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In the Beginning … Was the Command Line

In the Beginning…was the Command Line

A short, interesting book that is a related series of essays about the relationship between Unix or Linux with a way to understand a computer. This is overlayed with a discussion of the superiority of Unix/Linux to the major windowed operating systems, OsX and Windows.
A particularly interesting and thought provoking essay is titled “Metaphor Shear.” It takes into the realm of philosophy in terms of dealing with the metaphor a windows system presents to us, and how we have learned to live with it, even to depend on it.
The book finishes with a parable of an operating system that would allow us to create a universe and thus make all the choices in our lives. What if the interface were developed so that all our choices were represented by radio buttons or check boxes? Suppose a problem develops and you call customer support?

“If you get a flack on the line, he or she would tell you that your life was actually fine, that there was not a thing wrong with it, and in any event it would be a lot better after the next upgrade rolled out. But if you persisted, and identified yourself as advanced, you might get through to an actual engineer.”
“What would the engineer say, after you had explained your problem and enumerated all the dissatisfactions in your life? He would probably tell you that life is a very hard and complicated thing; that no interface can change that; that anyone who believes otherwise is a sucker; and that if you don’t like having choices made for you, you should start making your own.”

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