The first part of this post is in the form of a screenplay for an infomercial:
Narrator: “Do you work with computers in any capacity beyond Web Browsing, Microsoft Office and Gaming?”
Black and white footage of a software developer is shown. He is clicking madly and is extremely frustrated about having to rename 20 *.txt files in a directory that contain a bunch of Word documents.
Narrator: “Are you fed up with all that clicking when you need to do some repetitive task on your Mac or PC?”
Developer: “There’s gotta be a better way!”
The developer throws his hands up in frustration and pushes his laptop out a window. Stock footage of an explosion at the bottom of a canyon is shown.
Narrator: “Well don’t go crazy! You can save yourself tons of time by just learning a little bit about our old-fashioned computer friend: the command line!”
Footage of the software developer is now in brilliant color and shows him in front of a beautiful Macbook, with the Terminal open, smiling like a madman.
I started writing this post and it ended up sounding like an infomercial, so I just went with it. When my wife and I get frustrated with some kind of everyday annoyance, we always joke: “If this was an infomercial, we would be doing this in black and white and not color! There’s gotta be a better way!”
Am I rambling? What’s my point? I feel like working with the mouse for serious computer work is like seeing the world in black and white instead of beautiful, magical color.
I am inspired today to write this because, last night I read possibly the best explanation ever of why you need to stop using Graphical User Interfaces and start using the command line in Unix/Linux.
Here it is, on a separate line for emphasis:
An Introduction To Unix by Oliver.
Is this content new? No. It is old, but it is as timeless as anything can be in the computer age. It is written for the average power user of a computer that doesn’t yet use the command line for his work.
I can’t possibly do a better job than Oliver trying to convince you why Linux and the command line is so powerful, so read the first three sections of that Wiki. Come back and let me know what you think.
If you’re not convinced, you should just throw your laptop out the window and stick to your smartphone and maybe find a job in woodworking.
For Linux power users
You’re probably (hopefully?) nodding your head in agreement with everything I said, and maybe didn’t read that article. You might think you know it all, but I would recommend taking a look. It will give you fresh eyes and a fresh mind. It will inspire you and remind you why you love Linux. You might learn something you didn’t already know, or, at the very least, save the link and send it to the next person at work who steadfastly refuses to stop click-click-clicking.
Also, please take a look at Oliver’s list of 100 Useful Unix Commands. You will know a lot of them, but some of them you won’t. And I bet you will learn something about some commands you already thought you knew as well.
My favorite was the “cd_func” under the pushd/popd section which allows you to track and navigate back through your visited directories. Awesome!
Well done, Oliver!