Wednesday, January 05, 2005


The Command Line in 2004

Those of us started using computers in the era of the DEC-10 and TRS-80 and later MS-DOS 1.0 (which was easy to learn because it was so similar to the DEC-10 operating system) were at home with the command line.

Then came the Macintosh (Amiga, Atari ST, etc.) with no command line. I remember wondering how I could use the Mac without a command line. On my old Amiga, I would just break down and launch the CLI (command line interface) so I could get everything just right.

Fast forward 25-30 years. I now (finally) have a Mac that runs OS X. And guess what? It has a little application that lets me open up a Unix window so I can issue command line instructions--not that I do, however.

Well Neal Stephenson (famous SciFi author) wrote an essay (In the beginning was the Command Line) that was passed around the internet a few years back. I printed off a copy and carried it around with me for about 2 years. When I was stuck in a waiting room or in a long line, I would pull it out and read several paragraphs. I eventually finished it. Boy, do I wish I could think and write like that.

Anyway, in the true spirit of standing the shoulders of giants, some guy has updated the essay. Check it out.

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