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The Cognitive Style of Unix

Feb 18, 2011, 13:03 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Vivek Haldar)

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"One of the most deeply held beliefs in the culture of *nix (and everything that springs from it) is that the steep learning curve pays off. Yes, the tools seem cryptic and "hard-to-use", with hardly any crutches for the beginner. But if you stick with it and keep learning you will be rewarded. When you grok the power of economical command lines, composability and extensibility, you're glad you didn't run back to the arms of the GUI on the first day. It was worth it.

"There is another belief that goes deeper, and it is the reason that after decades of existence and millions of newbie-suffering-hours, the learning curve has not become any easier, or gone away. That belief is: the learning curve has value, it is essential for learning, and it needs to be preserved, not whittled away in the name of "ease-of-use." 1

"I recently came across some research which rigorously backs up this line of thinking."

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