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Thread: Using Xubuntu for 8 months, but scared of the Terminal, is that normal?

  1. #1
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    Using Xubuntu for 8 months, but scared of the Terminal, is that normal?

    After getting fed up with Windows and switching to Xubuntu, I loved it, instead of being paranoid about viruses and malware, waiting for Defraggler to finishing defragging my Windows system, waiting for Windows to shutdown, it takes one minute, I can now enjoy my computer and the internet without worries, no bloatware, no viruses, no fragmenting, faster start-ups and shutdown, shutting down only takes a few seconds, I can honestly say, switching to Xubuntu was the best decision I ever made. The only thing that I'm scared of touching is the Terminal, don't get me wrong, I used it a few times, like installing and fixing a problem with Avast! Antivirus, turning on UFW firewall, but I'm still afraid of using it, I'm a novice computer user, I try to avoid using it as much as possible, I use Terminal as a last resort, I'm scared of playing around with it because I might damage my system, especially when using the sudo commands.

  2. #2
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    Re: Using Xubuntu for 8 months, but scared of the Terminal, is that normal?

    It's normal to be scared of what you don't understand. But once you understand it it's a very powerful and awesome tool. Don't be scared just make sure you don't run commands like rm without knowing what you are removing.
    Whoever came up with the phrase "There is no such thing as a stupid question" obviously never had the internet.

  3. #3
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    Re: Using Xubuntu for 8 months, but scared of the Terminal, is that normal?

    Also, adding the following lines to your ~/.bashrc file should help make sure you don't accidentally delete something without meaning to:

    alias rm='rm -i'
    alias cp='cp -i'
    alias mv='mv -i'

    This will ensure that you are always prompted before something is deleted or overwritten. If you want to remove a bunch of files without having to answer the prompt, just use the -f option.

    The best way to get over your fear of the terminal is to just use it. Practice navigating around your file system from the terminal instead of the file manager. Remember, tab completion is your friend! After a little while, you'll see how useful the terminal is, and then you can start putting commands in bash scripts to do things even faster.

  4. #4
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    Re: Using Xubuntu for 8 months, but scared of the Terminal, is that normal?

    argonvegell;

    The command line is a tool, a tool to be respected, but nothing to fear. There are many tutorials to get you acclimated. You will not know 'till you get your feet wet, and then dive in !
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/NewDocs
    There is always someone here to help you over the rough spots.

  5. #5
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    Re: Using Xubuntu for 8 months, but scared of the Terminal, is that normal?

    argonvegell
    First, glad you found the light.

    As for the terminal, it's just a tool. Like any other tool, one must learn to use it before becoming proficient with it. Take your time and become familiar with the commands. As others have suggested, use some caution and if your not sure ask or look it up. I can't tell you how many times (when I first switched to Linux - Ubuntu 7.04) I crashed my system while learning and tinkering.

    Didn't take long before I purchased an inexpensive, used, 40gig usb HDD ($20) for testing and tinkering purposes. This kept the PC in fully functional condition for family use, while giving me the confidence to tinker - knowing I'd have zero impact on said family usage. Should the 40gig crash, I simply reinstalled the OS and continued learning. Once you become proficient, you can still use the spare HDD for beta testing new releases, testing other distros or just use it for storage. Whatever you decide, have fun and enjoy the learning process. Remember, one doesn't need to become a guru over night and by taking the time to learn - it will definitely IMO improve the Linux experience.

    Good Luck
    "All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward."
    Ellen Glasgow

  6. #6
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    Re: Using Xubuntu for 8 months, but scared of the Terminal, is that normal?

    if you are going to edit a config file always make a copy of the original first.
    If you mess up then you can restore the original file.
    I usually just add "old" to the filename. So myconfig.d would become myconfig.d.old.
    Some people add "bak", short for backup, it's up to you.
    Good luck, I'm glad that you're enjoying your new found freedom.

  7. #7
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    Re: Using Xubuntu for 8 months, but scared of the Terminal, is that normal?

    Quote Originally Posted by coldraven View Post
    if you are going to edit a config file always make a copy of the original first.
    If you mess up then you can restore the original file....
    Agreed.

    Gedit I think saves a copy by default, if not it can be set in the preferences.

    If the OP starts using a terminal text editor then nano, at least, can do the same just use nano -B and it will create a backup on save

  8. #8
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    Re: Using Xubuntu for 8 months, but scared of the Terminal, is that normal?

    I'd be perfectly happy if I didn't have to use the terminal ever again.

    I do use the terminal for some things that are easier - like Apt-get, adding PPAs, setting 'at' jobs. I also found myself forced to use the terminal when - (sigh) - my graphics got broken.

    But I don't mind if you're scared of the terminal. It's an intimidating feature in Linux, and there are definite negative cultural connotations to the terminal too - "the hacker sits in front of scrolling white text on a black background, hacking into computer systems because he has no friends and is socially retarded". Everyone is allowed to be scared of something, and as you mention, avoiding the terminal where possible does make it a lot harder to break your system.

    My father has been using Ubuntu since 2009 and couldn't apt-get, chmod or ls anything to save his life. It's actually not abnormal.
    I try to treat the cause, not the symptom. I avoid the terminal in instructions, unless it's easier or necessary. My instructions will work within the Ubuntu system, instead of breaking or subverting it. Those are the three guarantees to the helpee.

  9. #9
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    Re: Using Xubuntu for 8 months, but scared of the Terminal, is that normal?

    Fear of the command line is quite normal although I'm not sure it's always rational.
    I'm scared of playing around with it because I might damage my system
    doesn't really make sense to me - graphical programs can just as easily damage the system. gparted, regedit, resedit etc can all wreak havoc on their host systems. So can a graphical file manager.

    What I think the real problem probably is, is that a command-line prompt gives very little guidance and is not "discoverable". If you don't know what to do, don't know the command needed to achieve something, all you can do is sit there and stare at the space where you have to type something. This can be a very intimidating feeling. At least with a GUI, there are things you can click and try - they might trash the system but at least you're doing something, and you can make a guess at what the program is for.

    On the other hand, if you know the commands then using a GUI to do the same job can feel like trying to shell peas while wearing boxing gloves, or doing brain surgery with a handyman's toolkit.

    My advice is to learn just enough to look around in the command line. pwd, cd, ls, cat, less for starters.
    Maybe an editor too - many years ago I was advised to learn some basic vi because that was sure to be on any system I went to. Good advice, although if you are sticking to Ubuntu then nano will always be there and doesn't require memorising anything. For may years, the above commands (and ifconfig) were all I knew about unix and were enough to get by on.

    Once you can use the above commands, learn to use man (the manual). for instance, the command man ls will show you all the options available such as ls -lh. Even if you don't remember the letters, you can learn a lot about what a program can do, what options are available. Looking up which letter does it when you need to is quick. From there, I don't know. I think I learned just the odd command here and there, some of which I thought "that's useful, I must remember that one". Many years later, I thought "grep looks really useful, I'll try to learn some basics of that". Then sed. But it depends what you regularly do as to which and how many command-line programs you learn to use.

    I don't cram commands in for the sake of it. I learn the odd one every now and again because I think it may be something I will find useful repeatedly. It really is like building up your own toolbox, one at a time with "Oh, that's useful.".

    The look around commands pwd, cd, ls, cat, less and an editor are enough to get you out of a hole (perhaps along with cp, mv, rm) and between them give you the capabilities that a GUI file manager gives you. Those, I strongly recommend you learn (be careful with cp, mv, rm). As for the rest, take it easy, try out interesting commands that you see on these forums, and remember the ones that you think are worth remembering. Some are awesomely powerful and tricky to get right (those two seem to come together).

  10. #10
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    Re: Using Xubuntu for 8 months, but scared of the Terminal, is that normal?

    not sure if you need profesional help or not.

    but i do know that learning what command does helps me understand it. and people only fear what they do not know.

    once you name an object you can get control over it. [in mental sense ofcourse - you can not control something that is unknown, with no name]
    Easy to understand Ubuntu manual with lots of pics: http://ubuntu-manual.org/
    Do i need antivirus/firewall in linux?
    User friendly disk backup: Redobackup

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