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Meet Carla Shroder's New Favorite GUI-Textmode Hybrid Shell, Xiki

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the shades-of-some-others dept.

GUI 176

New submitter trogdoro (3716731) writes with an excerpt from Linux Cookbook author Carla Schroder's enthusiastic introduction to what looks like a tempting tool, combining elements of GUI and text-mode interfaces: Command-line lovers, allow me to introduce you to Xiki, the incredibly interactive, flexible, and revolutionary command shell. I do not use the word "revolutionary" lightly. The command shell has not advanced all that much since the ancient days of Unix. Xiki is a giant leap forward. If you're looking for the Next Big Thing in FOSS, Xiki is it. It's not the first tool meant to combine text and graphic interface, but from the screencast demo, Xiki looks like it gets a lot of things right.

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Oberon? (3, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#47337425)

It looks a bit like Oberon, only without the live graphics objects goodness. (Although admittedly, the "output right behind the command" is more like Smalltalk workplaces...)

Re:Oberon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337623)

if it looked like prince oberon I would be all over that shizz.

Re:Oberon? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#47337687)

Uh..."prince"!? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Oberon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47338031)

yes, prince oberon. the character from game of thrones.

Re:Oberon? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#47338249)

There is no such character in any of the GoT books.

Re:Oberon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47338555)

So? What's your point?

Re:Oberon? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47338699)

His point is: learn to fucking spell "Oberyn"

Re:Oberon? (4, Informative)

ttucker (2884057) | about 5 months ago | (#47339585)

His point is: learn to fucking spell "Oberyn"

That is an uncivil response to a simple error.

Re:Oberon? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#47339625)

Try visiting the front of the White House and yelling appreciatively "I love Osama!"

Re:Oberon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47338793)

Oberyn

The Xiki Wiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337441)

is Tricky

Next Big Thing! (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337467)

That phrase in particular is a pretty serious red flag. It is an obvious attempt to gain publicity and/or investment for something which is nothing particularly novel or new or useful.

If I'm wrong, and the thing is actually practical, please, don't use idiotic tired red-flag buzzwords like that. It turns smart investors off.

Next Big Thing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337587)

You're not wrong. It's just a mockup looking for kickstarter green. Yawn; wake me when I can get the code from github.

And, actually, don't. I'll stick with bash autocomplete, I have no use for over half of the stuff on that promo.

Re:Next Big Thing! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337645)

Yawn; wake me when I can get the code from github.

Did you even look? It takes two seconds of scanning TFA to find the github page.

Re:Next Big Thing! (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 5 months ago | (#47339367)

Practical? Take a look:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

It looks like it just recognizes bash commands and dumps their output into the text buffer. You can then cut and paste it! You can even 'edit' the output: the example shows `df` returning 22% room free on the disk, and the user 'edits' it to 42%. Sounds practical, no?

For those already on VIM: Prefix your commands with `:r!` and VIM will already do this. Granted, you already need to know that `:` starts a command, `!` runs a Bash command, and prefixing it with `r` will dump the output into the current buffer.

Re:Next Big Thing! (1)

goarilla (908067) | about 5 months ago | (#47339591)

You can just press !!, and type your shell command in vim to do the same.

Not convinced (5, Interesting)

mstefanro (1965558) | about 5 months ago | (#47337529)

I believe the tradeoff of CLI is between working more efficiently (by typing commands and not having to use your mouse too often to interrupt your flow)
and a steeper learning curve (learn commands and their params, config file locations and their syntax etc.).

This shell seems to provide a lot of features that most of the people are not interested in, or already use specialized tools for those tasks. It is unclear to me why would one prefer to use such a shell to execute SQL or modify the DOM of a webpage rather than spawn a full-featured querying tool, respectively Firebug.

Their syntax coloring looks pretty poor, and they seem to ask you to "double-click" whenever you want to do anything. I am currently using terminator + fish, which I can highly recommend. It makes me way more productive, has very interesting completion features and uses a really large number of colors to make things more easily distinguishable.

The fact that you can move things around is quite cool, but I don't see any significant advantages, although I've only watched the first ~6 mins of video. Can someone competent perhaps voice his opinion on what does this bring?

Re:Not convinced (4, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#47337603)

It is unclear to me why would one prefer to use such a shell to execute SQL or modify the DOM of a webpage rather than spawn a full-featured querying tool, respectively Firebug.

Some people are concerned that "traditional" specialized tools have uncomposable interfaces. There seems to be some convergence between this and the Hopscotch interface [bracha.org] pioneered by Gilad Bracha. I believe that the aim of both, despite the two being different in approach, is to ultimately give you the tools to make your own (specialized) interfaces on the fly, rather than to force you into having to deal with multitudes of specialized large windows and to constantly "hunt" for UI elements or displays in a lot of noise.

Re:Not convinced (4, Interesting)

blue trane (110704) | about 5 months ago | (#47337615)

"the tradeoff of CLI is between working more efficiently (by typing commands and not having to use your mouse too often to interrupt your flow)
and a steeper learning curve (learn commands and their params, config file locations and their syntax etc.)."

Solution: use natural language to tell the computer what you want to do. "Copy myfile.txt to mydirectory." "Change my password from old to new." "Change the file permissions on myfile.txt so anyone can read or write to it."

Re:Not convinced (2, Funny)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 5 months ago | (#47337669)

Solution: use natural language to tell the computer what you want to do. "Copy myfile.txt to mydirectory." "Change my password from old to new." "Change the file permissions on myfile.txt so anyone can read or write to it."

first you have to say "OK Google" (or "hey SIRI" if you're a hiptard)

Re:Not convinced (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 5 months ago | (#47338945)

first you have to say "OK Google" (or "hey SIRI" if you're a hiptard)

Honestly, all things considered "Siri" is far less obnoxious to say than "OK Google" in my books.

Re:Not convinced (3, Insightful)

mstefanro (1965558) | about 5 months ago | (#47337703)

I am skeptical to the idea tbh. For commonly used commands the effort of learning them is relatively small and the rewards are great (if I ever had to type "change the permissions such that" instead of "chmod" I would just give up and use GUI) .

Re:Not convinced (4, Interesting)

fnj (64210) | about 5 months ago | (#47337707)

Please read Robert Heinlein's The Number of the Beast and then tell me if you still think natural language is appropriate to command computers.

The use of natural language to interact with Star Trek: The Next Generation's computer has an extremely powerful appeal. I read Heinlein's novel prior to the debut of STTNG and I was still impressed by the latter, but my belief in the feasibility of the idea is greatly tempered by the former.

Re:Not convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47339313)

I was about the say the same thing, when I noticed you had already written it.

Fun book though :-)

Re:Not convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337719)

Solution: use natural language

Never thought I'd see that phrase.

Re:Not convinced (5, Insightful)

vtcodger (957785) | about 5 months ago | (#47338327)

Solution: use natural language

Interesting idea. ten to one, you would get a great lesson in how ambiguous "natural language" is. A language that does not distinguish between inclusive and exclusive OR, has no rules for resolving the order/priority of ANDs and ORs when both occur in a clause, and which has a rather cavalier approach to NOT ("Isn't the door open?" is likely to mean "I think the door is open" rather than "Is the door closed?") may not be the ideal medium for communicating your wishes to a box.

Re:Not convinced (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about 5 months ago | (#47339075)

Interesting idea. ten to one, you would get a great lesson in how ambiguous "natural language" is. A language that does not distinguish between inclusive and exclusive OR, has no rules for resolving the order/priority of ANDs and ORs when both occur in a clause, and which has a rather cavalier approach to NOT ("Isn't the door open?" is likely to mean "I think the door is open" rather than "Is the door closed?") may not be the ideal medium for communicating your wishes to a box.

Humans can distinguish such ambiguous language constructs. For example: "I once saw a deer riding my bicycle." Although there are at least two ways to interpret the sentence, only one makes sense in nearly all contexts. Now since I am able to figure it out, it stands to reason that sufficiently intelligent algorithm can do the same.

Worst case scenario, if the language interpreter cannot figure it out, it does what humans do in the same situation: it asks for clarification.

Re:Not convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47339085)

Now since I am able to figure it out, it stands to reason that sufficiently intelligent algorithm can do the same.

The premise of "strong AI." They've been saying that for 50 years. What's the answer? "More computing power!" But all the evidence points to us using the wrong approach.

Re:Not convinced (3, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 5 months ago | (#47339405)

You probably aren't using enough Object Oriented Programming. I mean, XML. I mean, Agile Methods. I mean, Big Data. I mean, Cloud. I mean. . .

ithkuil (2)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | about 5 months ago | (#47339281)

"natural langauges" are too imprecise. Even native speakers often get confused talking to each other. It's just that most people don't notice the back and forth with clarifying questions since it comes "naturally". It seems that for any high level of natural language processing a fully sentient AI would be needed for the interpreter.

An interesting experiment might be to use ithkuil [ithkuil.net] for the UI at first to reduce ambiguity and imprecision. That might make it easier to gauge how much AI would ultimately be needed.

Re:Not convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337857)

Scotty: Computer? Computer?
McCoy: (hands Scotty the mouse)
Scotty: (speaking into mouse) Hello Computer?
Plant Manager: Just use the keyboard.
Scotty: A keyboard. How quaint.

Re:Not convinced (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about 5 months ago | (#47337909)

which quickly gets tiresome because of how much text you end up typing.

instead of:
passwd
cp myfile.txt /dir/
chmod 777 myfile.txt

Re:Not convinced (5, Insightful)

Livius (318358) | about 5 months ago | (#47338349)

Solution: use natural language to tell the computer what you want to do.

Because we all know that all programmers do is follow the requirements document from the client, which never requires any clarification/investigation/analysis/follow-up/etc.

Re: Not convinced (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 5 months ago | (#47338731)

Natural language is both ambiguous and unprecise.

Converting it to a programming language forces you to be specific about what you really want.

Re: Not convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47338981)

> Natural language is both ambiguous and unprecise.

Imprecise?

Re:Not convinced (1)

brer_rabbit (195413) | about 5 months ago | (#47339013)

I'm all for the natural language approach. I'm holding off til I can say something like "give me a histogram of all occurences of this regex across all files in subdirectory X....". Til that time it's a pipeline of grep/sort/uniq.

Re:Not convinced (1)

stjobe (78285) | about 5 months ago | (#47339285)

Solution: use natural language to tell the computer what you want to do.

It's hard to wreck a nice beach.

Re:Not convinced (3, Interesting)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 5 months ago | (#47339389)

Unfortunately, natural language is less powerful than the CLI. The problem is that it is very difficult to express a sequence of instructions in a natural language. Very quickly, you end up with paragraphs full of clarifications, which look very much like legal documents (legal documents are in fact an early attempt at using natural language to express precise ideas - and it just doesn't work very well either).

A CLI is simpler and more regular than natural language, and succeeds in allowing complex instructions to be expressed in few words.

Re:Not convinced (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 5 months ago | (#47337653)

I am currently using terminator + fish, which I can highly recommend. It makes me way more productive, has very interesting completion features and uses a really large number of colors to make things more easily distinguishable.

you say that your terminal interface makes you more productive, and yet here you are commenting on slashdot. which one is it?

Re:Not convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337699)

The time saved by using a better interface is subsequently wasted^H^H^H^H^H invested in browsing slashdot.

Re:Not convinced (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47338559)

he posted from lynx

Re:Not convinced (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#47337779)

Other advantages of a CLI:
1. You can save the sequence of commands in a script, edit the script, and re-run it later, perhaps on different computers.
2. You can run commands in a remote SSH session.
3. You are learning skills that are applicable across a wide variety of Unix-like OSes.
4. You are learning to use powerful and flexible tools that can be piped together to automate complex tasks.

Re:Not convinced (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47339261)

Another one:
5. You are learning skills that will likely be useful for decades.

Unlike GUIs, the *nix shell hasn't changed that much since the nineteen-seventies. [1] [2]

Thanks to the Unix Philosophy [3], the system is more future-proof than other operating systems.
I don't think it would be unreasable to expect it to still look, feel, and work similar in, say, the fifties.

[1] Screenshot of Unix Version 6, released 39 years ago in 1975 [wikimedia.org]
[2] This site will let you emulate Unix V6 in your browser [pdp11.aiju.de]
[3] "Basics of the Unix Philosophy" [faqs.org]

Re:Not convinced (5, Insightful)

lars_stefan_axelsson (236283) | about 5 months ago | (#47339377)

And also something I came to value when working in industry and developing both cli and GUI admin tools for telecoms equipment:

You can easily document, email and (to a lesser extent) talk about a cli. A GUI not so much. When you've tried to walk someone through finding the hidden option in a GUI over the phone for the tenth time you're ready to tear your hair out. With a cli you can just email some commands and that's that. Documenting a GUI invariably devolved to a lot of screenshots which makes any workflow tens of pages long, instead of ten lines of commands which you then have ample space to explain and comment on. It's also much easier to read and follow along as you're e.g. installing, than leafing through screenshot after screenshot.

Re:Not convinced (4, Interesting)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | about 5 months ago | (#47337821)

I believe the tradeoff of CLI is between working more efficiently (by typing commands and not having to use your mouse too often to interrupt your flow)
and a steeper learning curve (learn commands and their params, config file locations and their syntax etc.).

For me, the primary benefit of a CLI, when presented by a decent shell, is the flexibility and power of being able to write and run tiny programs whenever it helps.

A CLI not backed by a decent shell is miserable, as was demonstrated by ms-dos.

Re:Not convinced (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 5 months ago | (#47338147)

A CLI not backed by a decent shell is miserable, as was demonstrated by ms-dos.

Eh, doskey made it okay. And what can't be done with a .bat file? :-)

Re:Not convinced (3, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 months ago | (#47338523)

And what can't be done with a .bat file?

Every time I have to write a .bat file, I consider whether it would be more comfortable to stab myself with a fork. After I am done, the answer is always that I'd rather have stabbed myself with a fork.

Re:Not convinced (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47338863)

No, it didn't.
Tab completion made it okay. DOSShell just helped to make things less painful to re-run something that was run in the past. And that's assuming that you already ran DOSShell in the past.
Of course, that didn't come along to consumer-targeted operating systems until after the turn of the century, and by then MS-DOS was just a bundled component of some product named after a graphical interface.
For those who wanted a decent shell before then, JP Software's 4DOS was the best option. Those who had a copy of certain versions of Norton software may have been familiar with this product by the name NDOS. These products provided more functionality and were able to use less of the most scarce categorization of memory.

Regarding what can't be done with a .bat file, the answer is: nothing. After all, a batch file could run LoadLin which could load Linux. However, what couldn't be done without a batch file if you weren't relying on external executable files? A lot. Getting user input comes to mind.

I'm fully aware of what can be done with batch files. For fun, I wrote a virus in batch, targeting a specific computer lab so that the software would spread among floppy disks from one machine to another, infecting both hard drives and floppies. The software even backed up changed files (like AutoExec.bat), and checked for a parameter to run a cleaning subroutine that would restore the unaffected files. Despite such accomplishments, I never felt like Batch was a versatile as, well, anything else I've used, including BASIC. User input and conditions were not easily handled.

Re:Not convinced (2)

sootman (158191) | about 5 months ago | (#47337969)

Agree. I watched the "can your shell do this?" video and saw nothing that I would want a shell to do.

He built a shell that does cool things he wants? Great. I could build a shell that does neat things I want it to, but I don't think anyone else would want to download it.

Re:Not convinced (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 5 months ago | (#47339321)

I for one am constantly aching for a CLI that can play musical notes. It's an essential feature and one I cannot possibly do without.

Re:Not convinced (2)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 5 months ago | (#47338121)

I believe the tradeoff of CLI is between working more efficiently (by typing commands and not having to use your mouse too often to interrupt your flow)

If they did it right, one should be able to navigate entirely using the keyboard, the mouse being optional.

Re:Not convinced (1)

trogdoro (3716731) | about 5 months ago | (#47338409)

You can do everything without the mouse! There's even a text-only keyboard-only equivalent of right-clicking. I rarely use the mouse, but it's helpful when demo-ing, and making it seem approachable to new users.

Re:Not convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47339893)

But the mouse is faster than the keyboard. So the true CLI tradeoff isn't gaining speed, losing learnability. It's gaining flexibility and composability, losing speed.

Re:Not convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47339901)

i'm not convinced either, but for different reasons..

i saw mention of ruby and quit reading right there

Ho.. hum (-1)

Trachman (3499895) | about 5 months ago | (#47337543)

There is no Xiki yet. The link merely represents link to the kickstarter and this is fundraising article. Good audience, and insipirational idea how to kicstart your own project using slashdot audience.

Re:Ho.. hum (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337599)

https://github.com/trogdoro/xi... [github.com]

trogdoro? someone likes strongbad

Re:Ho.. hum (1)

trogdoro (3716731) | about 5 months ago | (#47338415)

Indeed. I looove strongbad/hsr :) Those guys were geniuses, imo.

Re:Ho.. hum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337609)

Follow the links to github.

It is available !

The kickstart is for additional work

Re:Ho.. hum (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337619)

There is no Xiki yet.

That's odd... what did I just find here [github.com] ?

Re:Ho.. hum (5, Informative)

trogdoro (3716731) | about 5 months ago | (#47338425)

Indeed. It's been out there, and I've been doing live demos of it for years. At RubyConf, QCon, Strange Loop, and about 20 usergroup presentations. The problem is the installer sucks, and people are confused by how to start using it, which the Kickstarter is meant to address. I'm going to post a new video showing some progress on addressing the latter issue very soon.

Welcome to Macintosh Programmers Workshop, 1985 (2, Interesting)

buserror (115301) | about 5 months ago | (#47337639)

The "commands everywhere, hit enter to resample them" existed back then for macintosh programmers Workshop, as many developers will remember. Basically there were no need for real 'scripts', you could type commands, hit 'enter' then hit 'undo' and 'enter' again to re-run it, and yes you could 'execute' anything you selected.

That was the only use I had for the 'enter' key of the numeric keypad of the old mac's keyboard in fact.

So, revolutionary... hmmm. I also reimplemented JUST that as a text-input extension quite a few years ago for OSx, where I could do pretty much exactly that from any text editor on the mac, like SubEthaEdit etc.

Re:Welcome to Macintosh Programmers Workshop, 1985 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337755)

I used to love blowing people's minds with MPW when they said silly things like "the Mac doesn't have a command line." :)

Commando was an excellent feature, and when they applied it to A/UX I thought, "someday all Unix boxes will work like this." How wrong I was; they only became more fragmented.

Re:Welcome to Macintosh Programmers Workshop, 1985 (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 5 months ago | (#47338251)

But go back in time further and people were experimenting with graphical interfaces combined with a CLI. Even the Smalltalk 80 systems could be said to be an integration of graphical interface with a command line (the command line being the "workspace" window). And of course Lisp machines and their combined graphics with a more conventional CLI.

It's sort of like the history of computing is completely blank to people before the introduction of PC and Macintosh. Or maybe it's Babbage and Lady Lovelace, then a missing century where nothing happened, then poof, the PC and DOS appears.

Re:Welcome to Macintosh Programmers Workshop, 1985 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47338511)

Yeah, I'm well aware of the precedents... and how few people actually saw them in action.

It's not so much that history was completely blank before PC and Mac, just that it was nearly invisible.

Tell me that you knew about that stuff before 1981, and I won't believe you (unless you were working at Xerox PARC or Stanford labs in the 1970s)

Re:Welcome to Macintosh Programmers Workshop, 1985 (4, Interesting)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | about 5 months ago | (#47338373)

Believe it or not, using 2260 terminals connected to an IBM 360 mainframe running MVT/ASP, I was able to rerun commands anywhere on the screen back in 1973!

Commodore (2)

Lorens (597774) | about 5 months ago | (#47339553)

The "commands everywhere, hit enter to resample them" existed back then for macintosh programmers Workshop

The Commodore interface was like that too.

Xiki Sucks.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337721)

..Because it does not support vim. Also, what problems does it solve exactly?

Re:Xiki Sucks.. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337747)

It smells like hipsters.

Re:Xiki Sucks.. (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 5 months ago | (#47337929)

yes.. the references to javascript and ruby are dead giveaways. I don't want javascript or ruby anywhere near my command line.

Re:Xiki Sucks.. (1)

ghettoimp (876408) | about 5 months ago | (#47338493)

A pity. Every time I convert a shell script into a ruby script, the world gets just a little better.

Re:Xiki Sucks.. (-1, Flamebait)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | about 5 months ago | (#47337749)

Some of us might consider that a feature.

Re:Xiki Sucks.. (4, Informative)

smallfries (601545) | about 5 months ago | (#47339327)

Also I went through a phase of doing most of this inside vim anyway. It was a time when I was doing a lot of string manipulation in bash with long complex pipelines and I needed to explicitly show the state / track the output of each component.

In vim you just need to keep a :r! at the beginning of each command line, to execute just check that you are in command mode with esc then select the cmd line and middle click to execute, allows piping in results by selecting the input and dropping the r to get :!. There is no support for custom hit regions for the mouse, but in compensation it works everywhere already.

If you already use vim, then having access to vim motions and commands to edit output makes for a surprisingly good shell.

Too many security issues. (5, Insightful)

shellster_dude (1261444) | about 5 months ago | (#47337803)

The command placement and directory browsing is cool, but I don't want any command line that accidentally runs things when I click on them. I don't want any command line that tries to interpret my input as multiple scripting languages. Both of those sound like a security disaster.

Onions have layers...shells have layers? (1)

dacarr (562277) | about 5 months ago | (#47337941)

So, lemme see if I have this right.

This is a new take on a shell.

...which is run from within my editor of choice, emacs.

...which I run in a shell.

...which I run from an xterm, which I spawn in the gui.

Or, maybe, I run it in a browser.

...which I spawn from an icon in Gnome.

I'm not seeing how this is a Good Thing.

Re:Onions have layers...shells have layers? (3, Funny)

jrumney (197329) | about 5 months ago | (#47338517)

...which is run from within my editor of choice, emacs.

...which I run in a shell.

You seem to be confused about the program that emacs is replacing. It is not replacing vi, it is replacing init. Once you realize that, you will find it perfectly natural to run your shell inside Emacs.

Re:Onions have layers...shells have layers? (0)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about 5 months ago | (#47339115)

I tried running emacs from the emacs shell and got the error
emacs: Terminal type "dumb" is not powerful enough to run Emacs.

I am somber.

Double clicking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337945)

The major selling point seems to be that you can just double click after typing things.
Why would I want that when I can just hit enter?

Re:Double clicking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47337997)

The major selling point seems to be that you can just double click after typing things.
Why would I want that when I can just hit enter?

Did you watch the video? You can type a command and hit Ctrl+Enter or Cmd+Enter to run it.

Why would I want it to run the command when I just hit 'Enter'? (normally you want that to transmit a newline)

don't need, already have emacs. (1)

SilentTristero (99253) | about 5 months ago | (#47337975)

Emacs does all this, or at least what I need from it, but without the weird interface. Or maybe with a weirder interface.

Re:don't need, already have emacs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47338753)

Yep. I've been doing most of that for *years* . . . with Emacs.

what if you could.... (4, Insightful)

Trailer Trash (60756) | about 5 months ago | (#47337993)

nut kick the guy who keeps asking "what if you could...." in the screencast? That got annoying real fast.

Re:what if you could.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47338285)

More annoying with a high squeaky voice

Not for me. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47338005)

I'll stick with zsh and tmux and being a super awesome typist for now.

Re:Not for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47338281)

I'll stick with zsh and tmux and being a super awesome typist for now.

Me too. What is this supposed to be, a command line + extra crap.

What's old is new again ... (3, Interesting)

MacTO (1161105) | about 5 months ago | (#47338027)

MPW did something similar, only they used their own command set. This had a unique benefit: the output from MPW utilities often included commands that could be executed by clicking on the line with your mouse and pressing enter. It worked very well since the utilities themselves generated those executable commands, and users could extend upon the system with their own utilities. (MPW was a development environment after all.)

Here's the thing though, Xiki cannot do that because its trying to use existing Unix utilities and development tools. While the output from that software is usually intended to be used by other software (e.g. via pipes), it is rarely intended to be used by the shell itself. That means Xiki needs to understand how to interact with each piece of software. As a result, it will end up being an unwieldy mess of plugins and unsupported commands.

Don't get me wrong. The Xiki demos were doing some pretty neat and fairly useful stuff. In that sense, it is a success. The problem is that you'll never be able to use the full power of the metaphor because the software that it interacts with was never designed to interact in the way Xiki needs it to.

Re:What's old is new again ... (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 5 months ago | (#47338221)

This was something done with Lisp Machines as well. Symbolics Inc with their Genera operating system combined CLI with the GUI, and you could get a list of valid command options and then either click on the option you want or just type it in.

Re:What's old is new again ... (5, Informative)

trogdoro (3716731) | about 5 months ago | (#47338445)

There's a simple metaphor of "text-in, text-out" that xiki stays true to. It interacts with shell commands, scripts, text files, just about anything. You can call a shell command directly, wrap some lightweight code around it let its output be interactive, or wrap a full script around it. > it is rarely intended to be used by the shell itself I'm going to be post a new video very soon showing a new way of jumping quickly back and forth between your standard shell and Xiki, and making them work together, which I think is a missing piece that solves some of the awkwardness you allude to. I wish I'd gotten it out there before this thread!

Re:What's old is new again ... (1)

Indigo (2453) | about 5 months ago | (#47338779)

Sounds interesting. Will be on the lookout for it.

Re:What's old is new again ... (1)

Indigo (2453) | about 5 months ago | (#47338773)

MPW - that brings back some good memories. What a great development environment. Crunchy CLI-based power and scriptability wrapped in chewy GUI editing and ease-of-use. I miss using that every day.

Was skeptical, but... (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 5 months ago | (#47338105)

I was pretty skeptical that this would just be a CLI superfluously decorated with GUI candy, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised. At the very least, this has potential.

Good lord, another shell written in ruby? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47338171)

Didn't we have some poorly written hack job of a shell a while back on /.

Something about a git shell?

http://developers.slashdot.org... [slashdot.org]

If it involves some crap written in ruby, can we just assume its a bad idea? Also what is it with ruby devs being publicity whores?

Ruby / Emacs hybrid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47338217)

Is something like that useful? Yup. Several systems have provided it in the past.

But this implementation just seems like a mess: a Ruby/Emacs hybrid that hides Emacs?

The whole point of a shell (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 5 months ago | (#47338501)

The whole point of a shell is to not need the mouse. Keyboarding is inherently faster than mousing -- you're using 8 fingers, not one pointer -- especially if you're a touch typist.

Being able to put your commands in a script for re-execution is an added bonus.

Re:The whole point of a shell (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 5 months ago | (#47338507)

The whole approach reminds me of a "graphical programming" tool for web interfaces that I used a few years back. While I was intrigued to try something new, I soon realized it was the slowest and clumsiest means of programming I had ever used, and just as prone to errors (though not syntax errors -- but those are but a small fraction of the mistakes programmers make, especially with any decent syntax highlighting editor.)

Re:The whole point of a shell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47340009)

The good thing about a shell isn't that you don't use the mouse, it's that you can combine things together, use and and or and if and unless, copy your transscript to another window or to a file (long as you have a blank $PS2), etc...

And you use the mouse all the time even in a normal shell. Copy and paste.

And there's ctrl-enter, although I can't see myself ever using it when there's the mouse.

For me the icky thing about Xiki is having to use Ruby and insistence (to a degree) on running in a terminal emulator. If the Ruby thing is to avoid having to start up an interpreter in a different (and insulated) process every time you want to run a script, shells like rc and es get functions (superset of aliases) and everything from the environment, so an rc within an rc within an rc never feels like a separate thing.

What if... (1)

Excelcia (906188) | about 5 months ago | (#47338541)

What if you could have a shell you had to sit out and plan a custom UI for? What if you had a shell that took one of your most excellently trained typing hands away from the keyboard every command or two to make you do stuff with the mouse. What if you had to pay kickstarter money to get this shell rather than stick with existing open source tools?

++notinterested. I'm not even sure why I'm taking the time t

Selecting files (1)

kimhanse (60133) | about 5 months ago | (#47339311)

The one thing I have felt that GUI does better than CLI is selecting some files out of others where a glob can't handle the selection. I didn't see anything in the "what if" screencast about that, will Xiki help me there?

Oh, hey, someone invented Plan 9 (1)

seebs (15766) | about 5 months ago | (#47339573)

Glad to see that things I was hearing about back in college, and used to experiment with Unix ports of in the early 90s, and which were also found in the pre-OSX Mac dev environment, are being reinvented as though they were new.

Reminds me of iPython notebook (1)

pieleric (917714) | about 5 months ago | (#47340029)

This reminds me of iPython notebook [ipython.org] . It allows to run/re-run python commands and display either text or graphics. You can also insert "formated comments", save a session, and share it. It's now reaching a good maturity, and is becoming a kind of "python" killer apps for scientists.

As a side note, in addition to Python, it accepts shell commands, when preceding them with a !, to it could even replace a normal shell.

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