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Wait, I Thought Command Lines Were More Evil Than Hitler?

Date/Time Permalink: 05/10/09 02:00:33 am
Category: General

You don't need to ponder your answer, you just need to free-associate the first thing that pops into your mind: What is the number-one leading complaint people have about Linux? Go!

The two words now emblazoned in your cerebellum like flaming Elvish writ by hand of Sauron are "command" and "line". Here, try these Google searches:

"linux sucks" "command line" - 5,090 hits
"linux will never" "command line" - 5,630 hits
"linux on the desktop" "command line" - 9,840 hits

See some familiar old flames? It's kind of like a song set to the tune of "The Blue Danube Waltz", only the lyrics go "Whinge whinge whinge whinge whinge... whinge whinge, whinge whinge" whenever the subject of the Linux command line comes up, even among those who claim to love Linux.

But suddenly, Microsoft is including their own command line shell with the next version of Windows, and the pundits immediately change polarity and weep hot tears of joy over the glory of command lines, faster than a Republican trying to pin the crashed economy on Obama. Now you can't look up command lines on the web without being distracted by the waving pom-poms as cheerleaders everywhere rave "YAAAYYYY COMMAND LINES!"

Suddenly, because it's Microsoft doing it and not Linux, command lines are sexier than Twitter.

LifeHacker gasps "What are your favorite scripts and uses for PowerShell?"

BetaNews wets itself and lists PowerShell as #9 in their "top ten Windows 7 features".

NetworkWorld boldly cites PowerShell as a reason why Windows 7 will crush Linux. I hope you had Windex and paper towels handy after reading this one.

PowerShell has an evangelist. Check the comments. Worship, worship, worship. Imagine a Linux blog evangelizing about Linux's command line without attracting a single, solitary troll.

The Windows PowerShell Blog is rolling in hits, with the tagline "Automating the world one-liner at a time." Wow. Just wow. Just because I'm curious to see if these people actually believe themselves that Microsoft invented command lines or if they're just trying to give everybody else that impression, I searched the site for 'linux' and turned up this gem: Appreciation for this "fair" comparison of PowerShell with Bash, as opposed to those other rotten, ungrateful Linux elitists who won't acknowledge that Bill Gates is Jesus.

TechWorld's review of PowerShell muses,

"it’s not the hardest thing in the world to get used to. It’s just a case of learning the keywords and, most importantly, figuring out how to find your way around the help system."

You're very smug, aren't you, Mr. Cartwright? Lucky for you that those aren't new Linux users you're telling to learn keywords and read the documentation, because you would get tarred and feathered and burned at the stake by the blog-o-sphere for that kind of... I believe the word is "elitism".

Yes, the word is 'elitism'. It certainly gets screamed at me often enough for advocating learning and hacking; I think I've been familiarized with it.

Never forget: the only thing free software is doing "wrong" is not being an abusive monopoly. Another of the tragedies of Linux is that half of its own developers fall for this FUD, tearing up their perfectly good work because they've been told there's something wrong with it.

It reminds me of what Gloria Steinem said of the so-called pro-life (anti-choice) movement, "If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament." Yes, it's our old friend hypocrisy, again. Now command lines are a sacrament because Microsoft has them. Even Granny and Joe Sixpack say so now.

A completely unrelated ray-trace I did

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