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Why Use The Command Line?

Have you ever noticed in the movies when the “super hacker,”you know, the guy who can break into the ultra-secure military computer in under thirty secondssits down at the computer, he never touches a mouse? It's because movie makers realize that we, as human beings, instinctively know the only way to really get anything done on a computer


is by typing on a keyboard!

Most computer users today are only familiar with the graphical user interface (GUI) and have been taught by vendors and pundits that the command line interface (CLI) is a terri- fying thing of the past. This is unfortunate, because a good command line interface is a marvelously expressive way of communicating with a computer in much the same way the written word is for human beings. It's been said that “graphical user interfaces make easy tasks easy, while command line interfaces make difficult tasks possible” and this is still very true today.

Since Linux is modeled after the Unix family of operating systems, it shares the same rich heritage of command line tools as Unix. Unix came into prominence during the early 1980s (although it was first developed a decade earlier), before the widespread adoption of the graphical user interface and, as a result, developed an extensive command line in- terface instead. In fact, one of the strongest reasons early adopters of Linux chose it over, say, Windows NT was the powerful command line interface which made the “difficult tasks possible.”

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