Fear the Command Line

Summary

Background

Remember when Windows was just becoming popular? People would say things like “Do this, this and this. Don’t worry, you can’t mess it up.” Of course, that was a lie.

Now, remember when OS X came out and you heard “the Terminal lets do all these things much faster than the Finder. But since you have direct access to the OS, you can destroy things just as quickly—and with no warning.* Therefore never touch the Terminal.”? Actually, that last part was just my subconscious speaking. It was lying, too.

It’s all about the workflow

But fast matters. Over the past few months I’ve gradually been reading up on the Terminal and practicing doing little things like copying files, setting permissions, opening/editing hidden files, etc. Check the list above for some of the resources I’ve found useful.

But be cool.

Like learning to ride a motorcycle, the most dangerous time is six months in when you start thinking you can do this pretty good and start getting cocky.


*Confession: I once typed del *.* at a DOS command prompt thinking I was in a subdirectory. I wasn’t. I still shudder. <shudder> See?

The only good part was that all the files in the subdirectory were deleted, as I intended. Along with the rest of the C drive, which I didn’t. <Shaking it off>

(Actually, Norton Utilities got it all back. But still.)

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