I do my best to contain my emotions when I run across something on the forums that irritates me or makes me angry. It’s not very often that I have to restrain myself; when I do see an opinion that I feel is ill-informed or misguided, I generally try to reroute my emotions to this space, where I have a little more room to express myself.
The command line is not blocking the progress of Linux on the desktop. Not in the least. What does block the progress of Linux on the desktop is the fact that I can, if I want, use the command line.
Yes, as I have mentioned before, the real impediment to Linux is simply the fact that I can do whatever I want with it. It’s not a cohesive force, a single unified front. It’s a splintered mass, and so there is no singular spot that you can put your finger on, and say, “This is Linux.” LaRoza’s command-line-only MacBook, and my GTK1.2-driven Pentium III, and my mother’s preinstalled Ubuntu laptop are all the same … we just all want to do things differently.
So if you’re waiting around for the command line to die, or worse, trying to equate the glacial advance of Linux to an imagined “reliance” on the command line, you’re wasting your time. Get over it. It’s not the command line that holds back Linux, it’s my freedom to choose whatever shape I like.
Now if you were to get your way, and I was forced to relinquish my command line, in favor of glossy knobular buttons and slow and clumsy GUI arrangements, two things would happen.
First, you would have a very angry Me on your hands. And Mr. McGee, please don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
Second, you’d be subtracting the element of choice from Linux, and that’s dangerous ground. You take away my command line and you’re limiting the freedoms of the people who use the OS, and a lot of people use the OS because they get those freedoms. Maybe they don’t like the command line either, but if you refuse that one point, the herd becomes skittish.
Either way, start limiting what people can or should do with their own computers, and you’ll have a lot of emigrants on your hands. Then your user base narrows, your popularity wanes, and you’re back to where you started — a glossy, knobular button and nobody to share it with.
So get past it. Stop pretending the command line has the least bit of influence on Linux’s popularity. You don’t like it? Don’t use it. But don’t blame those of us who do for some perceived lack of progress. Remove it and you’ll get no progress at all.
Edit: Sigh. Another non-believer.