Ubuntu Demon\’s blog

August 17, 2006

Why I think the command-line is user-friendly…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ubuntudemon @ 11:46 am

There are different kinds of easy, as far as I can tell.

1. One kind of easy is labor easy–you do one step instead of three.
2. Another kind of easy is thinking easy–you don’t have to think; you just do what you’re told.
3. The last kind of easy is memory easy–you have to think, but you don’t have to remember.

Sure, GUI might be easier if someone were helping you in person. She could say, “Click on that icon. No, that one. See that? Click on it.” However, short of doing screenshots (which are time-consuming and bandwidth-consuming), it’s very difficult to help someone GUI style over the internet. It is very easy to help someone by saying, “Here, just copy and paste whatever I typed here.”

So what does “user-friendly” mean in practical terms? Well, first of all, GUI will always be friendlier to most new users because most new users come from Windows and have never installed Windows (keep in mind that most Windows installations until XP were text-only). The familiar is friendly in one way. GUI also requires very little memorization.

If you know how to control-c (to copy) and control-v (to paste), you might want to consider opening up a terminal. It may not seem friendly at first, but the terminal is willing to be a friend to any new Ubuntu user.

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I happen to agree.

The terminal takes some time getting used too but I think it’s worth it. Especially if you decide to become a geek 😛

a related blog post

update :

a related article : Where’s the terminal ?



  1. http://theinside-out.blogspot.com/2006/07/en-advantage-of-sudo.html

    is a personal account of how sudo helps me help other users by reducing the amount of things I have to explain.

    Comment by Adriano Varoli Piazza — August 17, 2006 @ 3:36 pm

  2. You forget those non-english-speakers, for whom the command line tools have really weird names.

    Comment by arc — August 17, 2006 @ 4:37 pm

  3. The terminal commands are “really weird names” to English speakers, too, believe it or not.

    That’s why copying and pasting commands can be helpful. You don’t have to make sense of the command (at first)–you just have to know what it does.

    Comment by aysiu — August 17, 2006 @ 5:37 pm

  4. […] Why I Think the Command Line is User Friendly […]

    Pingback by Mack Diesel’s Musings » Blog Archive » Why the CLI is User Friendly — August 17, 2006 @ 11:29 pm

  5. But it’s easier to

    Comment by Alan Rae — August 18, 2006 @ 2:57 pm

  6. But it’s easier to learn GUI stuff. If you tell someone to copy and paste this line, they’re not going to read it, never mind learn it if they’re an absolute beginner. I’m all for keeping the command line but there has to be a GUI alternative to everything.

    Comment by Alan Rae — August 18, 2006 @ 2:59 pm

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