction that the GUI is vitally important because ordinary people should be able to use computers without having to read computer manuals, and because there are certain functions (image editing, for example,) that lend themselves to the GUI. It's also where GNU/Linux development is and ought to be focused these days, because the command line has been around at least since the beginning of Unix 40 years ago, and there are probably limits to what more can be done with it.

Seriously, if you're as intelligent and as interested in developing the GUI as you seem, perhaps you ought to consider joining our little free-software cult. Your ideas don't interest me personally, but that doesn't mean that they aren't important, and that you can't find similar people with an interest in making them become more real. Contrary to popular belief, embracing GNU/Linux doesn't ruin your chances of having a career, although I ought to warn you that it will probably fuck up your chances of becoming a software billionaire. However, we were already going to fuck those up anyway-- sorry!
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Old 20th July 2006, 18:53   #61
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Quote:
Originally posted by k_rock923
But if you know that you'll be doing it more than once, why not just write a shell script in the first place and have it be written the 'right' way and not the way that the OS decides to write it?
The average user has no idea what a shell script is. And doesn't care. And, given the choice between learning and not learning, would predictably chose not to learn.

That's the difference between Linux users and (casual) Windows users: Linux users make an effort to internalize complex information about computers. (casual) Windows users do not.

As a computer person, you think about things from a very, vey different perspective than a casual computer user. To them, no GUI means the functionality is dead to them. It is too much to ask to expect them to research text entry control--it's foreign to them. Computers do not yet translate written english into programming. Why try to learn something you'll probably never understand/have use for anyway?

On the other hand, when presented with something they already marginally understand--a GUI--they are more likely to make an effort to learn. They will be able to SEE rather than visualize. It's harder to forget a command when it's always on the screen in front of you, and if the GUI is intuitive at all, it follows a logical procession that removes from possibility errors like spelling, spacing, capitalization, command order, etc. k_rock923, I'm not suggesting a system you would like, and I'm not suggesting that command lines should be abandoned. What I'm saying is, you have to make it easier for computer users to gain higher threshholds of power, and gradualize that process, if you want more people to be more involved in computers.
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Old 20th July 2006, 20:39   #62
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Now me, I did not come to Linux as a "computer person". In fact, every other member of my immediate family, including my my 65 year old mother, got a Windows computer and got it online before I did. I was 39 when I learned what a hard drive is. I agree with Phyltre's assesment of the importance of the GUI, as I've said three times now, but I also think he's making a little too much of the problem. (Phyltre is a Forum King, so from this point I'm going to presume masculinity.)

I think you should be able to run GNU/Linux from the GUI, period. Everyday people should be able to pick it up and use it for everyday functions. With corporate distros like Red Hat and SUSE, I think that we're essentially at that point now, not so much with geek distros like Slackware and Gentoo-- which is fine, cause that's not what they're for.

I say this again and again, but for the ordinary user, the difference between approaching SUSE or Red Hat and approaching Windows is more cultural than technical. I learned how to use Windows largely from asking questions to the people I knew who used Windows, i.e., just about everybody, at my job, and in my family. If I was surrounded by people who ran SUSE instead of people who ran Windows, (and if I SUSE had come pre-installed on my computer) starting out with Linux would have been just as simple and natural, end of story.

I think that as long as people can make an easy start with it, they'll pick up the rest if and when they need to. I was using Linux for almost two years when I finally started using the Command Line.

Better GUIs can help, but there are also big gaping opportunities for better education. I gotta run, or I'd probably go on and on about this as well.
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Old 20th July 2006, 20:40   #63
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Quote:
Originally posted by k_rock923

vi > emacs

There I said it. Nobody eat me. [/B]
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Old 20th July 2006, 22:01   #64
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Why? I ask as someone who has never used vi, so I'm not about to argue. If you can give me a pat answer, that would be helpful.
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Old 21st July 2006, 04:00   #65
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I like vi. Emacs is clumsy.

Most of the linux distributions don't require rocket science to set up. Once set up, they are just a GUI OS like anything else. Gnome is a good desktop.

I like Fedora Core, but that's mostly because it has goog builds of some of the apps I use. Setting up Fedora Core is easy. Boot the boot DVD and follow the directions.

About the only thing that can get you tangled up as a new linux user is wiping out your windows partition when you do the install. Of course you might have the same problems if you didn't understand how drive partitions work installing windows on a native linux box.

That's why I recommend new linux users to use an old computer that you won't care. Old machines make good linux boxes. While I don't really like XP on a 1 ghz box, linux is good.

If you want to try Fedora, get the DVD iso and burn it. Then boot it, install it and find Stanton Finleys Fedora release notes. Follow the directions and you will have a working linux box in less time than it takes to install XP.

I really don't think they'res any reason to run windows at all, unless there is an app that you need.

I don't think computer noobs have any more trouble using a configured linux box. I mean it's just an operating system......

And the amount of really cool software that's free is a big incentive to use linux in my book.
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Old 21st July 2006, 04:23   #66
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Personally I defend the 'keep making the GUI better' side for a reason someone mentioned before - you don't have to ask that many questions, you can just get it and mess with it and learn.

For the command line, you have to have an idea what you really want. With GUI, sometimes you get options you didn't even know would be good until seeing them and trying them, therefore 'discovering' something better than you even intended while using the program.

I speak as an 'average' user. I use computers at work and home to do tasks where I need to think about the task itself, not how to tell the computer to do it. If I'm handling confidential student records, I want to think about the students, not the computer. If I'm at home recording/editing music on AcidPro or messing with winamp, I want it to click play and hear music. I also sometimes want it to look attractive and simple, to keep the mind on the music, not the computer.

My loose analogy would be the tools I buy. The tools should be easy enough to use to the point where I can pick them up and focus on the project (building a piece of furniture for example) instead of having to do a lot of learning about the tool itself just so I can tell the tool what to do. I don't want to build the tool; I want to build the piece of furniture.

A computer for the average user is a tool. Something that they need relatively minimal training on so that they can focus on what it can do for them. I save the command line for those who produce the GUI/utilities that I can use without much instruction.

Now, if I were more interested in the process of learning about computers and how to make them do new things, I would be 100% on the other side of the fence. For those who are there, I thank you because you are the people that find new things that can be implemented into GUI's.

Don't forget to live before you die.
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Old 21st July 2006, 06:23   #67
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Quote:
Originally posted by swingdjted


A computer for the average user is a tool.
Yes, but...

The command line is a better tool. I don't care if you don't want to learn how to use it, but what I don't think you're getting is the reason why I learned it and use it (about half the time) is not because using it makes me a smart guy who knows all about computers, it's because I know full well that if I live another twenty years, using the CLI is going to save me hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours of dull repetative drudgery.

Like I said, I was 39 when I learned what a hard drive is. For me, just like for you, a computer is a tool, but as counterintuitive as it may seem, this is the power tool. It's not about being a geek; it's about efficacy.
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Old 21st July 2006, 15:26   #68
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I'm not a developer, and I'm not a programmer. For me, the CLI is about cutting through the grunt work, the dullest most repetative tasks of computing.

Quote:

If I want to create a sequence of 26 alphabetical directories, I type:

mkdir a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z


Okay, so do me a favor and really think about this. Imagine all the steps that you would take with the gui to create 26 directories, labelled a through z.

Quote:
If I have a big directory of mp3's, and I want to sort out all the Rolling Stones files into a seprerate directory, I type:

mkdir rolling_stones ; mv *[Rr]olling*[Ss]tones*mp3 rolling_stones



Again, try to imagine sorting through a thousand mp3s to find two or three dozen Rolling Stones files. Some have the title first, some have the name of the band first.

Furthermore, when you learn the command line, you don't have to renounce the gui forever. I use the command line when it's easier to use the command line, usually when I'm doing something that involves precessing a lot of file files at once. When I'm working with one file, I usually use the GUI. The choice is always mine.

I'm not trying to convince you to learn the CLI; I'm just trying to cut through your annoying position that ignorance is a good thing, because you "don't have to think about the computer as much". Believe me, that's not true a all.

I don't have the time or inclination to learn French, but I don't need to rationalize to myself that I'm happier not knowing French. Ignorance, in and of itself, is rarely a good thing.

Last edited by spiderbaby1958; 21st July 2006 at 15:59.
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Old 21st July 2006, 22:36   #69
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Quote:
Originally posted by rockouthippie
I like vi. Emacs is clumsy.
I personally prefer nano/pico for a command-line text editor. For anything genuinely complex I find that GUI tools work a lot better. For a text editor my preference is jEdit, and for programming I typically use an IDE whereever one is available. I do have a printout of a "Vi Cheat Sheet" on my desk at work, though, since sometimes it's unavoidable.

Quote:
Originally posted by spiderbaby1958
Okay, so do me a favor and really think about this. Imagine all the steps that you would take with the gui to create 26 directories, labelled a through z.
Most people will never have to manually create a folder for every letter of the alphabet anyway, though. The things that CLIs are useful for are genuinely needless for most computer users. That doesn't mean they're useless, it just means that they can often be useless.

Quote:
Originally posted by spiderbaby1958
I'm not trying to convince you to learn the CLI; I'm just trying to cut through your annoying position that ignorance is a good thing, because you "don't have to think about the computer as much". Believe me, that's not true a all.

I don't have the time or inclination to learn French, but I don't need to rationalize to myself that I'm happier not knowing French. Ignorance, in and of itself, is rarely a good thing.
Yes, but filling one's mind with information that one will never use is not really a worthwhile pursuit unless one enjoys doing so, though.

I think you're taking this argument a little personally. The argument is that for most purposes, generalised or specialised GUI tools are best. They require less learning, and they tend to work better. For tasks which require flexibility with working with files or text above all else, but which don't justify the use of a more full language, especially with interactive feedback, bash-like shells can be very useful. But they are typically directly useful for a specific subset of tasks, and most computer users won't have a use for that.

CLIs are very useful. Once you get used to them, it is extremely easy to overstate their usefulness, though, particularly when your computing use is well-suited to them.

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Old 21st July 2006, 22:42   #70
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I love the command line. You all know that. I will, at the same time, always have X installed on a machine I use as a workstation every day. It just isn't practical to use CLI all day no matter how cool it is. I almost always have a shell open in the X session, but it almost always is an x session.

That's on my workstation and honestly, it's mostly just for IM, web browsing and the like. I like lynx as much as the next guy, but you pretty much need to have a GUI for web browsing today. Lynx is great if you're on a machine and need to look up a command from the web.

So basically, if it's my workstation, it gets X. Otherwise, it doesn't.

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Old 22nd July 2006, 00:34   #71
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Originally posted by zootm

I think you're taking this argument a little personally. The argument is that for most purposes, generalised or specialised GUI tools are best. They require less learning, and they tend to work better. For tasks which require flexibility with working with files or text above all else, but which don't justify the use of a more full language, especially with interactive feedback, bash-like shells can be very useful. But they are typically directly useful for a specific subset of tasks, and most computer users won't have a use for that.

CLIs are very useful. Once you get used to them, it is extremely easy to overstate their usefulness, though, particularly when your computing use is well-suited to them.
I'm not taking it "personally", that would be silly. "I'm talking it seriously, and why not? Are computers so trivial that they're not worth being passionate about?

And you, my friend, do not appear to be reading for comprehension. I think I've made it clear again and again that I don't advocate use of the command line over the gui. I'm advocating the ability to choose, on a task to task basis, which interface to use.

And I've made it clear again and again, that I'm not trying to convert anyone. What I'm trying to do is to convey a sense of the benefits, that's all. Getting that accross to someone who doesn't use the command line is going to take a certain amount of energy and passion.

Quote:
Most people will never have to manually create a folder for every letter of the alphabet anyway, though. The things that CLIs are useful for are genuinely needless for most computer users. That doesn't mean they're useless, it just means that they can often be useless.


I just can't buy that. For one thing, I'm pretty much your ordinary computer user, except for the fact that I use Linux and sometimes the command line. I'm not doing anything fancy. I surf, I listen to music and videos, I download porn, I have a blog that I don't update very much.

For me, the best use of the CLI is for basic file management: copying, sorting, organizing, moving files around. I used to spend a hell of a lot more time doing these things than I do now... and I hated it. Are you saying that most computer users will never have to move files around?

Quote:
Yes, but filling one's mind with information that one will never use is not really a worthwhile pursuit unless one enjoys doing so, though.


Stop it, you're killing me!

No one ever learned the command line by studying the commands they didn't use! You learn the CLI by using it. Therefore, obviously, what you learn is what you're going to use. You look up the command, and then you look up the syntax in the manpage. First it slows you down for a while, then it speeds you up forever.
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Old 22nd July 2006, 01:04   #72
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Quote:
Originally posted by spiderbaby1958
I'm not taking it "personally", that would be silly. "I'm talking it seriously, and why not? Are computers so trivial that they're not worth being passionate about?
And you, my friend, do not appear to be reading for comprehension. I think I've made it clear again and again that I don't advocate use of the command line over the gui. I'm advocating the ability to choose, on a task to task basis, which interface to use. [/b][/quote]
Sorry, I meant seriously. I'm still shaking off a 4-day drinking binge. Your rant about "ignorance" didn't seem relevant to me, though -- I don't think ignorance really fits here.

In general, though, I didn't intend to disagree with you, I intended to write my opinion. Which is why, as you've probably noted, I didn't disagree with you.

Quote:
Originally posted by spiderbaby1958
I just can't buy that. For one thing, I'm pretty much your ordinary computer user, except for the fact that I use Linux and sometimes the command line. I'm not doing anything fancy. I surf, I listen to music and videos, I download porn, I have a blog that I don't update very much.
That's very much the "semi-advanced user" pigeonhole, I'm afraid.

Quote:
Originally posted by spiderbaby1958
For me, the best use of the CLI is for basic file management: copying, sorting, organizing, moving files around. I used to spend a hell of a lot more time doing these things than I do now... and I hated it. Are you saying that most computer users will never have to move files around?
I'm saying that I work on computers nearly 40 hours a week and do far more complex file manipulations than most average users will do very often, and yet the amount of time that I use the command line is actually very small. Generally people just don't do that kind of manipulation. I don't think you realise how much of an advanced user you really are.

Quote:
Originally posted by spiderbaby1958
Stop it, you're killing me!

No one ever learned the command line by studying the commands they didn't use! You learn the CLI by using it. Therefore, obviously, what you learn is what you're going to use. You look up the command, and then you look up the syntax in the manpage. First it slows you down for a while, then it speeds you up forever.
Learning "man" is more than most people need to do, though. And learning how to interpret the various lingo contained within is too much for a lot of people.

I'm not saying that CLI is not useful. Of course it is. I just feel that its usefulness is overstated in its proponents much of the time.

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Old 22nd July 2006, 02:07   #73
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People overstate the value of the command Line when they insist that it's perfect for everything. It's not, and I think I've been very very clear about that.

Sure, I'm an advanced user, because I've learned how to use the command line! Before that, believe me, I wasn't. It's not that I have the "advanced user" gene, because, believe me, I don't.

Of course, I'm only talking about the Linux Command Line. From what little I've seen, the Windows Command Line is crap.

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Old 22nd July 2006, 03:28   #74
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The windows command line is no longer a true shell.

I don't feel like I have any need to contribute to this thread anymore. I use the command line to write perl and about a dozen other languages to manage routers, switches and stuff. I use the gui to surf porn sites and browse the web. Sadly, I use bsd mail more than I'd like to admit. Idk I think you guys know where I stand on this. Maybe I'll take the time to forumlate a decent argument, but I'm not sure exactly what my argument is at this point.

I use both interfaces on a regular basis. I'd be in deep trouble without either.


That's about the bes I can do until I finish this script and my head stops hurting.

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Old 22nd July 2006, 03:40   #75
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Well, good luck with that headache.


k_rock923, I can't think of a thing you've said in here that I didn't agree with, including "Enough!" I don't have another thing to say here. My attention span has been officially exhausted.
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Old 22nd July 2006, 04:37   #76
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You both lose by default! Hah!

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Old 22nd July 2006, 14:58   #77
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Necessity is the motherfucker of invention

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You both lose by default! Hah!

(victory dance)

You forced me to invent my own "smiley":

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Old 22nd July 2006, 23:06   #78
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Originally posted by spiderbaby1958
Sure, I'm an advanced user, because I've learned how to use the command line! Before that, believe me, I wasn't. It's not that I have the "advanced user" gene, because, believe me, I don't.
Did you really have any need for the advanced file manipulations you describe before then? I've got bash on my Windows machine and my Linux machines and I rarely, if ever, have to use it. Certainly not enough to justify learning it if I did not already. I use it at work because when administrating server applications or playing with large text files it's handy. But that's about it.

Quote:
Originally posted by spiderbaby1958
Of course, I'm only talking about the Linux Command Line. From what little I've seen, the Windows Command Line is crap.
It's more powerful than people think, but yes, it's not great. There's an extremely powerful Microsoft shell in development (it keeps changing name, used to be called Monad but could be Windows Powershell or some other marketing nonsense right now), for the -Server editions of Windows, which should make up the gap. But cmd.exe is pretty poor compared to bash, or even Bourne ("sh", the default shell, although overridden in most Linux distros).

Quote:
Originally posted by k_rock923
The windows command line is no longer a true shell.
I really don't understand what this means.

Quote:
Originally posted by k_rock923
I don't feel like I have any need to contribute to this thread anymore.
Neither do I, really. I'm just reacting because I've seen so many people in the past proclaim CLI to be far more useful and have more benefits than it is or does.

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Old 23rd July 2006, 07:08   #79
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I just meant that start->run->cmd doesn't take you to the actual shell the way command.com did in earlier versions of windows.

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Old 23rd July 2006, 08:46   #80
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"Actual shell" is a bit of a misnomer. cmd.exe only generally works in a graphical context but bear in mind that Windows doesn't usually have a non-graphical context and the difference becomes somewhat moot...

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