February 23, 2019

Rant Mode Equals One: The Mighty Fine (Command) Line - page 3

Celebrating a Year of Ranting

  • February 15, 2000
  • By Paul Ferris

What a pathetic joke. Let's go through that list:

0) Ease of use.

OK, for a beginning user, you got me.

1) Power.

Reality check mode equals one. It may be great for launching a powerful bullet-proof windows application like Solitaire. Is it as powerful from a design standpoint as a text interface? It's no substitute for knowledge of an operating system like Linux.

Imagine a desktop with a thousand icons in plain sight. That's what it would take for a GUI to even hint at the power and elegance that a simple and efficient shell window can provide.

Witness the mess of crap that the Windows control panel has become. True, you can easily change the font setting for your desktop. False, you can probably never find the right setting for your network if it isn't anything other than one or two scenarios that some lame Windows programmer had in mind when the interface was being created.

In order to win the hearts of computer users over, Linux is likely going to get a GUI front end with similar limitations. Fortunately, underneath it all, it will still have the power of the shell.

And just what shell?

Any shell, take your pick: bash, csh, ksh, zsh. I don't care. Any of these shells make what the Windows lamers attempt to call a shell look pathetic.

2) Speed.

I dare any windows user to launch, configure or customize a Windows system with the speed of a decent UNIX user. If you want to believe that it isn't this way--so be it. Bill Gates is your god. Go and worship for all I care. But don't watch anybody run a decent UNIX or Linux box or you will have your pathetic ego smashed into tiny little shards of Window glass.

3) Freedom.

Sure, you have plenty of freedom to change your desktop settings. You have the freedom to change them to look pretty much like everybody else's desktop settings.

Svim Vear, very nice! Evenig Vear, very nice!

Try and customize something outside of Billy's sandbox.

Let's look at an example. The Control Panel doesn't do a good job of customizing startup/shutdown like any decent UNIX box. Just before your system shuts down, make it attempt to send mail to another host first. Or maybe have it do that just before it issues the login prompt. Or anything in between.

All that a pathetic Windows user has access to is a Startup folder in the program group.

4) Justice.

Is it just that somebody who has never seen an alternative way to run a computer must be stuck with something that crashes, and gives them no way to fix it, other than to re-install?

Give me a break. Heck, give me a reset key while you're at it.

5) The American Way.

I hope not. If this is the American way, then we're all turning into a bunch of lame, button-clicking couch potatoes. Now that I think of it, maybe it is the American way, a Windows lamer vision of it anyway--it's not mine.

I'm not saying that command-line interfaces are for everyone, it's just that they are not arcane--it's that simple. Billy and his misled legion of dolts may think so. They may have even convinced you too.

They haven't convinced me and I don't appear to be alone.

Reality check mode equals one. Billy's panty-waist O/S is no match for Linux. It never will be, unless he starts using some kind of open standard base to structure it and a decent set of automation tools to control that internal structure.

It's too late to do that, and we all know it.

A quick and dirty shell script that is only a few lines long can accomplish so much with so little wasted effort. True, you may have to read some documentation before you get it to work. That small time spent is time saved in the long run. It pays off big time.

The shell is a standard interface that is there, year after year. It's not bloated and it doesn't change direction like a flag in the wind. (Think Visual Basic). The end result is even more time saved in the future. All of your customization can work from upgrade to upgrade dependably.

Glue is being made of the horse now. I guess it's time to finish.

Recently, I was doing my usual Linux advocacy thing at the local Radio Shack and ran into a unique flavor of stupidity. The hapless Windows user made the comment that I shouldn't be using Linux on my home computer. He found out that I was a father and that my son was learning Linux instead of Windows.

He asks me, "Aren't you afraid that your kid will grow up and not be able to use The Standard?. I looked at him and replied "If I want my son to use Windows for the rest of his life, I'll get him a lobotomy."

It was another fine day.

There, I've spoken enough. Those of you who send me negative e-mail on this subject can count on the following shell script to be used as a filter:

# Pathetic mail filter for rant mode equals one
for I in $*
sed -e s/[gG][Uu][Ii]/"Panty-waist-interface"/g \
-e s/[Gg]raphic/Lamer/g $I > $I.bak
mv $I.bak $I
# end of shell script

I know, a lot of you GUI-loving pantywaists will choke at having to read the man pages on ksh and sed to figure out what this is doing. Cry me a river.

The command line to do that, by the way, is man ksh sed.

Grin mode equals one.

Rant mode equals zero.

Most Popular LinuxPlanet Stories