Open Source

Yes, you can use Linux without knowing the command line

For those who've shied away from Linux because it seems complicated, Jack Wallen is here to bust the myth that the Linux desktop cannot be used without knowing how to use the command line.

If there's one thing surrounding Linux usage that bothers me more than anything else, it's when the detractors say you cannot work with Linux without knowing the command line. This is a bit of FUD — fear, uncertainty, and doubt — that keeps new users from giving the open source platform a try. I'm here, right now, to dispel that myth.

SEE: IT pro's guide to working smarter with Linux (Tech Pro Research)

When I first started using Linux back in the late 90s, there was no way to avoid the command line. In fact, most everything I did was typing commands. Over the years, that's changed to the point you can go your entire Linux desktop existence without ever having to touch a terminal.

As a new user, you don't want to have to type commands. You want everything handled by a pretty GUI. As you should. Linux can do just that. Many of the modern desktop interfaces have done a great job of covering everything that once required a command—at least on the new-user level. Need to configure networking? GUI. Need to extract a zip file? GUI. Need to manage file permissions? GUI. Install, update, or configure applications? You guessed it: GUI.

This, of course, applies mostly to the desktop. If you're looking at working with Linux on a server, you better be prepared to work with the command line. But as far as everyday, desktop usage, you don't ever have to touch the command line. Unless you want to.

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Image: Jack Wallen

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website

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