OBSIDIANLAKE

Writing down my thoughts once ince a while

The Linux shell

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Some of the not so convinced Linux users argue that it should loose the shell dependency if it really wants to enter the desktop market. As I said before, I don’t think Linux wants to enter any market, but that’s not what I’m talking about right now. So, they say that Linux forces users to learn how to use the shell and that, basically, Linux can’t do anything without it.

A shell is the user’s interface to the operating system and the command line shell is the most basic shell on Linux. Why do some people think that the command line should disappear? I mean even Windows has a command line (command.exe or cmd.exe on NT based versions).

Be it graphical or text, it is still the shell that starts when you log in to your system and it is the shell that starts your other programs. Unlike Linux, with Windows, if a higher level application crashes, possibly even the graphical desktop itself, you’re left with nothing but a locked up computer. With Linux, it’s possible, almost every time, to return to the command line if your desktop crashed for some unknown reason. There you can also view some debugging information to find out what exactly made your desktop crash.

How many times has your desktop crashed on Windows and you had no idea what the error was?

Linux does not only give you the possibility to fix your problem and then start your desktop again, but it also saves you from ruining your entire hard drive by hard rebooting your computer.

Even if Linux does hang up, it is much better at it, believe it or not. The magic SysRq key is a key combination in the Linux kernel which allows the user to perform various low level commands regardless of the system’s state using the SysRq key. It is often used to recover from freezes, or to reboot a computer without corrupting the filesystem. So you can use it to flush the disk cache, unmount your partitions and reboot safely.

Text shells are probably the only applications that never crash (I have never experienced bash crashing since I started using Linux, nor have I had cmd.exe crash when I was using Windows). Are shells good or not?

Written by brokenthorn

May 21, 2007 at 22:11

Posted in Linux, Windows

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