love thy command line [Bourne again]

“Prebuilt into macOS and Unix systems (…) the command line (also called the shell) is a powerful text-based interface in which users issue terse instructions to create, find, sort and manipulate files, all without using the mouse. There are actually several distinct (…) shell systems, among the most popular of which [sic?] is Bash, an acronym for the ‘Bourne again shell’ (a reference to the Bourne shell, which it replaced in 1989).”

An hilarious rediscovery of the joys of shell (line) commands in Nature! Which I use by default for most operations on my computer, albeit far from expertly (despite the use of a cheat tee, from time to time!). One of the arguments in the article, “The mouse doesn’t scale,” is definitely mine as well. Among other marketing lines, wrangling files with no software interference (check), handling huge files (very rarely), manipulating spreadsheets (I don’t), parallelising work on remote servers (check), automate via cron (not anymore)…. Unsurprisingly, most of our students are never using terminals of command lines.

2 Responses to “love thy command line [Bourne again]”

  1. […] article was first published on R – Xi'an's Og, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers]. (You can report issue about the content on this page here) […]

    • Chris Woodruff Says:

      I first coded more than 50 years ago. Only went to Linux recently. Sebveral students in recent times have really shown me the power and value of comand line operations for bioinformatics – so much so that I am now an active advocate for bioinfomatics student gaining facility in use of regular expressions and grep, sed, cut, awk etc.. Nature article was useful to help the persuasion process.

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