RE: Web site up! (GUI vs. CLI)

Robert J. Bradbury (
Mon, 5 Jul 1999 11:08 PDT

> Another example is the computer dweeb that swears blind that he
> hates GUIs, and much prefers CLI. This is as transparent as hell. Comp
> dweebs that are particularly sad love to feel superior through their
> computer knowledge. With a CLI, any operation means having to know the
> relevant command, acceptable parameters and so on. This takes a lot of time
> - which is the edge that dweebs with no lives have over ordinary people. So
> they learn all the ins and outs of these CLI languages like UNIX, rattling
> out 5 line commands full of grep's and squiqqly things, feeling all
> intelligent, as the layman onlooker is (supposed to be) impressed....

I'm afraid I have to disagree here (being a UNIX dweeb for 25 years or so...). The fundamental reason CLI's exist is that when they were designed, the machines were slow, memory was small and the libraries to do GUI had yet to be written. My first year at college, when all the VDTs (video display terminals for those of you who don't go back that far...) were busy, I'd use a 300 baud teletype to put my programs into the computer. There were people who did "GUIs" for the VDTs and even the teletype, but the results were pretty poor.

The reason CLIs remain popular today is because it is still generally faster (and smaller) to code CLIs than GUIs. If I'm writing code for myself or another person comfortable with computers I would write a CLI. If I had to write code for a non-computer literate audience (and had the time) I'd write a GUI.

It has little to do with elitism and a lot to do with simple economics.