×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Case Against GUIs, Revisited

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the what-part-of-ls-thor-don't-you-understand? dept.

GUI 720

snydeq writes "Deep End's Paul Venezia advocates the importance of the command line, in light of the increasing use of GUIs in today's technologies, as well as the increasing perception among admins that proponents of the CLI are dragging computing back to the 'dark ages of the C:\ prompt."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

720 comments

First post (2)

smileygladhands (1909508) | about 3 years ago | (#35726150)

I use Linux specifically for the powerful Bash-fu.

Re:First post (1)

anomaly256 (1243020) | about 3 years ago | (#35726386)

Thats like saying you exclusively use Toyotas because they have wheels.

Hell these days the only OS without bash is emacs. And I'm probably wrong about that anyway.

Nobody needs a GUI or CLI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726170)

You should just be able to talk to your computer and get whatever results you want.

Re:Nobody needs a GUI or CLI (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#35726232)

The spoken word is just an auditory CLI. We operate those around us via commands (and requests, and interrogatives, but you get the idea) every day. I expect you'd find it quite unusual if someone tried to get you to do something just by pointing and clicking.

Re:Nobody needs a GUI or CLI (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 3 years ago | (#35726268)

The spoken word is just an auditory CLI.

They must have an incredibly advanced command line parser on Star Trek ships.

Re:Nobody needs a GUI or CLI (3, Insightful)

ron_ivi (607351) | about 3 years ago | (#35726246)

Some UI may go this way eventually, but I imagine most written/typed communication is still incredibly valuable.

I imagine it won't be long before we communicate with computers very much the same way we do with people.

For casual simple tasks, that means mostly voice (which computers suck at today) and a bit of gestures (which computers are OK at with a mouse).

For anything complex, though, communication between humans is typically written - and I expect it'll continue to be so for computers for as long as people interact with them -- not because it's great for the computer, but because it's the best humans come to a high-bandwidth precise recordable communication channel.

Re:Nobody needs a GUI or CLI (3, Interesting)

suso (153703) | about 3 years ago | (#35726326)

The frustration of doing this was foreseen by some of the writers of Star Trek. If you watch some TNG episodes where Geordi interacts with the computer, you'll see him getting frustrated with it not understanding what he wants. I always felt that Geordi was a lot like an IT engineer of today.

We may be able to talk to computers, but I imagine it will be very hard to get them to the point that they understand each of our individual expectations. Even once we think they are comprehending, they still won't.

This, perhaps... (5, Insightful)

troff (529250) | about 3 years ago | (#35726172)

... speaks more of the admins who assume that "CLI" == "C:\ prompt".
Or the idiots who think "CLI" == "the GUI in front of me is therefore made unusable". The people at "GUI Industries" can't make a link or shortcut to the appropriate script?

Why would you trust an admin who can't, as TFA indicates, edit a text file?

Re:This, perhaps... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726196)

Agreed

Re:This, perhaps... (3, Insightful)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about 3 years ago | (#35726664)

GUI = makes it easy to do one off tasks, because the interface can be made intuitive.
CLI = makes it easy to do repetitive tasks, because they can be easily scripted.

Even repetitive image manipulation is best achieved with scripted command line tools. Don't believe for a second someone had inserts watermarks into photos!

As I see it . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726178)

As I see it, the difference between a GUI and a CLI is the difference between ordering from a menu and telling the waiter exactly what you want. Both are useful, but there are times when being able to say exactly what it is you want is really nice.

Re:As I see it . . . (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 3 years ago | (#35726382)

When i go to the common night bars, i know exactly what i want to drink, but i am stuck with their windows (i mean menu). That's why the ones that are able to mix my choice of ingredients are my favorites, and btw they are the best place to impress a lady (say linux). With other words, GUI is for dumbs. Period.

Re:As I see it . . . (2)

amliebsch (724858) | about 3 years ago | (#35726646)

This is not really about Linux vs. Windows, as both of them have GUI methods and CLI methods for accomplishing this task. It is more about GUI admins vs. CLI admins.

Dead on (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#35726184)

This is dead on. Human beings invented symbolic language because it's simply more expressive than pointing and grunting. CLIs are superior to GUIs for the same reason.

Re:Dead on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726302)

So instead of pointing and grunting with a mouse pointer you point and grunt at keys with your fingers. Congrats on your terrible analogy.

Re:Dead on (4, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | about 3 years ago | (#35726346)

Human beings invented symbolic language because it's simply more expressive than pointing and grunting. CLIs are superior to GUIs for the same reason.

CLIs are superior to GUIs in the same way romance novels are superior to sex. Sometimes taking the time to carefully describe things in clear, unambiguous detail is important, but sometimes pointing and grunting is both more effective and and more satisfying.

And when's the last time you edited photos, video, or audio with a CLI?

Raises hand (2)

rk (6314) | about 3 years ago | (#35726410)

Interestingly, I had to put little watermarks on about 400 images a year ago. It took about 5 minutes of scripting with ImageMagick to do it.

If I'd done that with Photoshop or GIMP, I'd still be at it!

Re:Dead on (1)

WatchMaster (613677) | about 3 years ago | (#35726470)

just last week. resized a whole directory of photos with this:

          $ for i in *.jpg; do mogrify -geometry 400 $i; done

yup, faster than any gui program 100 images resized.

Re:Dead on (1)

JWW (79176) | about 3 years ago | (#35726486)

And when's the last time you edited photos, video, or audio with a CLI?

This story is from a sysadmin blog!!!

If your Sysadmin is editing photos, video, or audio at work, you probably need to get a different Sysadmin!

Re:Dead on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726676)

If your Sysadmin is editing photos, video, or audio at work, you probably need to get a different Sysadmin!

Insanely stupid advice - you a mere code monkey, oh, sorry, software "engineer", by any chance?

If your sysadmin isn't editing photos, video and audio at work; or isn't asleep under his desk; or isn't downloading several terabytes worth of porn, it means your sysadmin is actively working. If your sysadmin is actively working, it means your systems are fucked.

CLI Photo editing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726634)

> And when's the last time you edited photos [] with a CLI?

I do that all the time. I want a set of photos that are standardised for size and compression and with a copyright mark. I throw the ones required into a dir (using text mode midnight commander) and run a script.

The advantage of CLI tools is that if I need a GUI I can easily knock one up to take the parameters and run the CLI tool to do the actual work. In many cases these GUI front ends already exist.

Re:Dead on (4, Informative)

tweak13 (1171627) | about 3 years ago | (#35726654)

And when's the last time you edited photos, video, or audio with a CLI?

When I was a sysadmin at a radio station, I wrote scripts that processed audio, including cutting and splicing. Having it automated saved a hell of a lot of time for the people that used to have to sit in front of a GUI and do it.

Of course, there's all kinds of audio work that couldn't be done by script. The point is, you need both kinds, even for audio and video.

Re:Dead on (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | about 3 years ago | (#35726656)

While it may not be quite the same thing, remember that Autocad has kept it's built in cli/shortcuts over -many- years and GUI revisions. The fact it hasn't been dropped means that it's useful, and indeed when took a class in it, I was constantly using it - The gui's good for some things, but nothing matches the /precision/ of the command line.

I don't get it. (3, Insightful)

arcade (16638) | about 3 years ago | (#35726198)

I haven't used windows since '99.

looking around my desktop right now, while posting to slashdot, I have chromium running, and 7 xterms. Two of'em are running irssi, the others are just nice little windows to do various bits of work in.

I live and breathe in a CLI environment. I can't really remember doing much useful in GUI's except lookup information (for which it's suited perfectly well).

But why on earth would you do configuration in a GUI? Why would you ever program in a GUI, instead of vim or emacs?

I just don't get it.

Because of bad examples (0)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 3 years ago | (#35726330)

Ever see an NFS server not work because the config file had a space instead of a tab? How about something not working because you picked two options that conflict with each other? A gui would not allow that. Thankfully apache split httpd.conf into multiple files because it was getting several thousand lines long. A gui could have all those options in a few tabs and a hovering help box if you really wanted.

Yeah yeah scripting blah blah, multiple setups, how about taking a screenshot of the gui?

Re:Because of bad examples (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726596)

Many programs allow you to check if your configuration file is OK before using it. In fact, even Apache has 'configtest' for that.

Do they check if it does what you want? No. But neither do GUIs.

how about taking a screenshot of the gui

How about it?

Re:Because of bad examples (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726670)

Ever see an NFS server not work because the config file had a space instead of a tab? How about something not working because you picked two options that conflict with each other? A gui would not allow that. Thankfully apache split httpd.conf into multiple files because it was getting several thousand lines long. A gui could have all those options in a few tabs and a hovering help box if you really wanted.

Yeah yeah scripting blah blah, multiple setups, how about taking a screenshot of the gui?

Maybe you should learn how to configure your editor to show you the difference between a tab and a space. My default vim profile does just that, and so much more.

Not convincing (1)

fnj (64210) | about 3 years ago | (#35726672)

All tabs, one after the other? Every single config page called out from a tree selector in a sidebar? The pages that scroll - carefully scroll each one in turn and make repeated screenshots? You're practically guaranteed to leave something out. Then to recreate the same config on another system what do you do? Repeat the entire exhausting process in reverse? When you're done, you're practically guaranteed to have errors because the entire process relies on a human doing tedious work that a script should be doing perfectly every time.

how about taking a screenshot of the gui?

A config file that differentiates between tabs and spaces is an inexcusably badly designed config file. It says nothing about a weakness of the CLI.

Ever see an NFS server not work because the config file had a space instead of a tab?

Re:I don't get it. (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#35726420)

easy of use. I get far more from VS then either emacs or Vi provide. And yes I have used them extensively.

A good GUI make configuration a snap. Should it be the only way? of course not.

It's funny, people complain about GUI speed, but then never use the shortcuts. They say CLI is better, but then use all kinds of shortcuts.

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726436)

Speed and productivity. VS is entirely capable of doing everything you can do in vim/emacs, and a bunch of other stuff significantly faster. It's the difference between it taking hours to set up a DB schema, or minutes.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726464)

Programmers who code only in text editors write HORRIBLE code. The reason for this can be summed up in one word: refactoring. Serious refactoring is time consuming on the command line. Need to change a few namespaces around or move this function into that class and update all the references? That's a huge pita without a decent IDE and simply doesn't get done by text editor programmers. Their code is horrendously difficult to maintain for other programmers.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Deltaspectre (796409) | about 3 years ago | (#35726502)

Why would I program in a GUI? Like you said, they're suited well for looking up information. Up until last week I've been a diehard vim user, but I switched to CodeBlocks for a new project just to test it out. The amount of extra information I could now get at with the mouse was enough to make me switch camps (except for config files, those are definitely CLI territory.) I know that vim can be made into an IDE, but I could never get it automatic enough and even for those few times I had it all set up for the language of the moment I didn't feel as productive as I do now with a GUI IDE. Being able to mouse over variables to get type information or right click for that context menu is pretty awesome!

CLI is no longer essential (4, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#35726204)

CLI is not essential. It's a holdover from a time when we thought words were a good way to express function. And then left the 'e' off "creat" for kicks.

Everything can be done in a GUI. I don't see why not. We just haven't made that happen yet.

Re:CLI is no longer essential (2)

preaction (1526109) | about 3 years ago | (#35726244)

The GUI is not good for building tasks from a set of data and a set of actions. OS X's Automator is a good example of the GUI's failure here.

Re:CLI is no longer essential (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726334)

And Automator isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Try making a simple batch-renaming tool sometime; Automator is sorely underpowered. Pity.

Re:CLI is no longer essential (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#35726536)

Absolutely it can. OS X's Automator may not work(I don't know) but that doesn't mean GUI's are a failure. It means THAT GUI is a failure.

I wrote a complete GUI to be used by gray beards back in 99. It had all the functionality laid out, and if they needed to do a command line because the GUI didn't include it, it remembered the command line and made a button/checkbox/tab as needed so next time they wanted to do it, it was in the GUI.

It even added a hot key.

Re:CLI is no longer essential (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#35726290)

Have fun automated complex tasks from a GUI.

Re:CLI is no longer essential (1)

StikyPad (445176) | about 3 years ago | (#35726538)

Likewise, have fun performing simple tasks with a CLI.

Jesus, why are we having these discussions all over again? 1990 called and it wants its flamewars back.

Re:CLI is no longer essential (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 3 years ago | (#35726556)

To your surprise, I do just that.
It's not the GUI itself that is flawed. It's the people who made the GUI who lack skills, such as thinking outside the box.

After reading TFA, I gasped at the clearly biased GUI description the guy provided. Limit the GUI and it will show its limits. Doh!
...But what if the GUI had the possibility to import a CSV/XLS file from an USB thumb or whetever source you can access. A browse button with some code behind it; a "GO" button with some code behind it - big deal. I can code something like this in one hour.

BTW, this is part of my job: to develop small standalone apps in VBA - which automate repetitive tasks, such as report generation in Excel using multiple (and mainly incompatible with each other) data sources.

What most CLI zealots don't understand is that a well designed GUI lowers a company's costs by a LOT because you no longer have to train/teach people to do various tasks; point-and-click and a short training is all they need.

TFA says a good CLI is better than a bad GUI. Wow. Thanky for pointing out the obvious!

"Have fun automated complex tasks" - AutoIt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726592)

Have fun automated complex tasks from a GUI.

How about AutoIt?
http://www.autoitscript.com/site/autoit/ [autoitscript.com]

Or any number of other GUI automation tools. Did you know that Windows 3.x used to come with one?

Mind you, it's not very flexible. But neither is 'the CLI' without any number of utilities. E.g. grep. Where would the CLI be without grep?

But for automating some complex tasks, it's almost just what the doctor ordered - especially when the thing you want to automate doesn't have any CLI option.

Having read the article, the author's issue seems to be with importing tables. The Linux dude does it via CLI and hey presto, and the Windows dude does it via GUI and hand-enters each individual record and fat-fingers something and screws everything up by the time it goes live.

Ignoring the cheap Linux vs Windows association... this seems like a gripe with a device that -only- has a GUI front-end which, in addition, despite apparently being marketed at enterprise solutions does -not- have a file field with browse button to browse for a table to import.
No offense - but that's not a CLI vs GUI issue. That's a CLI vs BAD GUI issue.

Imagine if the device didn't accept the rule files over the CLI via a file and instead required manual entry, while the GUI version had the file field and browse button. Would he then be praising the GUI?

"Why Paul Venezia sucks, soon to be revisited" as he's bound to make other such comparisons given his obvious bias.

Re:CLI is no longer essential (3, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#35726298)

Everything? I'd encourage you to write an OS using a point and click programming language.

Re:CLI is no longer essential (4, Insightful)

Sc4Freak (1479423) | about 3 years ago | (#35726396)

Uh, using a GUI doesn't preclude you from editing text. Windows is developed and compiled in Visual Studio, which is a GUI-based IDE.

Re:CLI is no longer essential (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726312)

In fact researchers at MIT have come up with a combinatorial GUI to address this very problem. Each admin command is represented by an icon, with the desired information for subtasks connected to the command by a subicon for the parameter and a place to enter the value. You can just drag-and-drop the commands into a list which can be executed at a click of a button.

Some users are even reporting improved performance through keyboard shortcuts for the commonly used commands. They've cleverly given them short forms so they can be entered easily (e.g. 'creat', 'ps -ef | grep'). Admin productivity in this new Visual Command Environment seems to be accelerating, generating incredible ROI for those who are flexible enough to learn proactively.

Re:CLI is no longer essential (1)

nbehary (140745) | about 3 years ago | (#35726328)

Did you read the article? (or course not.) It points out a very good example where having a CLI to do a job is vastly superior to a GUI. That's not always true, but there are plenty of examples. That said, I prefer the command line for anything, so I'm biased.

Re:CLI is no longer essential (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#35726624)

I read the article, and it in no way indicated that the CLI was better then the GUI. only that the CLI wasbetter then THAT GUI.

Quite frankly, I would fire some one that didn't allow for the import of files to automate the job.
That work can be done in a GUI. That is an example is a shameful GUI.

The idea that a GUI can only do one thing at a time is antiquated.

It would have been a relevant article 15 years ago.

Hell, they could have done that work in Excel

Re:CLI is no longer essential (1)

WatchMaster (613677) | about 3 years ago | (#35726354)

your troll-fu no good.

You can do a lot more complex things on a single line than a screen-sized dialog filled with widgets.
just looking at my history from today:

          grep [0-9] results.csv | sort -r -n -k 2 | uniq -c

what kind of gui is good to make that happen?

Re:CLI is no longer essential (1)

randallman (605329) | about 3 years ago | (#35726430)

GUI is about discovery and until someone comes up with a GUI that can "discover" every possible thing you may want to do, CLI will be the best option for many tasks.

Re:CLI is no longer essential (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | about 3 years ago | (#35726568)

Everything can be done in a GUI. I don't see why not. We just haven't made that happen yet.

I'd agree with this in theory, but in practice we've all seen how horrible people are at coming up with new and intuitive interfaces. In order to make a GUI work as well or better than a CLI you'd need to entirely change the metaphor that the CLI is built around, and this probably won't happen and see wide adoption in our lifetimes.

Re:CLI is no longer essential (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 years ago | (#35726628)

"Everything can be done in a GUI. I don't see why not. We just haven't made that happen yet."

Yes, and everything any processor can do can also be done by a Turing machine [wikipedia.org] . That doesn't mean Turing machines are efficient, desirable or the best way to do computing.

You didn't read the article, and you're not a sys admin, right?

Because its magic (2)

suso (153703) | about 3 years ago | (#35726206)

I can back up the claim that the CLI is making a huge come back. I run a feed on twitter [twitter.com] and identi.ca [identi.ca] called @climagic that is becoming very popular. I think that people are trying to find ways to do the things that they need to do in GUIs and when it can't be done, they find that it is easier to access and manipulate your data using Unix command line tools in very efficient ways. Does that mean that its great for everything? No of course not, I'll admit that I use the GUI for many things too, in fact, I do graphical work in Blender and Inkscape and listen to music in Pandora and do my browsing in Firefox because it works well for me, but in many places, I can get my work done using the CLI and still wow people with iPhones and Androids in 2011.

Dark ages of the C:\ prompt? (1)

cfournie (1530339) | about 3 years ago | (#35726222)

Well of course nobody wants to continue to use a Windows CLI, it IS from the dark ages.

'net vitality laws kick in, kill switch initiated (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726248)

sci-fi couldn't be any more relevant? arnold? altered nazi-queer? bruce? old? charlie...?

good thing for us the genuine native americans know how to keep the channels open, & feature no, zero (0) heroes, choosing the team approach to every holycostal life0cidal blackout that appears, again & again? that, along with the new issue babys advanced dna, renders this repeating bad history thing as just so much soon to be ending, theater of the walking dead. as the spirit moves us....

Too long; skimmed it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726272)

I read the first couple of paragraphs, got bored, and skimmed the rest.

So, he prefers command lines for admin stuff. I can understand that if that's what you do day in and day out. There's nothing more efficient - especially if you're running scripts which you really can't do with a GUI.

For the rest of us who may do a particular admin task once a year, a gui is a wonderful help and makes thing MUCH easier.

Administering Linux became so much easier when the GUI admin tools came out years ago - oh, and it made SAMBA actually usable for us average people!

Why is it either-or? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726282)

GUIs are great for repetitive, predictable functions and data visualization.

CLIs are great for ad-hoc processing.

People who need a GUI to do complex processing of a one-off chunk of data are just as incompetent as people who set up a text-based way of monitoring a 4000 node network. They're tools, people, the screwdriver will NEVER replace a hammer.

Steeper Learning Curve (2)

asnelt (1837090) | about 3 years ago | (#35726288)

A command line is more flexible than a GUI could ever be. It just has a steeper learning curve. Since computers are more mainstream these days GUIs are more prevalent. That doesn't decrease the value of command lines though.

Re:Steeper Learning Curve (1)

theweatherelectric (2007596) | about 3 years ago | (#35726416)

A command line is more flexible than a GUI could ever be. It just has a steeper learning curve. Since computers are more mainstream these days GUIs are more prevalent. That doesn't decrease the value of command lines though.

It depends on the task. A command line interface will never be as good as a GUI for image editing, for example. Ultimately, graphical user interfaces and command line interfaces have different strengths and weaknesses. Use whichever one is the most appropriate for the task at hand.

... and a far higher payoff function (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726550)

The difference between a GUI and a CLI is that a CLI rewards understanding with capability.

GUIs are appropriate to non-expert systems where functionality must be patently clear. Think of your smartphone / PDA, or a consumption-oriented computing device (iPhone, iPad, PowerBook).

If you're administering or creating content, you'll eventually want the power of a real scripting tool.

Re:Steeper Learning Curve (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#35726650)

In what way is a command line more flexible. Please be sure to keep your answer relevant to modern GUIs and GUI principles. Don't use a bad GUI design to 'prove' your point unless I can sue bad CLI to 'prove' mine.

The invention of viris... (1)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | about 3 years ago | (#35726336)

I'm not sure if this is the case, yet it seems GUI layers of garbage introduce a layer of viris vulnerabilities. CLI, I'm game with it.

Powershell (2)

jholzer (301249) | about 3 years ago | (#35726342)

cmd.exe is a terrible shell. The new Powershell Microsoft has is pretty nice. I like it more than Unix shells. I find passing objects between commands to be easier. Now Microsoft just needs to dump their console.

remind me again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726344)

how this is news?

Slashdot: News for CEO's, stuff that's obvious!

--stoops

Dark ages of the C:\ prompt (5, Insightful)

Sir Realist (1391555) | about 3 years ago | (#35726348)

Anyone who thinks that a command line prompt starts with a 'C:\' has no idea what they're talking about.

systemd (1)

jvillain (546827) | about 3 years ago | (#35726356)

Systemd will do more to rub out the use of the command line than any thing since the gui. The author has decided for every one that applications should be able to figure every thing out for themselves and passing switches and arguments to them is archaic. This will remove the incentive for application writers to bother adding interfaces to applications that will alter their functionality. That will give us fewer reasons to use the command line. It is a vicious circle.

In the Middle (haha Musical Reference!) (1)

VxJasonxV (792809) | about 3 years ago | (#35726358)

I'm in the middle. I like GUIs for a lot of advanced program usages that I haven't learned on my own yet, but, for example, I've never found a visual DNS utility I liked. They're all just too slow. Classic (read: non-AJAXy) Web Interfaces are worse. Maintaining a router via it's built-in web server is antagonizingly slow.

Having said that, most everything else I do is all command line work.

printf ("Enough Already, World.\n"); (2)

revxul (463513) | about 3 years ago | (#35726360)

The idea that people have to be on either side of the fence is almost as ridiculous as there being a metaphorical fence to begin with. I use a desktop OS (Windows 7) and I love cygwin, which I run in Console2. The two can be used together, you know. There's no need for it to be a black and white discussion -- only useful for making one seem 1337 or 'in the know' and bicker like tools. We have both -- why not love both?

Re:printf ("Enough Already, World.\n"); (2)

rk (6314) | about 3 years ago | (#35726458)

This.

Like peanut butter and chocolate, GUI and CLI are even better together.

Re:printf ("Enough Already, World.\n"); (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726662)

You're damned right they are. The trouble here is that entrenched cultures are incapable of accepting a non-adversarial relationship; something must always be "against" something else. There must always be an X vs. Y thing going on. That's why the average slob on the street thinks the techworld's culture and its people are dumb asses.

Menu driven best for many applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726372)

I still contend that primarily menu-driven terminal(doesn't actually need to be a terminal but it should operate like one) interface, with more complex textual input as appropriate, is the most efficient method of operating many line of business apps. Simple, focused, repeatable and able to be understood by anyone that can read.

The CLI team is pasting from a spreadsheet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726378)

Sounds like a mixture of GUI and CLI.

Is this really a case against GUIs or really a case for more powerful GUIs? GUI doesn't always mean pulling up a form that matches a record and saving it.

For example: What if they had a GUI that displayed the network info in a grid of text boxes with configurable rows and columns? What if they could set up the form to match the spreadsheet's rows/columns and paste the spreadsheet data into the grid and update the network tables that way?

Even MS have come around to this (1)

leathered (780018) | about 3 years ago | (#35726380)

Hence why they came up with Powershell, which I have to say is rather good, and many Server 2008 tasks demand a basic knowledge of it.

Hell it even has grep (findstr), though sadly it hasn't go a worthy sed substitute.

CLI != DOS (4, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | about 3 years ago | (#35726384)

While the C:\ prompt would really be the Dark Ages all over again, command lines done right can be significantly faster to use for experienced admins. Not to mention they can also be used in diverse interface environments like serial connections in almost exactly the same way that they are used anywhere else. It's significantly easier to script from the command line as well.

Just about every shell available on a UNIX-like OS is at least ten times better than DOS ever was. Lumping in bash with DOS is like taking a BMW and saying it is equivalent to a Yugo because they both have four wheels and an internal combustion engine.

There's certainly a place for a GUI, and well designed GUI apps are lifesavers in big environments where seeing a graphical representation of 1000 servers as icons and being able to click and drag to select and execute group commands is a much easier way to work with that many servers. Having 1000 lines of text zoom by is going to be hard to take in at a glance. I love the GUIs that I use for certain tasks like visualization and management of complex environments.

Still, anyone who considers the command line to be the Dark Ages either doesn't know how to type, doesn't understand how to use a CLI, or is simply trying to sell you a pretty GUI app.

The CLI is so awful... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726388)

that the new ubuntu start menu has a part when you can run programs... by typing the names of them!

CLI and GUI both have their place. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726398)

There is some places where their use may overlap, and some places where it doesn't.

A picture is worth a thousand words (2)

bregmata (1749266) | about 3 years ago | (#35726418)

A picture (GUI) is worth a thousand words. Why use a thousand words when one or two CLI words will do?

Right on... (2)

Aphrika (756248) | about 3 years ago | (#35726462)

GUIs are useless at performing repetitive tasks. The emergence of PowerShell on the MS platform in the last few years means I can do stuff that was previously impossible to do - maybe throw user objects around between AD, SQL Server and SharePoint. Heck, even the GUI tools are based on top of the PowerShell commands.

In fact, PowerShell is one of Microsoft's best moves, and something that has sorely been lacking from the Windows platform for too long.

And lets not forget (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | about 3 years ago | (#35726476)

CLIs are also really good for:

1) Configuration differences
2) Compliance logging

My company (www.uplogix.com) makes a device that does these two things for a wide range of advices. It's pretty damned useful. And it doesn't rely on the GUI maker adding useful logging of each step done in the GUI. You have the text session. You know exactly what the user did.

CLI does not equal DOS 6.22 and friends (2)

WasteOfAmmo (526018) | about 3 years ago | (#35726506)

As an avid CLI user on *NIX and Windows I would vehemently object if I was dragged back into the "dark ages" (aka 1980s). It seems that as soon as you mention CLI this is what people bring up for an argument. I suspect these are the same people who have not taken the time to objectively evaluate a modern CLI be it bash or powershell or something similar.

I humbly suggest these are the same people who have never had to log into and click away on a GUI to configure an option because the package does not have any CLI support on 30+ machines. Don't get me wrong, GUIs are great for a great many things but there are many tasks where a good script and a command line beats the GUI hands down. A simple example is turning 70+ machines over in a computer lab to put them in a special "exam state". With scripts and command line this takes literally less than 1 minute to hit all machines. Now I suppose if you had some nice admin tool GUI that allows you to point and click to select a set of actions to perform on each machine or group of machines you could achieve the same thing but I have yet to see it.

Command line? Seriously? (1)

Stooshie (993666) | about 3 years ago | (#35726516)

Goddamn, you can tell this is a site for geeks. People who use command line are about 1% of people who use computers. The reason we all have jobs is because so many people use web sites and software these days. The only reason so many people DO use websites is because they DON'T have to use command line!

scripting (1)

bhenson (1231744) | about 3 years ago | (#35726554)

for scripting things there is nothing like the CLI. only thing i have seen even close is automator on macs

The only problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726570)

I have with most GUI'd applications is that they lack the ability to do batch processing, something that is almost completely lost on most devs especially of smaller tools, I ended injecting my own code into the running processes of some (non OSS) applications to get bloody batch processing into them the way I needed it (this may not be a problem in casual use of course, but when you have to perform the same operation on 5000+ files it is, and when the only tool available is one that lacks the functionality, frankly doing this would've taken a couple of days at least, while poking around the application with a debugger and reversing it only took a few hours...)

The Memory Connection (3, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | about 3 years ago | (#35726594)

Command lines discriminate against those with poor memories. GUIs make it possible for people who can't remember detailed shit to be productive without having to constantly refer to some other resource(s).

I learned English well enough that I rarely require a dictionary, but I was never so lucky with programming languages and other syntaxes. I love my GUI... when it's implemented correctly. Paul Simon wanted his Kodachrome, and I want my GUI.

Why not both? (5, Insightful)

Kenshin (43036) | about 3 years ago | (#35726604)

Why does this always have to degenerate into a Campbell's Chunky Soup "Fork or Spoon" debate? Why not just use the most appropriate interface for the task at hand?

A GUI can be shit for some things, and (unless you live and breathe CLI) a CLI can be too complex and unwieldy for other things.

Re:Why not both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35726682)

Or alternatively you can use a spork

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...