Terminal in Geek

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible, Second Edition
Linux Command Line & Shell Scripting Bible
No, no one is sick or ill. It isn't where buses wait for passengers either. Terminal or the Terminal Window is where geeks type in commands to make the computer do something. Back in the day, when Unix and Linux didn't have graphical user interfaces or GUI (pronounced gooey), geeks typed in commands using a command line interface in a terminal environment. The screen was all text. No fancy graphics where you just click on stuff. Just a blinking cursor on screen waiting for the user to enter a command. Type in a sequence of words or acronyms and the computer does what you ask it to do. Commands follow a syntax, kind of like grammar in English. The syntax follows patterns and you'd have to know what your typing was 'grammatically correct' so the computer does what you ask it to do.

Nowadays, Linux has graphical user interfaces. The thing is most old school linux users still love using terminal commands. It is still the most efficient way to do things in Linux. So inside the graphical interface is a terminal window, a miniaturized terminal environment contained inside a window. It functions in a similar fashion to the CMD or MS-DOS Prompt window in Windows systems.

In the Beginning...was the Command Line
In the Beginning...Was the Command Line
Most operations like say installing software are still performed within a terminal window. Graphical interfaces were just added to make it easier for users to click and choose. Say you're an Ubuntu user and you want to install a piece of software. You open up the Synaptic package manager and tick on a checkbox or two. After Synaptic downloads the needed files, it will launch it's own terminal window and if you choose to view the details, you'll see the commands run on their own in a terminal window.

So the next time you talk to a geek and they mention the 'terminal', you know they're not talking about Rupert Holmes or his song :-)

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