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Re: [tlug] Arcane command-line (Was: epcEditor)

>>>>> "Matt" == Matt Doughty <> writes:

    Matt> I think that the power of the command line is in its
    Matt> berevity,

You must just pine for TECO, then.

    Matt> and much like programming languages if you make it more
    Matt> readable/verbose you negatively affect their power (see:
    Matt> cobol).

Interesting argument.  But I tend to disagree.  I like the GNU long
options, because often I can just guess what the right options are.
Eg, the other day I was mucking with ipchains for the first time in a
while, and I wanted to shut out the guy hammering on port 8473.  (It
was generating a lot of log entries.)  Without reading the manual, I
hit on

            ipchains -A input --destination-port 8473 DENY

Of course I then got a syntax error and had to read the manual anyway,
but that's not bad for just guessing, is it?

I think the real power of the command line is that it is _not_ "much
like" a programming language, it _is_ a programming language.  For
example, Steve Baur wrote a BASIC interpreter in ksh once.  The point
is that it has a rich, expressive syntax.

The weakness of GUI, as I realized well after writing my previous
screed, is that current GUI tools provide no syntax beyond "collection
of items in a box."  With the single exception of the spreadsheet,
there is no common GUI with an _input_ syntax beyond "collection".
Sure, even Athena provides a tree widget, but it doesn't allow you to
rewrite that tree.  Glade just allows you to collect a bunch of
widgets.  Etc.

Of course there's some CAD and CASE available, but not for the kinds
of purposes that we use shells for.

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
              Don't ask how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.

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