October 24, 2014
 
 
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.comment: Essential Console Applications - page 2

Working Directly from the Command Line

  • June 21, 2000
  • By Dennis E. Powell

Most everyone has a favorite terminal application. Otherwise sane people are emacs heads. (Just kidding, okay? I don't hold people's religions against them, and hope they don't hold mine against me.) But here we'll deal only with the tools necessary to fix what's broken, that which keeps you out of those nice, easy-to-use X apps, the programs that ought to be on every system. Some of them have equivalents that aren't mentioned, and if you're comfortable with one of those, fine. These are the ones that work for me.

A good text editor. This is yet another of those odd places where Linux holy wars erupt; one doesn't have to go far to find the emacs-vs.-vi wars. Neither of these programs is a cheerful place for the first-time user, which may be part of the reason why their masters are so vocal. They are not just programs, they are skills. They are not something to figure out when you're desperate.

A mail program. Mutt is easy once you've configured it. Configuring it is not easy. Again, desperation is not the condition in which to undertake Mutt familiarization. And it might just be necessary to check the mail or to put out a plea for help.

A way to get online. Here, your choices are limited. Work out your scripts ahead of time. And test them.

A way to transfer files. It might be that all between you and X bliss is a corrupt download. Pretty sad if you can't fetch that one bad file, don't you think?

A way to get onto the Web. Could be that somebody else has encountered the problem that bit you. Online docs and FAQs could solve the problem.

A file manager. You'll use this more than you imagine.

None of this is to suggest that the command line is otherwise useless. It is highly useful, and it's impossible to be involved with Linux for long without developing a few favorite commands. If you build your own software, there are some commands that you employ regularly. The command line is your friend. Here we're making it your savior in time of woe.

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