[SATLUG] Noob tip Ubuntu

Bruce Dubbs bruce.dubbs at gmail.com
Mon Jan 21 22:38:53 CST 2008

herb cee wrote:
> Bruce Dubbs wrote:

> Hey thanks Bruce but what you post is so far over my head. What I
> describe is running in a standard Ubuntu desktop install that boots to
> Gnome. The only other way I know to get out of a hang-up is if the force
> quit dialog pops up then I can get out by clicking on ok. So when the
> force quit does not happen I only knew to go with a full reboot.  

Well I am not that familiar with Gnome.  I use KDE.

In any case, it should be a rare event for the system to lock up.  You
still should be able to run other apps when one is not working right.
In KDE, I guess I could go into the KDE System Guard and choose a
process and click on Kill, but for me, I just go to a CLI and say

ps -ef

I then find the process ID of what I want to kill, say 999, and just

kill -9 999

There are variations of course.  I could use top or killall to do the
same thing.  For me, it's faster than trying to find ksysguard.  The gui
apps are just shells around the CLI apps anyway.

Learning to use the CLI can be a little daunting, but its just a matter
of using the man pages, i.e. 'man ps' or 'man kill'.  If you never
practice it, you will never learn.  That and you can always ask on the list.

> The reason I posted this is for those like me who are flat not
> comfortable with the CLI. My reason is that I cannot remember all the
> commands and what the hell does what and I also know that Linux does not
> pause and say 'Are you sure?'

No, it assumes you mean what you say.  If you say `sudo rm -rf /*` it
will indeed wipe out your system.  With great power goes great
responsibility.  I always double check when I do `rm -f *~` because a
space between the * and the ~ would be quite harmful.

The whole thing goes to the Unix philosophy.  Unix assumes the user is
smarter than the OS is.  Microsoft assumes that the OS is smarter than
the user.  That really rubs me the wrong way.

> It simply tries to do what ever the syntax
> describes. Not understanding the syntax and not having the extremely
> confusing commands memorized or in some form that I can quickly look it
> up is a positive risk that is frightening.

You do have those confusing commands in a form that you can quickly look
up.  It's the man (manual) page system.  They are terse however and are
only intended as a reference and not a tutorial.

Some of us may find the CLI easier because we grew up with it.  In the
70s and before it was punch cards.  In the 80's we had this wonderful
80x24 text terminal.  X was first developed about 1985 and Sun/DEC
graphical workstations were very expensive.

In spite of GUIs, I think most good computer folks use the CLI a lot.
With experience, you start to find the limitations of GUIs and find you
can do things faster and easier from the command line.

  -- Bruce

More information about the SATLUG mailing list