Do not shame folks for being averse towards the terminal. Not everyone is as adventurous or (gasp!) fearless as you.

Example: my partner is averse to using the terminal for fear of making a grave mistake (as anyone learning about linux *should* be). I tell them that they should explore a little bit but to be careful when they do.

You don't tell someone to "stop being a pussy" when they express hesitation. You quell the hesitation by assuring them that you'll be there to help if they need it.

And what if you can't be there to help them? Well then you provide the resources you can that just might be of use to them.

And if all that just seems like too much work, then it's just easier to not push them to use the terminal at all.

You won't be saving them, or "liberating" them from the "opression" of the GUI. You'll be discouraging them altogether from the idea of using the terminal.

It may be easy for you, but it's not easy for a *majority* of people.

@patcoll Destructive learning is always a fun time, especially when you can show a person "see? This is what can happen, but also see? This is how you can fix it"

There's some catharsis in knowing what exactly the worst can happen is

@brandon Being able to play around with the terminal in a separate (non-sudo) user account might give additional piece-of-mind; it's hard to delete all your files when you don't have write access to them.

@wizzwizz4 That's a good point. I try to use VMs when I can when trying some new stuff, but a docker container might even be a decent sandbox to play in, if everything you'll be doing resides in the CLI.

@brandon @wizzwizz4 I learned to use the terminal on an old computer that my father installed pretty much just for that purpose.

I got introduced to Linux at school. We were using Knoppix on a live CD ROM which was a safe environment because we could not actually write on the disk.

More recently I dived more into command line and Linux on a Raspberry Pi. Again, a safe environment because if you fuck up you just reinstall from the SD card image and you're good to go.

@brandon @wizzwizz4 It never occurred to me that the reasons I learned was because I was always working on safe environments. That's the best (only?) way to learn!

@narF @wizzwizz4 I wouldn't say that's the only way to learn but it's certainly one of the safer ways to learn. I find the best way to learn is to be working on solving a specific problem.

I'd suggest just getting people comfortable with non destructive commands like cat and grep and ls first, and letting them know that they *can't* screw anything up with those.

Some types of things are also just better done with a GUI and some are naturally easier with a CLI, and often the CLI snobs are people who really only do the latter category things all/most of the time, so they forget.

Editing photos in GIMP and automating server tests need very different interfaces.

@Blort I have to agree with you on all fronts there.

With the "safer" commands, I definitely try to go that route when showing folks the CLI. But here's the kicker, a lot of beginners don't *know* what is a safe command. This is why I prefer holding someone's hand for the first hour of teaching them. It's easy to end up venturing into dangerous commands.

The "there be dragons" messaging can help. It can also hurt. That's why I advocate folks to see it as adventure instead of of tool at first

@Blort RE: people forgetting

This is absolutely the root of the cause. So many people forget that they too once had difficulties with the command line. Hell, I can't even remember the first lines I typed in a terminal or how scared I might have been.

It's not a problem to forget how you felt, but it's a problem to reject that you ever had difficulties and tell people to RTFM or just generally hold that holier than thou attitude of giving people grief for being hesitant with the command line.

@brandon I agree for sure! It is beneficial to get over that fear though. One thing that helped me get over that was just a littlebit of learning. Two major things. One, i installed linux on a laptop and played in the terminal and broke it. I somehow uninstalled most of my gui. Then i learned about basic

@brandon navigation and started seeing syntax of commands.
Prefix - program - options or program - program - options. Etc. From there as i ran into issues i found terminal solutions and i would read and watch what the commands were doing.

@Hawk1291 Isn't it scary that first time you break it? Even if it's not a production machine or not your only computer?

I usualy tell people its a fun tool to use, but when it comes to learning it i always just kinda jumped right in. No clue what i was doing, but running comands that i didn't knew what did over time that thought me the basics of eveything. And sometimws just installing and messing with allications in the terminal can help you learb a lot

@brandon I teach them simple commands like how to update the system and start htop.

"btw i use arch" 😂​

@brandon Or, perhaps better, give them an environment where they CAN "stop being a pussy." Help them set up a virtual machine with a baseline Linux snapshot, and tell them they can break it as much as they want and all they have to do is revert to last checkpoint. Win-win.

@brandon And by "win-win," I mean they get a test environment where they can experiment freely, and you get to keep telling them not to be a pussy.

@hex Meh, I'd prefer to not call people pussies in the first place :P More than a few thing wrong with that

@hex Yes absolutely! Quell their fears by making it impossible to "permanently" cause damage to things that can't easily be retrieved

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Fosstodon is an English speaking Mastodon instance that is open to anyone who is interested in technology; particularly free & open source software.