For years, I’ve been saying or writing that you don’t need to know how to use the command line to use Linux effectively. I’ve helped more than a few people over the years migrate to Linux, and none of them have cracked open a terminal window. Guess what? They’re getting what they need to get done using graphical applications. And nothing else.
But here we are in 2022 and I’m still trying to break that myth. Over the years, and quite a few times in recent months, have tried to call me out over that. They’ve pointed to articles and blog posts written about the command line as proof to contrary. As proof that the command line is essential if you want to use Linux.
I don’t deny that I use the command line — mainly to make some complicated tasks simple. That said, I’m definitely not a command line master. Far from it. I know just enough to be dangerous, to carry out a few tasks. At most, I spend 5% of my computing time in a terminal window.
That time isn’t spent doing anything complex. So, what do I use the command line for? Here’s most of what I do in a terminal window:
- Read RSS feeds with newsboat.
- Convert files using pandoc.
- Publish a couple of websites using GitLab Pages.
- Use three or four simple scripts (which I cobbled together through trial and a lot of error or which were written by people I know) to automate tasks — scripts like this one.
And not much more than that. Hardly the behaviour of a seasoned, hardened, deeply technical command line guru, is it?