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Boaslad
October 17th, 2007, 05:15 AM
I know that this may sound confusing to some of you but please let me explain. Linux is to Ubuntu what DOS was to Windows.( I do realize that for some of you I just swore... I apologize ) Linux is the kernel (or core) and Ubuntu is the program that runs over the top of it. You manipulate Ubuntu, and in return Ubuntu manipulates Linux. Or, if you prefer, you can manipulate Linux directly through the use of the terminal. With me so far?

I have noticed something odd. Even though Ubuntu is a very well written program with several very user friendly applications that allow easy and logical manipulation of the system's configuration, there is a trend within these forums and the documentation to constantly refer users to the use of the terminal, a devise which is, in nature, very NON-"user friendly." The advertisements and promotional materials for Ubuntu all tout it as being "Simple to use" and "User friendly". Of course, none of these claims are false. However, by constantly referring new users to the terminal rather than the well designed and implemented applications, their perception of Ubuntu's simplicity and user-friendliness may be tainted by the terminal's rigid and unforgiving nature. I do understand that most of the terminal based help is a simple matter of "copy and paste." However, it is still very daunting to a user who is used to Windows' "point and click" based interface. Given the choice between "copy and pasting" some cryptic looking string of code that you have no idea of what it is, what it does, or how it works, OR clicking on a few check boxes, most would choose the latter. Unfortunately, most new users aren't taught to use the tools that were so thoughtfully and carefully designed.

Don't misunderstand. I do know the importance of learning to operate Linux directly. I grew up with DOS. I understand the concept well. But, I just think it would serve the community better if we applied ourselves to teaching our new found friends how to use Ubuntu first. When they are settled and have a grip on how to use the OS from that stand point, THEN we can start educating them on how to use Linux directly.

There has been a lot of effort made into making Ubuntu the awesome distro that it is today. That hard work was done so that new users would not have to struggle to use the OS. And it is my opinion that all this effort is waisted if new-users aren't taught how to use it.

Depressed Man
October 17th, 2007, 05:19 AM
I agree with you..but at the same time using the terminal is sometimes faster then the GUI. So I guess the reason why the terminal is frequently used during help is it's the fastest way to get things done.

jr.gotti
October 17th, 2007, 05:20 AM
Whats easier to say to a new user?

Go to System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager, and search for "Program X"

In the ensuing list of possibly 100 results, find Program X, and click the box, and then click "Install Package"

Now click apply.

OR

Open a terminal, and copy this in.

sudo apt-get install program-x

One example, but you get my drift.

Secondly, I think it's much more important to teach them how to use "Linux" directly. By learning what goes on in the background, you know what your GUI programs are doing. By learning to use the GUI, you may have no idea whats going on in the background.

il-luzhin
October 17th, 2007, 05:22 AM
IMHO the terminal is easier, no doubt about it.

GUI's can take as much time to learn to navigate as it takes to look up a some scipting you can't quite remember.

Whiffle
October 17th, 2007, 05:24 AM
While I *strongly* disagree with your linux=dos and ubuntu=windows analogy, it doesn't really change what you are saying.

I think the biggest reason the CLI is still pushed and used in tutorials and such is because it is common to every ubuntu system. Its much easier to describe a series of steps of CLI commands than it is to describe a series of GUI commands. Add in the fact that people often change their interfaces to suit them and the GUI descriptions become even tougher.

While I would like to see more explanation behind the CLI commands given out, I don't think they are going anywhere, even with the user interface.

And to be honest, I never really got to know DOS and have been pretty much GUI clicking ever since. Nowadays, I love the terminal. Its my best friend. I think that knowing how to use the terminal is one of the greatest linux skills I've managed to pick up.

southernman
October 17th, 2007, 05:28 AM
Valid claims, but I ponder... What exactly is so hard about copy & paste in the terminal?

Unfortunately, not all apps have a nice gui to work with and/or fix problems. Hence it's a must to use a terminal when faced with the lack of a gui.

Being familar with DOS as you suggest... then surely you understand that using a terminal affords the end user the ability to quickly get things done.

Most people that lend a hand out there -----> tend to give precise instructions on how to find the terminal and include the exact code to enter (wrapped in quote tags), to the degree that it's definately not rocket science.

The fact is (and likely to remain this way for quite some time to come), the terminal is going to have to be used at some point. It is part of ubuntu and an invaluable one at that.

Once a new user has even the slightest experience with the terminal... most will adapt to if VERY quickly... a lot of those will even come to prefer it.

Boaslad
October 17th, 2007, 05:30 AM
You do have a point. However, You have to look at it from the perspective of the Windows educated user. The concept of "code" alone is scary. They come from the land of "point and click". Most of them don't know and DON'T CARE whats happening in the background so long as what they did works. The idea of typing commands is daunting to them. Not ALL of them. but a large enough percentage that it makes a difference.

southernman
October 17th, 2007, 05:33 AM
and btw... this thread will probably get tossed into the "recurring discussions" sub forum. It's been discussed to death... figuratively speaking. :p

-grubby
October 17th, 2007, 05:33 AM
your analogy is wrong. DOS is a complete OS. The Linux Kernel is not. Also, all the new versions of windows are NT-based

Boaslad
October 17th, 2007, 05:38 AM
Being familar with DOS as you suggest... then surely you understand that using a terminal affords the end user the ability to quickly get things done.
it.

My experience with DOS has also taught me just how easy and fast a wrong command can undo an operating system.

And please understand that I do understand that they will need it eventually. And I do understand that the terminal is a vital part of any Linux OS. i am in now way suggesting that we rid ourselves of it. I love to use the terminal. However, there are a lot of Microsoft Lobotomy victims out there, who don't like anything not addressed in Gui. LOL

Depressed Man
October 17th, 2007, 05:41 AM
I guess the two groups would need to come closer. The people who are giving help thru terminals would have to be familar with the GUI while the GUI people would have to become more use to the terminal.

Boaslad
October 17th, 2007, 05:50 AM
I guess the two groups would need to come closer. The people who are giving help thru terminals would have to be familar with the GUI while the GUI people would have to become more use to the terminal.

I agree. I have found that some of the things I have been told to do in terminal were actually easier via GUI (such as setting up new user accounts). And the opposite also applies (installing new programs). I have seen both sides of the coin to some degree. Both schools of thought have valid points.

Oh, BTW, I do know that my analogy about Linux and DOS is incorrect to a large extent, but it was the easiest way to get to my point. Please be forgiving.

troy1of2
October 17th, 2007, 06:03 AM
Whats easier to say to a new user?

Go to System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager, and search for "Program X"

In the ensuing list of possibly 100 results, find Program X, and click the box, and then click "Install Package"

Now click apply.

OR

Open a terminal, and copy this in.

sudo apt-get install program-x

One example, but you get my drift.

Secondly, I think it's much more important to teach them how to use "Linux" directly. By learning what goes on in the background, you know what your GUI programs are doing. By learning to use the GUI, you may have no idea whats going on in the background.


Very well said!

jpkotta
October 17th, 2007, 07:08 AM
I feel compelled to say something. Ubuntu is not a program. It is a distribution, a collection of programs. If you really wanted to, you could manually collect all of the software that Ubuntu is composed of from the respective publishers and put it together by hand. You could set up, say, a Gentoo machine to have all the software an Ubuntu machine has by default and configure it the same way. Whether it would still be Ubuntu (or sane for that matter) is a philosophical argument to be had somewhere else. Ubuntu is to Linux [distributions] as Windows XP is to the entire Windows franchise. Ubuntu's configuration GUIs are to commands and config files as Window's control panel is to the Registry *shudder*.

And to the main point of the OP, the people who are most familiar with Linux don't use the GUIs. CLI works when the X server is borked, it works when all you have is ssh, it works on an embedded system with no display, and it will usually work no matter what Unix you use. Finally, in a text-based medium like internet forums or IRC, which is optimal, a verbal description of a GUI or the commands for a CLI?

Circus-Killer
October 17th, 2007, 07:28 AM
this conversation has been done a thousand times.

first of all, linux is NOT to ubuntu what DOS is to windows. that is completely WRONG. like the linux kernel has nothing to do with the shell, so the windows kernel has nothing to do with DOS.

you are right in saying that the linux kernel is the core of the system, but ubuntu is not a program that runs on top of it. in fact, ubuntu isnt a program, its not even a thing. ubuntu is nothing more than a collection of other peoples work/programs packaged into a single system. i could myself start my own distro by simply taking the kernel along with other commonly used open source system software, throw it together and slap on a label. thats all that a distro is. nothing more.

next, the part of giving advice, and trust me this has been debated over and over again, with the same conclusion always being given. it is easier for both the advisor and the advisee to give/follow command line instructions. here are instructions to manually check for updates:


Click On System
Click On Administrator
Click On Update Manager
Wait for GUI to load.
When presented by the option, click 'check'
Once downloading of sources has been finished, click upgrade.


now for the terminal instructions:

open terminal and copy and paste the following lines:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade


not only is the latter easier to give to someone as advice, but it is also easier to follow. this is why most people choose to give command line instructions as appose to gui instructions.