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Fear and Loathing at the Command Line

Oct 14, 2007, 04:00 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)

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"Long ago, I lost any queasiness about the command line. I'm not one of those who think it's the only way to interact with their computers, but it's a rare day that I don't use it three or four times on my GNU/Linux system. No big deal--it's just the easiest way to do some administration tasks. Yet I'm very much aware that my nonchalance is a minority reaction. To average users, the suggestion that they use the command line--or the shell, or the terminal, or whatever else you want to call it is only slightly less welcome than the suggestion that they go out and deliberately contract AIDS. It's a reaction that seems compounded of equal parts fear of the unknown, poor previous experiences, a terror of the arcane, and a wish for instant gratification..."

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