a *very* odd question especially for me. Janina Sajka <janina at rednote.net> wrote
martin.m at suddenlink.net
Tue Jul 28 13:00:05 UTC 2015
> Some responses below in line ...
> > On Thu, 23 Jul 2015, Karen Lewellen wrote:
> > How scriptable is Linux?
> Eminently scriptable. You can script in any Linux shell. I recommend
> bash. You need to learn how to use a text editor like emacs or vim.
> Then, start your bash scripting education with:
Good advice though I am not familiar specifically with
that site but the neat thing about Linux and unix in general is
that the experience is much like I always imagined that someone
might feel were they to discover that they were the heir to a
vast fortune and they could do anything they wanted with the
riches. Unlike gold or gyms, however, you don't spend the
fortune. It is all about potential. That's what tools do for one.
To use another analogy, the tools one finds in unix are the
shoulders of the giants that Isaac Newton referred to when he made
the comments that the great discoveries he made were possible
because he had stood on the shoulders of giants.
On the practical side, we all have big dreams. I noticed,
here, the discussion of intrusion detection, basically an alarm
system plus ways to collaboratively produce music, both of which
have been done by various groups of people, proving it can be
When I first started working in computing in 1989, I had
been doing about ten years worth of playing with computing before
that. I never majored in Computer Science in college but have
always been interested in how things work and what one can do
with various tools. A fair question to always ask is, "What else
can it do?" Just talking about shell scripting is enough fodder
for a book, career or maybe even a PHD thesis not to mention
countless labor-saving applications you can write to solve
specific problems, etc.
When I started working full-time in March of 1990, my
boss told me that she wanted me to learn unix and C and come up
with all the automation I could for our group. I worked on that
for 25 years, never fully learned C but could certainly write
programs that worked and I made a lot of automation that they are
still using even after I have retired.
Another thing she told me was to get started by thinking
of one specific problem to solve that would make life much easier
for us and concentrate just on that one thing.
That was excellent advice because if you fling off in all
directions at once, you'll get nothing done, think you are a
failure, take drugs and dive in to wet cement which is the reason
for the concrete advice.
Think of something simple such as the way you manage a
grocery list or keep track of your budget, whatever interests
you, and see if you can simplify the donkey work in a little
shell script. Chances are excellent it won't work right but might
tease you by almost working if you could only get X, Y, or Z, to
happen or not happen.
You lookup documentation and see why the command you are
using is blowing up in the way that it is and then try to fix the
problem with more or better scripting.
This is as specific as I can get with a general topic,
but this is how you turn a dream in to a reality on the computer,
many times. You may actually go from a dream to a full nightmare
first, but you are learning all the way.
In case anybody cares, before I worked in computing, I
was a repair technician with Oklahoma State University's Audio
Visual department. I can tell you all kinds of now useless
knowledge about 16-millimeter sound film projectors and many
other classroom gadgets they don't use any more these days.
To answer another question, folks who are blind can
usually tell if a film projector is working correctly because
many of the nasty things that happen to the picture make
mechanical sounds that a properly-working projecter should not
I was going to be a vocational teacher. That job path did
not pan out but the computing path materialized out of nothing
and turned out to be a lot of fun.
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