Originally Posted by genji
I fit into that group, and that is why I disrespect Ubuntu(It's "too automated") and distro's like it.(if you really want to learn Linux run Slackware or Gentoo, hell, even better build your own distro and make everything from scratch!) I think they should start people out on a command line only and after being able to pass a test of the basic commands should they let them have access to a GUI.
When I first bought a Mandrake (now Mandriva) CD from CompUSA in 1998, I installed it on a triple-boot box I'd built. I had been dual and triple booting since 1993 but by that time already had 2 years of DOS under my belt.
The reason for this history is to demonstrate that my introduction to PCs began with command line. I love command line where a single command has 10's of variations from switches. To understand what commands did I ran every command on a DOS 3 system (and later again on a DOS 5 system) to see what it did, not just read about it. I broke the system many times and recovering from that really
taught me what commands do.
I remember previous to this time being told by friends "You need a computer" and when I asked "What for?" the usual litany of "It'll balance your check book..." inevitably followed. Since I could do that for free, or the cost of wear and tear on a pencil and a piece of paper as fascinated as I was with the electronics of them I couldn't see what a computer would do for me.
The one mentioned above with DOS 3 on it was a gift and all I did was play primitive solitaire and use the word processor.... that is until a friend gave me 3 floppies with PCTools' PCShell on it, which was an early file manager. I will never forget the feeling of the "lights going on". I could see the organization of the operating system and I had drastically changed what the PC could do in a few minutes and with 3 little diskettes.
It wasn't a box of tools. It was ANY
box of tools because it could be added to and reconfigured to do any number of jobs you could imagine. The combination of installing a fundamental set of programs and especially a primitive GUI did that. I could see.
I think it is equally foolish to rely exclusively on command line as it is to rely strictly on icons.
Since an icon is really only a link to a command, you'd need thousands of them to cover all the switch permutations. It would be a very cluttered tool box, very difficult to find the one you need. Plus if you launch from an icon and there is a problem, a miniature icon blinks for awhile and then disappears without a single clue as to why or what happened. This is some of why CLI is better than icons for power users in any OpSys, not just Linux.
However graphics can give an overview that just doesn't happen in console. A simple file manager is essential to me. There is organization possible in graphics that can't occur in text only CLI. In Linux, even "ncurses" is a nod to the power and insight of graphics. Just because it is used in console doesn't somehow negate it's graphic nature. I'm very comfortable in text editors like "vi" but I vastly prefer a graphic text editor. There are programs I regularly use that need no switches for normal operation and it takes less time to find and execute them than to type the full name in a console, even though I have one permanently on my desktop right above the taskbar.
I see no good reason to use only one interface exclusively and certainly don't think people need to pass any tests to run a computer, though I often wish they had bothered to learn the basics. Claiming CLI is antiquated is just foolish and lazy. Claiming GUI is useless is silly posturing, IMHO. We all can benefit greatly from using the right tool for the right job but power users have many tools, not just a handful.