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Engineering LibreTexts

01-B.11: How the Shell and CLI Work

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  • GUI vs CLI

    "Under Linux there are GUIs (graphical user interfaces), where you can point and click and drag, and hopefully get work done without first reading lots of documentation. The traditional Unix environment is a CLI (command line interface), where you type commands to tell the computer what to do. That is faster and more powerful, but requires finding out what the commands are." -- from man intro(1)

    There are also many graphical user interfaces (GUIs), but each of them works differently and there is little standardization between them. Experienced users who work with many different Linux distributions therefore find it easier to learn commands that can be used in all varieties of Ubuntu and, indeed, in other Linux distributions as well. However, it is important to note that even experienced users often cut and paste commands (from a guide or manual) into the terminal; they do not memorize them.

    It is important, of course, to know how to use the command line interface (CLI) in the Linux terminal - and anyone who can manage typing, backspacing, and cutting and pasting will be able to use the terminal (it is not any more difficult than that). Many Linux distros do not even include the GUI with their server package, so it is imperative that you are comfortable with and efficient at using the command line interface.

    "UsingTheTerminal" by Chris Perry, Ubuntu Community Help Wiki is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

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