Giving console applications a bad name

Everybody knows what a console application is like: Sparse. Unfriendly. Terse. Mute. Spartan. It’s part of the code of console applications. If it has a drop-down menu or a configuration dialogue, you’re being spoiled. If it has some sort of splash screen, then you need to pinch yourself and make sure you’re not dreaming. If it is managable without an rc file, you should rub your eyes and make sure you’re not using Gnome.

It has to be this way. It is the law of the jungle. Console applications cannot take the time to help the user catch up. Console applications slice through the visual and reach the core of the matter, and if you can’t figure out how to configure or use them through experimentation, intuition or telepathy, then you’re better off going back to your GUI.

That’s why we, as computer users, can no longer allow a program like calcurse to exist.

What is this? A cleanly divided, clearly arranged user interface? A colorful, intuitive and attractive startup screen? Logical one-key commands and configuration options accessible through a dialogue menu?

This will never do. It is because of renegades and nonbelievers such as calcurse that computer users are becoming duller and insipid-er, less intuitive and more automatonic, less geeky and more funky.

No, no, no. calcurse is too easily configured for the average console program. It is too easy to arrange its options as you like, while you use it. It is too attractive, and has too many adjustable points — like color schemes! — to allow it to continue to propagate.

Disseminating a program like calcurse means other programs, like the immensely complex and hideously intricated oleo, will be cast aside in favor of colorful, adjustable, efficient and friendly alternatives. From there, it is a slippery slope. More dimwitted and ill-mannered users will demand console applications that are “pretty” and “fun to use.” Soon everyone will be using console applications, even junior high school boys.

And this can only lead to a mass-dumbing-down of computer users on the whole. Regular, everyday, average people will use console applications. Console applications will be available and accessible at every corner store, and in faraway lands where they do not have the most expensive and high-end systems available at inflated prices.

Friends, I implore you, as geeks, pseudogeeks, geek wannabes and educated computer enthusiasts: Eschew calcurse. Do not install it. Remove it from your ports tree or your /var/cache/apt/archives. Leave disparaging remarks about it on icanhascheezburger.com. Post lewd videos of it on YouTube. It threatens the future of computing, the future of console application superiority — and even the human race. :evil:

P.S.: I love this thing! It’s better than Osmo! :shock:

P.P.S.: Yes, I do actually try the applications you suggest, as this should prove. Now, where’s my working port for abook … ?

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12 Responses to “Giving console applications a bad name”


  1. 1 Mark 2009/02/11 at 4:07 PM

    Just tried it. It really is as easy as you say.

    Outrageous! :p

  2. 2 Dr Small 2009/02/11 at 10:40 PM

    If you really didn’t want this thing to spoil geeks, you should have never written a negative review about it and posted a screenshot! This thing is the best invention since sliced bread!!

  3. 3 Onyros 2009/02/11 at 10:43 PM

    Hahaha, I knew it!

    It IS better than Osmo! When I suggested it, I was shy to say that, as I was once a big proponent and adept of Osmo.

    There’s one quirk left to iron out for me: I can’t view notes (default key when in the appointments area is the minus key “>”). Bug reported, though!

    The fact that calcurse calculates the time to the next appointment has become invaluable to me. And what about that awesome config file, and the fact that it stores everything in flat files? And the fact that it uses less memory than mutt? Actually, half of that!

    Kinda makes us think how much computing has evolved, right? (where’s the green font?)

  4. 4 K.Mandla 2009/02/11 at 11:38 PM

    Actually what sold me on it was how easy it was to set up a regularly occuring event — like a weekly meeting. I still can’t get that to work in Osmo. But calcurse did everything short of pressing the keys for me, and my weekly responsibilities are set through to eternity. Amazing.

  5. 5 James 2009/02/12 at 6:12 AM

    I think the name alone makes me want to run it. Great wordplay. Looks (al)pine-esque.

  6. 6 voltaic 2009/02/12 at 6:23 AM

    K.Mandla, it’s funny that you should mention calcurse in this post. Just earlier today — literally a couple hours ago — I fixed up a CRUX port for it and installed calcurse to try it out! So far I like it a lot. I might mind that it doesn’t support categories, but that’s on the TODO list according to the author.

    I have also been meaning to make a recommendation for a window manager. If you don’t mind the configuration system for it (C header files) you should give DWM a try. Awesome was originally based on DWM, but it quickly diverged to the land of feature-bloat. Even on my fast Pentium M laptop I do notice a speed difference between awesome and DWM. You might appreciate the sparsity of DWM on your 100MHz machine(s).

  7. 7 eksith 2009/02/12 at 8:45 AM

    Behold!
    The dawn of the Eternal September for console apps…

  8. 8 Mats Rauhala 2009/02/13 at 4:32 AM

    Have you tried Remind + Wyrd?


  1. 1 Boycott Novell » IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 12th, 2009 - Part 1 Trackback on 2009/02/13 at 8:02 PM
  2. 2 How can it all fit? « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2009/02/15 at 10:48 PM
  3. 3 How can it all fit? « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2009/02/15 at 10:48 PM
  4. 4 Cubuntu - Console Ubuntu part II | Indlovu Trackback on 2009/07/26 at 9:30 PM

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