Index Home gPress Newsletter Hyperlinks About This Site Preferences Register Login


(posts: 10)

(posts: 1)

(posts: 1)

(posts: 6)

(posts: 3)

(posts: 1)

(posts: 6)

My Works
(posts: 6)

(posts: 2)

(posts: 3)

(posts: 1)


Choosing a Linux Distribution, Part II

Choosing A Linux Distribution, Part I

Terminal Dreams, Part II

Terminal Dreams, Part I

Debugging Subscription Problems

Basic Aspects of Programming

Choosing a Popular OS

Virtual Dice Games

Too Quick For You

Introducing gPress

sort by:

Terminal Dreams, Part II

Terminal Dreams, Part II

As of the time of this writing, it's been about a day since my adventure in attempting to use the terminal for all tasks began. This will be somewhat abbreviated compared to the last post, for the purpose of getting it online in a reasonable time.

The first thing to note is that the experiment wasn't an unqualified success, but it could have been if I had been more persistent (or prepared). I ran into a problem that initially seemed to require the use of a web application, and since support for these is largely nonexistent from the command line, I'm sorry to note that I resorted to my mobile device to get past the issue (as I recall, it was my password manager). As it turned out, that lapse could have been avoided, but I didn't have the patience to work it out when I was attempting to get past whatever authentication request I had run into.

One day isn't sufficient time to get acclimated to this environment (even though I had some experience already). I spent a lot of my day yesterday trying to either remember or learn the various steps necessary to do something I would have taken for granted before. This initial learning curve and setup process is a serious impediment towards using a CLI environment on a regular basis. The time you save by being focused on your work can be offset by the time it takes to get something running in the first place, and it is easier to change how you use a GUI than it is to learn about all of the 'gotchas' that might hinder your CLI usage.

The main problems I ran into that I couldn't directly resolve in the time frame:

  • As mentioned before, since CLI browsers don't support much in the way of web applications, my usual music streaming service seemed right out. I never did resolve this, although I've heard claims that streaming videos (and thus audio) should be possible. I got around this by listening to local m4a files, but technically the problem was left unresolved.
  • Websites in general don't render well. I ran into trouble trying to view images or PDF files, although I did get to view them by downloading files (and, in the PDF's case, converting it). More seriously for a web developer, though, I don't have a reliable way to see what a website will look like in a GUI browser. I ended up using my mobile device for that (I didn't consider that cheating, since it is normal to use multiple devices in web testing). However, this is unfortunate when you're used to the responsive tools modern browsers offer you.
  • Bitwarden's CLI option technically works, but it's a bear to actually use it. My experience largely came down to searching for a password entry, and then manually typing it into whatever wanted it. Well, I was doing that before password managers came along. Surely there's got to be a better way to do this, even if it's just copy-and-paste. If I looked into this, I'd probably find something, but I was busy with other things and didn't get around to it in this time period.
  • MySQL seems to have limited CLI options that don't involve memorizing a dictionary's worth of commands and syntax. I found an alternative option, but it's still painful compared to the GUI world that I'm used to. Since I expect to be doing things with SQL very soon, this is probably the main reason why I'm not inclined to stick with the CLI experiment for longer.
  • I never did find out about any really viable CLI graphic editors, although I suspect I could have found one if I looked for DOS software.
  • An unfortunate reality, indicated by the web issues mentioned above, is that most modern websites assume you have a modern browser available and don't bother to support anything else. Thus, if you haven't prepared yourself in advance of your CLI experience, it's possible you'll stumble into a situation where you can't get by on your own power. Any website that depends on JavaScript tends to be a culprit here. I'm always pleasantly surprised by how Facebook has managed to make a reasonable version of their page for low-spec machines (, but not many others have followed their lead. I suspect that configuring and accessing my website, given the tools and setup my server host has, would have been impossible if it hadn't already been done.

    It's been an interesting and reasonably productive and educational experience. As you may have surmised by now, I intend to avoid a second consecutive day of terminal use, but I wouldn't rule out doing this sort of thing again in the future, even if it is for somewhat shorter stretches.

    Stay tuned for another article, exploring some of my thoughts on the differences between the CLI and GUI paradigms.