Some people seem to think that the days of typing keyboard commands are long gone with the days of DOS. Some people know that you can still use a command line terminal, but are scared of how complicated it looks. All that they would have to do is learn how to use it, and then they would see the benefits of knowing how useful it can be! There are some tasks where a GUI would just make the process feel awkward and clumsy. Simple tasks such as copying files or creating directories are all done more elegantly through the terminal. With a GUI, you will be clicking on items with your mouse and dragging them across the screen. In the terminal, this can all be accomplished without lifting your hand from the keyboard.

While I was reading up on the terminal, I realized how many features there are that I hadn’t known of. One of the more interesting commands I encountered was the “expr” command. This command allows you to use your terminal as a calculator, by typing in a mathematical expression. The result will be displayed on the screen. The terminal doesn’t only support simple commands and functions. You can also write complex scripts for it, making use of loops, conditionals and other features found in more advanced programming languages.

Personally, when I use a console based program, I feel like I have more control of what I’m getting the program to do. There are usually many options that you can set when you’re entering a command. This allows you to do what you want without looking through dozens of menus and windows. There aren’t as many distractions when you’re working with the terminal, as everything is made up entirely of text. This allows you to see what the current state of the program is, without being overwhelmed by visual bloat.

When you know how to use a terminal program, it is extremely easy to learn how to use a new one. As for graphical programs, using a new one may force you to learn the flow of the interface all over again. It will probably take at least a few minutes just to find your way around all the subtle differences. In the worst case scenario, the program might have a completely different layout than anything you’re used to, which may catch you off guard.

Just as there are benefits to using terminal programs, there are many times where a GUI program would be much more suitable. For example, look at a complex program like a 3D modeller. Using programs like that in the terminal would be next to impossible, especially for a less-technical computer user. Graphical user interfaces have made computers much more accessible, allowing users to get things done without hassle. However, I would suggest to anyone who only uses graphical programs, to step outside your comfort zone and give the terminal a chance!


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