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There are many topics that tend to come up in a recurring manner around water coolers throughout the Linux blogosphere, and not just the great "Year of" debate, either. No indeed, another shining example more than a little familiar to most of us who spend any time here is the much-abused command line -- specifically, whether it's outlived its usefulness in this era of the GUI. Well guess what? The debate is back! So what shall it be? Has the command line interface outlived its usefulness? Or is there still a place for this trusty old tool?
There's an axiom referred to Betteridge's Law of Headlines, and it reads as follows:
"Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no."
This article's headline is no exception.
It can be answered by the word yes equally well.
As usual, this discusssion mixes scnearios to get to no conclusion, unsurprisingly.
Can a Red Hat admin help a Debian admin? Yes. Can a Windows XP admin help a Windows 7 admin? Sometimes. Well, who cares about admins? They can get proper documentation and help in hundreds of places. Admins are not the problem. The problem with the CLI is anyone but admins. It's ordinary users.
I have never seen anybody advocating removing the CLI from a distro. Even Windows and Mac have their perfectly functional terminals. What's bordering idiocy is trying to help NEWBIES with terminal commands. THIS MUST END AT ONCE.
There's absolutely no need for a Red Hat expert to help an Ubuntu newbie. It's Ubuntu experts who help Ubuntu newbies, which is perfectly fine and it's the way to go, because for an ordinary desktop user THE DESKTOP IS THE OS. The CLI has to be erradicated from tutorials oriented towards ordinary people. I'm not saying just "reduced", but completely removed, banned, exiled. For good. Forever. And now. Never ever again a howto using command lines for Ubuntu desktop users. NEVER.
Over my dead body! I can't imagine a world without GUI (Actually, I can since I'm old enough to have used 8-bit machines on a daily basis...) but I can't either imagine a world without CLI. A GUI is very handy to navigate across folders but as soon as I want to do simple tasks like rm ./*~, the GUI is just inefficient. And I'm not even talking about finding if a specific lib is installed, what version it is, and if it was installed with the package manager or by hand, so I know which route to take to update it eventually. It can by done by GUI... but it's just faster to open a terminal and type "checklib whatever". I made this tiny script in the old days when I used to compile much more than nowadays.
I could give an endless list of cases where the CLI beats the GUI hands down.
The GUI is very good at showing things. It's more pleasant to look at a window full of icons but doing anything beyond clicking them one at a time is just easier with the CLI.
As for removing Bash, please! It just can't be done. You can hide the boot process beyond a pretty picture but in the end, the OS still needs to do a predetermined list of tasks. It's possible to write a monolithic piece of software to do it (I prefer not to even think of the kind of Frankenstein monster that would be.) but, at best, I would call it a non-interactive CLI. The CLI way is just easier to maintain.
As Murphy used to say: If it ain't broken, don't fix it.