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Thread: Command-line vs. graphical user interface

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  1. #1
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    Command-line vs. graphical user interface

    Hi tech people!
    Many, many years ago I had many an altercation on early Linux BBS with "real" users who were against making the use of Linux easy. The problem is still here today, I see.

    There has been so much brilliant work by so many people on this ONLY ALTERNATIVE that it is a shame to see that support is still very much "black screen" O S level.

    Especially coupled with how easy it is to total a Linux system from the cmd line, it would be a great idea to focus more on simple-as-possible = graphics help.

    In my case, I have only ever in 10 years got two installs of Linux to work:
    Suse 9.2 and when I upgraded to Suse 10 - it totalled the system.
    Ubuntu 7.04 on one out of three systems - a 4 y.o. Sony portable.

    By "work" I mean including sound, decent graphics, Internet. Surprisingly, it is usually internet connections that fail me - and this is the primary purpose of my using it!

    So, my question really is: does anyone (non-techhead) ever really get it to go on in one go, without a lot of tech knowhow?

    I know millions of people download it like me and never get it to go, otherwise it would rule the world by now. What is the problem, still?

  2. #2
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    Re: How can I avoid the #@$% CMD LINE?

    I believe a lot of people get everything running with no problems. It's sort of a hardware crap-shoot in some situations.

    Anyway, if you're expecting the command line to go away any time soon I wouldn't hold your breath. The command line is the bread and butter of Linux. It's the MAIN reason I use Linux. There's plenty of "graphic help" -- just search the web and you'll find page after page of howto's on every subject you can imagine.

    If you're really against it, there are GUI tools for configuring things like networks. I know for a fact that Fedora has GUI tools to configure most everything. In the end, the GUIs are just wrappers on top of the configuration file you'd be editing in a terminal anyway.
    This statement is false

  3. #3
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    Re: How can I avoid the #@$% CMD LINE?

    Quote Originally Posted by jordanmthomas View Post
    I believe a lot of people get everything running with no problems. It's sort of a hardware crap-shoot in some situations.

    Anyway, if you're expecting the command line to go away any time soon I wouldn't hold your breath. The command line is the bread and butter of Linux. It's the MAIN reason I use Linux. There's plenty of "graphic help" -- just search the web and you'll find page after page of howto's on every subject you can imagine.

    If you're really against it, there are GUI tools for configuring things like networks. I know for a fact that Fedora has GUI tools to configure most everything. In the end, the GUIs are just wrappers on top of the configuration file you'd be editing in a terminal anyway.
    Agreed

  4. #4
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    Re: How can I avoid the #@$% CMD LINE?

    Quote Originally Posted by diogenes2 View Post
    Hi tech people!
    Many, many years ago I had many an altercation on early Linux BBS with "real" users who were against making the use of Linux easy. The problem is still here today, I see.

    There has been so much brilliant work by so many people on this ONLY ALTERNATIVE that it is a shame to see that support is still very much "black screen" O S level.

    Especially coupled with how easy it is to total a Linux system from the cmd line, it would be a great idea to focus more on simple-as-possible = graphics help.

    In my case, I have only ever in 10 years got two installs of Linux to work:
    Suse 9.2 and when I upgraded to Suse 10 - it totalled the system.
    Ubuntu 7.04 on one out of three systems - a 4 y.o. Sony portable.

    By "work" I mean including sound, decent graphics, Internet. Surprisingly, it is usually internet connections that fail me - and this is the primary purpose of my using it!

    So, my question really is: does anyone (non-techhead) ever really get it to go on in one go, without a lot of tech knowhow?

    I know millions of people download it like me and never get it to go, otherwise it would rule the world by now. What is the problem, still?
    By the CMD line I'm going to assume that you want to open the Terminal and that is found in Applications>Accessories and click Terminal. Believe me that is what you are looking for qnd the first command line you will need is, at the promt, sudo adept_manager and from there you will be able to get the software you will need to work on your unit.

    Now, as for getting it up and running, I have asked a total of five questions here so I am a cherry in every respect. Yes, I have had great success and in fact I will not pay Microsoft for another OS for myself ever again. My machine loaded and set itself up completely on Ubuntu 7.04 and I have upgraded to 7.10 and still have not had any problems that did not involve my own ignorance and each time someone here has given me the answer without any cute remarks.

    Now, attitude., Right off the bat you will dislike me. When you learn not to talk down to folks you'll find that there is a world full of helpful people in the Linux world. Now, short of an attitude adjustment, you are free to go purchase the latest, better than 200 dollar, version of Windows and cuss it because your hardware will not operate with it.

  5. #5
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    Re: How can I avoid the #@$% CMD LINE?

    Hi Th1Bil & Jordan,

    To clarify what I mean a little further:
    1. I have already been amazed at how far the GUI (read: easy-2-use) install procedure has come since Ubuntu arrived.

    No, I NEVER want to use the cmd line again! (See the warning about swines posting destructive "help" codes here. http://ubuntuforums.org/announcement.php?f=73

    It is soooo easy to total a system with a small error in obtuse (non-human analysable) coding, by simple human error.

    My question related to the completely unnecessary fixation people have with the CMD line "Black Screen Of Death so often". I certainly didn't infer anything negative about the users and help here, merely that most of the real world does not want to know anything about the "engine" - they - like me - merely want to drive. http://ubuntuforums.org/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif


    A classic example is here below. A great and in-depth work that is worth a pay-for book. BUT designed from the erroneous idea that MOST users want to be able to pull the engine apart and rebuild the gearbox themselves.
    We don't.
    That doesn't detract at all from this good work - it is just that it is not relevant to the other 90% of potential escapees from THAT other one.

    Hope that makes it clearer, fellows.
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=500020

  6. #6
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    Re: How can I avoid the #@$% CMD LINE?

    It is soooo easy to total a system with a small error in obtuse (non-human analysable) coding, by simple human error.
    I understand your concern, but this is true whether you're dealing with a GUI or a command line. I can't count the times I've clicked a wrong button.

    I think you're able to "drive" most of the time except when your "engine" breaks down. When the engine breaks down, you have to take it apart and fix it.
    This statement is false

  7. #7
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    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    Re: How can I avoid the #@$% CMD LINE?

    Quote Originally Posted by diogenes2 View Post
    Hi Th1Bil & Jordan,
    No, I NEVER want to use the cmd line again! (See the warning about swines posting destructive "help" codes here. http://ubuntuforums.org/announcement.php?f=73

    It is soooo easy to total a system with a small error in obtuse (non-human analysable) coding, by simple human error.
    That's a much bigger problem than simply the command line; malicious users could just as easily say "hey, go to this web site, download this executable" or "run this javascript" and accomplish the same thing on another operating system, if the person receiving the information doesn't want to think or use his head. The only way to avoid this human error is to learn, which is why I don't think refusing to learn the command line is a sound way to go about things.

    Installing a new operating system requires more under-the-hood experience than just using whatever OS came with your computer, period. It requires learning new things, especially if you are coming from another OS paradigm.

    These arguments never get resolved -- as previously posted, there is always Mandriva if you are dead-set against learning anything, but when learning to use a new OS, especially one that affords as much flexibility and freedom as Ubuntu, I think it's going to have more of a payoff in the long run to just learn how things work, instead of complaining that you shouldn't have to.

    And as for the "I just want to drive" analogy; I believe automobile owners should take the time to learn about their cars, too. Not to sound harsh, but I think there's far too much willful ignorance in the world.

    The command line is simply not that scary.
    Focus is Cash in the Economics of Attention
    No one should apologize for, nor act threatened as a result of their preferences.- PapaRaven

  8. #8
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    Re: How can I avoid the #@$% CMD LINE?

    Quote Originally Posted by ticopelp View Post

    And as for the "I just want to drive" analogy; I believe automobile owners should take the time to learn about their cars, too. Not to sound harsh, but I think there's far too much willful ignorance in the world.

    The command line is simply not that scary.

    I doubt many drivers can change their oil themselves let alone a gasket, maybe a timing belt.



    as previously posted, there is always Mandriva if you are dead-set against learning anything
    I don't think that people are "dead set against learning anything"

    I think another way of looking at it might be, I bought this tool(PC) to do things, i don't want to have to study a bunch of other things about the tool before I can use it do what I bought it for.

    Can you imagine if you had to mess around on forums and flash hardware just to get your set top DVD player to play surround sound? If you had to recompile the software on your cellphone for it to display flash animation?

    It's all good and well that linux is so powerful/customizable etc etc, but is that what the average USER is needing?

    If the ubuntu PCs that Dell are selling had to be configuired manually I doubt they would sell very well.

  9. #9
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    Re: How can I avoid the #@$% CMD LINE?

    Quote Originally Posted by inversekinetix View Post
    I doubt many drivers can change their oil themselves let alone a gasket, maybe a timing belt.
    Well, we can pick nits about whether learning to type sudo install apt-get constitutes something as complex as changing a timing belt (I don't think it is), but my point is this: I can change my tires and my oil. It's not a complicated thing to learn. If your tire goes flat, do you stand by the side of the road complaining that your car was obviously not ready for the highway?

    Most things in Ubuntu (including installing packages) can be done without the command line. But I used to do Windows tech support, and quite often, getting under the hood to get people's Internet to work involved -- guess what! -- firing up start > run > command and opening a terminal window, usually to run ping or what have you.

    Troubleshooting and installing a new OS is going to require a bit more learning than sitting down in front of a pre-installed system -- I just don't see how there's any way around that. While you're down there, you might as well learn a bit about why things work the way they do. I think this is equally as true of Windows or any other OS as it is of Linux.

    If your time is at too much of a premium to learn new things, especially something as relatively complicated as a computer OS, you shouldn't be installing a new OS. You should be sticking with the OS that you know how to use, and which doesn't require you to learn anything new. I don't say that to be elitist (I don't consider learning an ability restricted to a select few), but I do think that people should be realistic about how they use their time. Ubuntu doesn't work flawlessly on all hardware yet, much as I (or any number of users who have unfortunately had trouble) wish that it did.

    Quote Originally Posted by inversekinetix View Post
    I don't think that people are "dead set against learning anything"
    I certainly don't think everyone is -- but I think some are.

    Quote Originally Posted by inversekinetix View Post
    It's all good and well that linux is so powerful/customizable etc etc, but is that what the average USER is needing?
    The average user needs a pre-installed system. Again, I would rarely anticipate having to use the command line on a pre-installed machine where everything is running fine -- that said, I still think it's a good idea to know how to change your tires.

    Quote Originally Posted by inversekinetix View Post
    If the ubuntu PCs that Dell are selling had to be configuired manually I doubt they would sell very well.
    I totally agree. Good thing that's not the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by osx424242 View Post
    Ubuntu [I can't speak for any other distros as I haven't tried them] just doesn't compare with Windows or OS X as far as ease of use. 8 years ago I built a Windows box and _installed_ Win98SE and didn't have any problems [note: 'no problems' means 'no visible problems', people who say 'Windows just works" are probably unaware of invisible issues like worms or spyware, kind of like you might not notice that your car leaks oil or steering fluid if you park in a different spot every day]; 2 years ago I got a Mac Mini and was _blown_away_ by how everything "just worked" even though I had never used a Mac before; 3 months ago I bought a System 76 laptop -- pre-installed Ubuntu so I did _not_ have to install the OS -- and have had no end of problems (not Sys76's fault!!! all the hardware works with Ubuntu, I've just had lots of software (often dependency) issues) despite the fact that I've used (as a _user_ not an _admin_) hp-ux and/or solaris daily at work for the last 6.5 years.
    Good post. I'm not an anti-MS zealot. I was a Windows user from 95 up until XP. I don't really have a problem with Windows from a usability standpoint -- I agree that it's a very easy OS for someone who's not interested in computers to sit down with and use, as long as everything is running fine. When it comes to getting under the hood, it's every bit as bewildering as linux, if not more so, to try to fix. Ever try to walk someone through editing their registry over the phone? It's no fun. The registry editor is every bit as complex, or more, as typing things into a terminal, but you still have to do it when something goes wrong, if you don't want to just take your computer to a shop for someone else to fix.

    Windows has just as many infuriating quirks as any other OS (like 98's refusal to find drivers that are already installed) when one has to get into the guts of it. The difference between Windows / Mac and something like Ubuntu is that the hardware support often isn't as unified or well-supported, because Ubuntu isn't a giant commercial OS with support from vendors. I certainly wish things were different in that regard, and that Ubuntu worked "out of the box" for everyone. We're not there yet, certainly, but I hope that day will come at some point.

    I'm not trying to be harsh on people who don't want to use the command line -- I stayed away from Linux myself for quite a while because I found the commands confusing and kind of arcane, so I definitely know how that feels. However, there also wasn't a community like this, full of helpful people who are willing to take time to help others learn. I think that with a positive attitude and a willingness to absorb information, there's a lot benefit and fun to be had getting your hands dirty and learning to use your tools.

    I've worked with so many people over the years who think computers are magical, irrational devices that have a will of their own, and they're afraid to do anything except by rote. A little self-education goes a long way towards dispelling this fear -- no matter what OS you're using.
    Focus is Cash in the Economics of Attention
    No one should apologize for, nor act threatened as a result of their preferences.- PapaRaven

  10. #10
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    Re: How can I avoid the #@$% CMD LINE?

    Quote Originally Posted by inversekinetix View Post
    Can you imagine if you had to mess around on forums and flash hardware just to get your set top DVD player to play surround sound? If you had to recompile the software on your cellphone for it to display flash animation?
    You totally just hit on what "Linux as a hobby" means to me, and why it's my hobby

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