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Shellorama, 2005

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[Nov 15, 2005] vshnu the New Visual Shell

Skilled Unix users know the importance of the shell or command line interface (CLI). (Old-time Unix users didn't even have a choice about it). While having more of a learning curve than a graphical user interface (GUI), it permits powerful, creative, complex operations to be specified quickly and reliably. For anyone but the superficial user, learning a CLI is an investment that pays off rewardingly. Command line environments are still readily usable over low-bandwidth network connections and restricted displays. Neal Stephenson explains the history and values of computer interfaces exceedingly well in "In the Beginning was the Command Line" <http://www.cryptonomicon.com/beginning.html>. One can even build a strong case that a CLI is best for a learning new computer user, as described in "The Command Line - The Best Newbie Interface?" <http://osnews.com/story.php?news_id=6282>.

However, when one is concerned about file manipulation and management (which is a very good thing to be concerned about as the basis of your interface, as most GUIs would rather lead you to forget), a CLI can be a frustratingly terse interface to the filesystem. Too many tedious ls(1) and cd(1) commands are needed to keep watch on what's there. A GUI file manager can address this problem, but then you're in mouseland and have lost the advantages of the CLI.

Enter the visual shells. Not a new idea, visual shells can operate within an entire terminal or console screen. File listings are displayed for your constant reference. Common commands and operations can typically be performed in fewer keystrokes in a visual interface. As the vi(1) visual editor evolved from the ed(1) and ex(1) command line editors, visual shells have attempted to evolve from command line shells. Some visual shells have promoted themselves as simpler menu-oriented interfaces suitable for novices, while others emphasize more expert functionality.

Nonetheless, visual shells have never really caught on, except some in certain circles such as Emacs' "dired" mode and the Midnight Commander program. I believe this is because they have been designed as largely self-contained applications with limited configurability. Using a visual shell has required a significant jump into a new base interface tool, and few are so compelling or standard to make that worthwhile.

Hence the design of vshnu, the New Visual Shell. In the Unix tradition, it works with things already there and fills a empty niche. When incorporating it into your Unix environment, you keep your command line shell, your editor, your pager, and access to all your tools, tricks and know-how. Vshnu can operate as an optional supplemental visual mode to your command line shell. You switch between command line and visual mode easily as you wish. Your interface bandwidth and power for Unix operations is on a higher plane and life gets sweeter. In addition, being written in Perl, it ports to any Unix system without compilation, gives you the advantages of a Perl interpreter running readily at hand, and permits visual command customizability limited only by your creativity, yet doesn't require knowledge of Perl for normal usage. Vshnu is a tool that's worthwhile even if only used occasionally as an interactive, pageable, color ls(1), yet still pays back, with interest, whatever more you put into using it.

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[Apr 2, 2005] freshmeat.net Project details for The friendly interactive shell

About:
The friendly interactive shell is a shell focused on interactive use, discoverability, and friendliness. fish has very user-friendly and powerful tab-completion, including descriptions of every completion, tab-completion of strings with wildcards, and many completions for specific commands. It also has extensive and discoverable help. A special help command gives access to all the fish documentation in your Web browser. Other features include syntax highlighting with extensive error checking, support for the X clipboard, smart terminal handling based on terminfo, an easy to search, no duplicates history.

[Mar 25, 2005] Bash  2.05b with debugger  source  is available at http://bashdb.sourceforge.net/.

The debugger is more than a diagnostic tool,  it is a fine way to explore the very guts of bash.

[Mar 21, 2005] Advanced Bash Scripting Guide Version 3.3.

More bugfixes were made, some of them fairly important. New material was added, including a few rather useful example scripts. This is more than a "minor" update, but not quite a major one.

The Advanced Bash Scripting Guide is both a reference and a tutorial on shell scripting. This comprehensive book (the equivalent of about 646 print pages) covers almost every aspect of shell scripting. It contains over 300 profusely commented illustrative examples, and a number of tables.

Not just a shell scripting tutorial, this book also provides an introduction to basic programming techniques, such as sorting and recursion. It is well suited for either individual study or classroom use.

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Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law

History:

Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Hater’s Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

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The Last but not Least


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