The Command Line: Nothing to be scared of

It's getting close to Halloween but the Command Line shouldn't be something that you are spooked about. The good old command line has been around for ages.

It's getting close to Halloween but the Command Line shouldn't be something that you are spooked about. The good old command line has been around for ages. And it's still around today and as popular as ever. Why? Because it's extremely powerful, and allows you to get to the root of most operating systems. Sure, the nice GUI-based applications are great and all, but the command line can greatly simplify some tasks.

A common misconception of people that use Windows is that Linux is "too hard" or "not user friendly" because sometimes you need to use the command prompt in Linux. Well, it's true, sometimes you do. But, is this really such a bad thing? Most times, in forums and many other online support resources, the commands needed are clearly laid out that need to be run in order to fix something, etc. You still need steps on what to click on, if you were using a GUI application, right? I think a lot of people panic when somebody mentions they need to use the command line to take care of some task.

In Linux, the command prompt (often called a "shell") is extremely powerful. In fact, so powerful that the entire system can be adminstrated from the command line. In Windows, this is not really possible unless you run special editions of Server that are command-line based instead of GUI-based. But, what's even better about Linux is that since the command line is used for everything, a simple SSH session can give you complete control over a remote system (basically gives you a command prompt running on another system that is over a secure tunnel), which is huge for remote administration.

When doing software updates I choose the command prompt (Applications / System Tools / Terminal) over the GUI-based software installer (System / Add/Remove Software). I can type in a simple "yum search packagename" or "yum upgrade packagename" faster than it takes to open up the Add/Remove Software application. Again though, it's personal preference.

So don't let the command prompt scare you. It's just one of many tools that can be used to run your system. Learn the tools, and you will find out what you've been missing.