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Don’t Be Afraid of Linux Terminal. Embrace it.

Most of our focus goes into avoiding the Linux terminal, at least, for new users comfortable with Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs).

While it is good to make things easy and convenient, there are a few reasons why you should not be afraid of dipping your toes into the Linux terminal.

Here, I shall highlight some of them to encourage you to try a few things in the terminal that should help you eventually.

1. Quick Access to Information on Commands

quick info terminal
quick info terminal

At times, you may need to use a command in the terminal to perform something. Sure, you can just copy-paste without knowing what it actually does.

But, what if you are interested to know a bit more about the command?

Well, you just need to type in:

man <command you intend to learn>

For instance: man apt

It will give you all the essential details right on the same screen, without needing an internet connection or scouring the web to find out what it does. You save time, you get to know stuff.

And, that makes things convenient, giving you more confidence in using the terminal.

These are often referred to as “man pages”. You can read one of our resources to learn about man pages on Linux.

Thanks to the terminal.

2. Troubleshooting Problems

troubleshoting illustration

When you search for a fix on the internet, most of the solutions provide you with commands to get it fixed.

Hence, one of the best use-cases of the terminal is to resolve several system issues effortlessly. At the same time, you need to be careful because you could end up breaking your system if you do not know what you are doing.

While there are things that you can tweak around with GUI programs, the majority of the easy fixes go through the terminal.

Considering we have several troubleshooting guides on our portal, some examples include:

3. Easily Work With a Remote Server

remote server illustration

You will end up accessing the command line (or the terminal) to access a remote server and perform various operations, including file transfers.

Compared to a GUI method for a remote server, you minimize bandwidth issues and ensure that you get to perform anything you need faster using the Linux terminal.

There are also options to open a GUI program on the remote server via the terminal. Even if it is slow, the terminal gives you plenty of abilities to interact comfortably with a remote server.

4. Resource Efficient

It does not matter whether you use one of the best Linux distributions, a Linux terminal is always resource-efficient and consumes the least amount of memory.

If you are low on resources or may have a graphics driver conflict with a GUI program, you can always rely on the Linux terminal.

This should help you through critical tasks without taking much system resources.

5. Fast

fast illustration

Not just limited to the memory usage, but you can get things done faster with a terminal over a GUI, you know?

Some tasks you can try include installing an application, launching a program, performing complex file operations, and more.

6. Stable and Reliable Command-line Programs

Compared to GUI programs, terminal programs are stable and more reliable. Why?

Fewer factors influence the program with crashes/bugs when it comes to a terminal.

While the terminal tools could be unintuitive, some of them are built for servers in mind. Servers or desktop, command-line tools usually do not get unnecessary frequent updates, making them a reliable choice over GUI programs.

7. More Tools for CLI

We do not have a GUI program for everything on Linux. However, there are several CLI tools to perform a wide range of operations, some fun and critical tasks as well.

You need to get something done; chances are, you will find a command-line tool for it.

8. Various Terminal Emulators to Try

variety illustration

While you should not have any trouble with the default terminal emulator installed on your Linux distribution, you have plenty of other options.

If you prefer a different look, more advanced features, or tailored for a specific use, you can look at some of the best terminal emulators available.

If you thought using the terminal was boring, you must try some of them.

Wrapping Up

Personally, I feared the terminal when I was a new Linux user. But, as I got comfortable with it for small tasks, I got to realize the perks mentioned above.

You do not need to use the terminal over GUI for everything. Nevertheless, it is good to prefer the terminal for a few things because you might save your time, and get things done faster, and in a hassle-free manner.

Abhishek has written an excellent guide on various small things that make you get more comfortable with the Linux terminal.

What do you think are the benefits of a terminal over a GUI? What are your reasons to prefer the terminal? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  • From my experience manpages and -h usually don’t tell which concrete tasks the command can do and how to do them, so it is necessary to add a command cheatsheet as a complement of them l

    • look into using ‘tldr’…
      it presents a man page of sorts, but with a few examples of what the command can do, and the syntax to do it.
      been VERY helpful to me in my switch from windows to linux

  • “1. Quick Access to Information on Commands”
    If one does not use CLI, this is a non-factor.

    “3. Easily Work With a Remote Server”
    Only if one has to deal with a remote server. Another non-factor for most home users. How many home use have remote servers?

    “4. Resource Efficient”
    The commands themselves may be ‘resource efficient’ but having to look up the proper use of the commands when one is not familiar negates that efficiency.

    “5. Fast”
    Same as the point above. How fast is the CLI use if one has to run ‘man’ on each command one wants to use?

    “8. Various Terminal Emulators to Try”
    If one does not use CLI, there is no need for ‘terminal emulators’. Again a non-factor.

    This article comes under the heading of “If you’re a hammer, the entire world looks like a nail.”

  • Why not get to writing more GUI programs for linux… Get’er done. Thousands and thousands of users refuse Linux BECAUSE of CLI.

    • You are right, but diehard terminal users will NEVER agree with you. For some, the terminal is the beginning and end of computing.

    • A lot of people who aren’t native speakers of a language using latin alphabet like CN,JP people are afaird of facing and remembering commands as a bunch of English letters, in general you can’t become an average terminal user without understanding English, for example the translation of manpages of some common commands never exist at all……

  • While I like the terminal and people should definitely learn to use it, the key is to use the right tool for the job. Some things are better done in a graphical interface and some things are better in a command line, forcing yourself to use one or the other for everything serves no purpose than to be obtuse.

      • You are right. No one is holding a gun to anyone’s head. However, the attitude seems to be that if one does not use CLI, one is not a REAL Linux user, one is a wimp, one is a dilettante.