Pauly, m'boy, get with the times!!!

Story: RANT_MODE=1: Current generation shells -- Will Microsoft Ever Fill The Needs of the Enterprise?Total Replies: 13
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Jan 05, 2005
9:32 AM EDT
I am shocked! Shocked that there is gambling here...

No, wait...wrong context.

I am shocked that you remain so mired in the past.

Perl and awk tricks?

That's so -- so 2000!!

This mystical Microsoft shell is sure to look nice to the Microsofties (In fact, I just talked to Toadie, and he's almost slobbering over it), but it's sure to be yeat another Microsoft philosophy tool, meaning it is doomed to fall behind the curve.

The wonderfulness of the Bash (or korn or c or bourne or whatever) shell isn't all of the incredible programming that you can do with it. Truth is, I do almost no ksh/bash/awk/sed programming anymore. The day I started noodling with perl but the kabash on that.

But here's the thing:

I don't use perl that much any more, either. I do a lot with xml and with python, but I still use the bash shell as my launch point.

That's the beauty of the Unix shell philosophy. It tries to make the most useful functionality readily available, but, more than anything, it plays well with others.

And of course, there is the reliability thing.

Some of us care about that stuff, you know.



Jan 05, 2005
11:26 AM EDT
The 'Trac'd one wrote: > That's the beauty of the Unix shell philosophy. It tries to make the most > useful functionality readily available, but, more than anything, it plays well with > others.

Dean, Dean, Dean -- how can you say such things about bash and Perl and then talk as if _really_ you thought that the shell was beautful?!? You act like you're playing well with others, but I see through your little attempt at a jedi mind trick. Thought you'd slip it past me, but as usual I'm on to your mind hacking.

You aesthetic hackers are all alike. You crouch in the dust of your art galleries, nothing but the glow of a blinking multi-colored shell prompts and the smell of water colour paints to guide your way. You talk like you're in love with the technology, but it's all about look and feel over functionality. Go ahead and talk up the worthy-ness of Python and XML as objects of beauty -- those of us in the procedural world (the REAL world) know better.

One day, when you can't get your Python paint program to load with less than 256 meg of memory, you'll wish you'd paid attention to that nagging voice in the back of your head -- you know which one I'm talking about? Reason? It's a left-brained thing -- you're probably not familiar with it.

Then, THEN, you'll wish you'd stopped all of this portable insanity and simply used the ppm utilities to pipe the artistic data files to text format, so you could work on them with vi. But it will be way, way too late for that.

You and Toadie will probably get together in the Redmond infirmary, swap tales and pine for the good old days of text-based mail. Maybe then he can show you MSH and *SOME* command line action -- if he hasn't drooled himself to death by then.



Jan 05, 2005
12:16 PM EDT
Ah, sweet Paulie,

You've been staring into the phosphors too long (Big hint: LCD's are the bomb these days).

I understand that you've stopped referring to pink,ring, middle , and index fingers, preferring to refer to them simply as a,s,d,f and j,k,l,;,' .

And -- so you'll know -- most people have thumbs, not space bars.


That is the beauty of the Unix way. You can be as procedural as you wish, and I can fling xml and hack on python to my heart's content.

There is no one and only best and blessed approach.

They'll never come to grips with that in Redmond.


Jan 05, 2005
1:04 PM EDT
You guys are something else... don't know what... but something. Some things never change. :)

Jan 05, 2005
2:31 PM EDT

Paul and dino argue like an old married couple. they yell fight, and argue using the dirtiest tricks you can dream of, but in the end say exactly the same thing for different reasons.

Don't ever change guys it's just to much fun.

Jan 05, 2005
3:32 PM EDT

I strongly, strongly deny that Dino and I fight like an old married couple -- it's more like a freshly divorced one, you ask me...


Jan 05, 2005
4:29 PM EDT
Paul et al:

Paul and I do NOT fight!

Poor little Pauly (wanna cracker?) wouldn't stand a chance.

I toy with the boy, which does not make him my boy toy. (just in case you were wondering)


Jan 05, 2005
5:30 PM EDT
Oh, I see how it is now, wait until a guy is down, then break out the politically incorrect stature-bashing. "little" guy, indeed! Just because I'm vertically challenged does not mean you get to call me short, or little or a toy. IANAL, but I'm sure there's a law on the books that could fry you for this kind of talk.

BTW, where can I get some legal advice on these kinds of things -- know any good Lawyers, Dean??



Jan 05, 2005
7:31 PM EDT
>BTW, where can I get some legal advice on these kinds of things -- know any good Lawyers, Dean??

Does anybody?


Jan 05, 2005
11:30 PM EDT
I'm sure the MS shell will have some very nice features. I just wonder who it will appeal to.

At work the other day, 2 MS users told me separately that they didn't want to know the command line way of invoking something. They didn't want to know the name of the command or the arguments to it. They want a nice point and click interface.

One person was on winXP and was using a CVS gui with the CVS repository on a sun machine. She was having problems setting up the gui and I told her it was so easy to do it from the command line. Not interested.

The other person wanted to clone a hard drive and had bought True Image but was having problems. I showed him partimage on knoppix and he thought the interface wasn't nice enough. I also showed him the 'dd' command and he definitely wasn't interested in that.

But I'm sure MS will introduce something in their shell that will make MS weenies ask why doesn't linux have that. And the bashers will run and implement it. You know, like spaces in filenames.

- greg strockbine

Jan 06, 2005
1:59 AM EDT

Every newbie to systems management in the past 15 years or so thinks things like this (GUI's are "better" than command lines). They often revel in how smart they are to "see" this incredible insight. I say this because before that, there was only the command line for the vast majority of real heavy lifting.

I heard this the other day from an intern at work, whos' studying for what? Computer Science. He even complained about having to code in Java. Either he'll one day come around to the fact that the only creative work involves some form of script or code, or he'll find something non-computer related to do in computer science (management, procurement, quality control -- you get the drift). He might switch majors to something else (more likely for most, but this kid seems pretty bright).

It's not that GUI's are "better" -- it's that they're made for doing non-creative administrative work. Stuff that's mostly been done before with simple choices for how things that have been proven to work will behave after the final "next" or "ok" button is selected.

Oh I almost forgot -- I used the 4 letter word here to boot -- work.

Let's examine another four-letter-word -- "menu" -- it's no accident that the term refers to the same thing you get in a restaurant and in a GUI. It'd be unthinkable for you to ask the waiter "hey, can I jump back there and show the chef how it's done? Maybe instead of all of this french crap you have on here, let me make a decent Dagwood and some apple pie for desert? I know they're not on here but I know how to do it..."

There are two things -- 1) When you're in a restaurant, the whole idea is that someone else is doing the work. 2) You get what's on the menu, with slight variations -- rarely do you find a restaurant that will make anything you ask for with a menu item that says "Hey, just ask for anything, and we'll make it!".

But that does happen (very rarely -- I read of a case in New York), even so, because the people that run the restaurant are humans after all and because some chefs are super-human if you get my drift.

When it comes to the complexities of the operating system, and enterprise-class issues require that you master these things, you're going to only get as far as what a "typical" system administrator or user will get with a GUI. For example, possibly you need to make a complex change to something like 2000 systems, it may be that you can crawl through the registry with the gui, and delete some files (or add them), bounce the system (START/Shutdown/Restart in Windows).

You're in for a hell of a ride if you attempt this by hand. You have some management tools from Microsoft to help you, though. My guess is that there will be some vbscript (or equivalent, Perl can do stuff like this too) going by the end of the day. In other words, some typing will be in order.

Sure, you can console yourself (pun intended) by kicking the whole God-aweful mess off with their GUI-based control center, but who are you kidding by that point?

Command lines are not something more "archaic" than GUI's -- they're your ticket into the chef's domain, where you get to run the kitchen. The people that want desperately to control the way that the system works, but don't want to learn the inner workings of the operating system, don't want to be able to tell it what to do and suffer the consequences -- they're missing the point of the CLI -- it's not a "menu" after all. With a CLI, the system is asking you what you're hungry for, and telling you to make it. It's all up to you to think of where you'll go next -- or what you're going to "cook" up today. GUI's can't do that. They can offer you the menu, and if it ain't on there the waiter is clueless what to do.

Not everyone is suited to cook, and that's often bad news to people that want to be really creative with computers and software in general.

Hope I haven't pontificated too much here :)


Jan 06, 2005
4:15 AM EDT

I must say that this is the best comparison of CLI and GUI I've ever read. Next time someone says to me that GUIs are "better" than CLIs and CLIs are "archaic", I'll be able to give them a comparison that their little brains should understand. Restaurant menus vs. running the kitchen yourself, great metaphor!

And I'll try to remember to properly attribute this explanation to you of course :) .

Christophe Grandsire.


Jan 06, 2005
4:46 AM EDT
Paul -

Cogent post on CLI v. GUI.

In this past year, I've had several on-the-job interactions with people who are working in Visual Studio with .Net . These, supposedly, are the "creatives". However, MS-Land works so hard to isolate developers from what's actually happening that I have found problems like:

1. A developer who couldn't figure out how to keep the same XML namespace when putting up his web service on two different machines. Very interesting predicament when you have a QA need to test using the SAME code, including XSL.

2. A developer who could not tell me the nature of a communication failure on his end. Mind you, I'm talking about basic HTTP stuff, nothing very esoteric, even though we were talking SOAP/HTTP. The problem was resolved by an internet search that uncovered a bug in the Microsoft http code that made it unhappy with apache 2.0. Of course, even that search was done on our end.

3. Just yesterday, I had somebody tell me he couldn't easily guarantee the order of sequenced elements in an XML document. Sigh.

Personally, I love GUIs. I don't spend enough time in the guts of my network to remember all of the little things. Menus are very handy for those tasks that you don't do very often and that amount, essentially, to choosing between A & B (or C ...).

However, computer types (as opposed to end users) should never be allowed to go near a GUI until they've actually learned a useful thing or two.

Other wise, the click in point and click will be yet another neuron switching off.


Jan 06, 2005
1:38 PM EDT
There's very good discussion here. It reminds me of times past. The last one from Paul was beautiful, but I have a pleasant disagreement with its closing.

> Not everyone is suited to cook, > and that's often bad news to > people that want to be really > creative with computers and > software in general.

I would say this actually rarely happens for the following reason. If a person loves something with a passion, then the person will work (play) with that thing until he knows it backwards and forewards. People are usually successful in their labors of love. I would say it is more common for people to finally discover that they do not really love computing as they once thought, after the honeymoon ends. That's the real test of the love -- enduring with commitment for the first two years. Just doing it for the money, especially now, is prone to causing disappointment.

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