Experiencing some “shell shock”

Now that my computer is running the virtual machine properly, I’ve been trying to get comfortable with using the Linux command line. I can see the value of using the command line because it allows you to work with many files at once, and it gives you greater control of your computer. Anything you can imagine doing with a file, you can probably do. But I have to admit that the lack of a graphical user interface is throwing me off. I’m not used to seeing this:

Copy using the "cp" command

Copy using the “cp” command, viewing the results with “ls”

instead of this:

Your typical Windows right click+copy.

Your typical Windows right click+copy.

The notion of controlling your computer using only the keyboard is alien to me, as is the idea of a computer being silent – a.k.a, not informing you of the results of a command unless you ask it to. Navigation is also quite different without the visual cues that I usually take for granted. It’s so much easier to get lost on my computer without the little file and folder icons to tell me where I am!

Using the command line is forcing me to think of my computer in a new way. I think I will be really happy if, by the end of the semester, I am as comfortable navigating with the Linux shell as I am on my non-virtual computer. Ultimately I would like to become comfortable enough to write my own strings of commands and programs, and automate the research tasks that take me the most time – searching for relevant files, downloading and organizing them, and creating bibliographies and indexes. More practice is definitely in order.


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