The renaissance of the command line – have we come full circle?
One of the Linux distros is a frequent choice of programmers, as the main operating system installed in workstations. There is a huge assortment of reasons to this, and they don’t have to be reduced to cliché discussions about the advantage of this operating system over the others. However, one must admit, that a significant achievement of recent operating systems that employ the Linux kernel, is that they can be used not only by powerusers and programmers, but also by ordinary users, who were familiar solely with Windows, for years.
The Linux legacy
The aforementioned is due to the dynamic development of Linux graphics environments – i.a. KDE Plasma, GNOME, Xfce or MATE. All these environments allow for comfortable, ergonomic, and eye-friendly use of the capabilities of this operating system. The user, who wouldn’t want to use the terminal – once the only, and later the primary administration instrument for Linux systems – doesn’t have to use it any more. Everything can be clicked away in meticulously refined graphics environments. However, recently, one may have noticed a reverse trend.
While the Linux distributions are becoming more user-friendly, in the Windows 10 system, more and more novelties are directed towards the developers. Under the management of Satya Nadella, the „Developers, developers, developers” slogan, once shouted out at the stage by Steve Ballmer, has found practical results in the policies of the development of the corporation’s product. However, contrary to his predecessor, Nadella is not going to encapsulate the programmers in the ecosystem of Microsoft’s proprietary developer tools. Contrary, he opened Windows 10 to new content, primarily, the Open Source world.
More and more command line in Windows
This determines changes in the operating mode – within the framework of developer tools, Linux software is still mostly CLI tools. Surprisingly, as an operating system, Windows adopts this new-old approach in its entirety. Once, we marvelled at acrylic semi-transparencies, eye-catching animations or user-friendly UX. Nowadays, we may suppose, that, more and more often, the programmers are returning to the command line tools. In terms of Windows, it shows by, e.g. the swift development of Powershell.
Additionally, the renaissance of the command line is visible in Windows,by the relatively new components of the system, that, in essence, are dedicated solely to programmers and administrators. Here, we are talking about Windows Subsystem for Linux, as well as, Windows terminal, still solely in a preview version. In both cases, the Open Source achievements and the habits of programmers familiar with the Linux tools, were used to a significant degree. The ability to launch a growing number of distributions within Windows, is the best realisation of the aforementioned „developers, developers, developers!” slogan.
The growing number of refined, advanced CLI development tools in Windows, is just the peak of the iceberg. The renaissance of the command line is also seen within coding editors (e.g. Visual Studio Code), but is probably the fastest way of managing the cloud environment, for an administrator that is experienced in Azure. The command line interface also enjoys significant attention from the developers that use macOS, i.a. due to the Homebrew packages manager, that is more than successful.
CLI – the perfect interface
The brain-machine interface is an object of interest of many futurists. Additionally, Elon Musk is examining the potential of controlling the computer using brain, within the Neuralink partnership. However, it turns out that an unmatched, responsible, very precise, and incredibly fast in use tool, allowing to interact with a machine, has been there for years. After decades of exploration and experimentation with GUI, maybe it is time to realize, that in many applications, particularly development and administrative, it is impossible to find a more natural and comfortable interface, than the command line – a fact that is realized by a growing number of producers and developers.