Because FLOSS is handy, isn’t it?

My use of the command line in Linux

Posted by isilanes on April 27, 2006

Many newcomers to Linux are appalled by the apparent need of using the feared CLI (Command Line Interface) in this OS.

This is partly FUD, because most everything can be done in modern Linux desktops that come with major distros (e.g. Xfce under Debian), through a GUI (Graphical User Interface).

However, this post does not try to deny the need of the CLI, but rather stress that an experienced user (if I may call myself so) finds himself doing 99% of his tasks from the command line, just because it is more comfortable and efficient in the long run.

As an example, the data that prompted me to write this: my computer (called Bart) has been up for 63 days so far. I also work on four other computers, called Casandra, Amphiaraus, Orpheus and Arina (through OpenSSH, of course). Part of these 63 days, I have had terminals open in all of the other machines (except Arina, the connection to which is automatically closed after 48h of inactivity, a.k.a. weekends).

All right, so the number of command lines typed in by me during the “lifetime” of these terminals (less than 63 days) are as follows:

Bart: 5047+934+782 (3 simultaneous terminals)
Casandra: 159
Amphiaraus: 114
Orpheus: 6289+4067
Arina: 313+242 (last 3 days only).

This data is not taking into account other terminal windows I have opened and closed in the meantime, and the fact that Amphiaraus has been up only 3 days, and Casandra just 18 (Orpheus 136 days, Arina 194).

Counting only 45 of the 63 days as laborable (5/7), it means I type 400 lines of commands per day, on average! It also means that my computer is keeping track of the last 18000 commands I introduced (not really, because I have set each window to “remember” just the last 1000 commands entered).

A screenshot of an Orpheus terminal below.

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