How did people here learn GUIs

Kyle kyle4jesus at
Tue Jul 19 00:02:20 UTC 2016

I started out with DOS for a rather long time throughout the 1990's, and 
eventually tried to make the transition to Windows 3.1, which I truly 
hated once the novelty of it began to wear off. From there, I saw all 
the strange errors in Windows 95, but it didn't have speech software at 
the time, so I felt safe from them. Eventually, I got my own computer 
running Windows ME, and cursed it because everything caused an error in 
like everything. As soon as I could get it in about 2002, I got Windows 
XP, and I cursed it, because they took away a lot of the DOS commands I 
was used to running from within the DOS window, and it crashed out on me 
as many as 3 times a week or more. It also bothered me greatly that I 
couldn't find all the configuration files I was used to dealing with in 
DOS, things like config.sys, and then of course there was the fact that 
they eventually even made win.ini completely useless because the 
registry did more and more of that kind of thing, and was much clunkier 
and made things much harder to find.

Around the beginning of 2003, I saw a Unix shell for the first time. I 
believe it was tcsh on a system running an old version of Red Hat Linux 
that was about 2 years old at the time I used it. Suddenly, a whole new 
world simply opened up in front of me, as I learned more and more 
commands that were even shorter than the DOS commands I was used to 
using, and the config files weren't in a YUUUUUUGE registry with 
sections with odd naming conventions, but were instead in a file and 
directory structure I could understand. I recall thinking of Linux as 
DOS on steroids. At the time, no screen reader existed that worked with 
X Windows, also called the X Window System, with GNOME and KDE as the 
two choices of graphical desktops, but it didn't matter to me, as I was 
where I wanted to be, doing what I wanted to do, working with something 
that was kinda like DOS, but so much better, and didn't crash either.

Fast forward about 6 months, and I learned of something called 
Gnopernicus, that was supposed to allow me to use GNOME. It wasn't all 
that great, and I still couldn't do my online banking with it, as it 
didn't work that well with Firefox just yet, but it was a start, and I 
was able to do some pretty simple stuff with it. But still, I did stay 
mostly in text mode for a long time, even through most of the short life 
of LSR, which was much more complicated and harder to understand than 
Gnopernicus, although for some things it actually did work better.

And then along came Orca. It blew everything else out of the water, and 
allowed me to do online banking, paying the bills and everything, all 
using Firefox, as the text browsers never could go on bank sites and 
even allow me to login on my bank's website, even for the purposes of 
just checking my balance, let alone paying the bills. Firefox opened up 
another whole new world, as using it to do that one thing I wasn't able 
to do in the text consoles of Linux allowed me to finally rid myself 
entirely of the monstrosity that was Windows XP.

As time went on, I learned more and more of the graphical desktop in 
addition to the things I learned of various distributions, from Fedora 
to Debian to Ubuntu and eventually Arch, and with each version of 
GNOME+Orca and each distribution, the entire experience improved. All 
the time, I wanted other people to experience what I was experiencing, 
but I didn't feel that dropping them into a shell and saying "here's 
your new system, have fun," was a good idea. So I learned the graphical 
way and found more and more ways of doing things that didn't necessarily 
require dropping someone into a shell and telling them to type in some 
cryptic set of commands. To this day, I still keep a terminal open, as 
the best thing in the whole world about Linux is the fact that the OS 
and available applications keep adding more and more choices, taking 
absolutely nothing away, not even that good old GNOME 2.x interface I 
came to love so much. They just call it MATE now, but they certainly 
didn't take it away; they just made it even better. And this is how I 
learned how to use graphical desktops, all the time keeping my knowledge 
of the basic command and filesystem structures. I do believe Arch was 
the key that unlocked the entire world of computing to me, and that's 
why I still love and use it to this day, even though I will not hesitate 
to recommend something even more graphical such as Fedora or OpenSUSE to 
my clients, as I want to help them get up and running, not overwhelm 
them with ls, cp, mv and endless manpages and wiki documents. Hope this 
helps, maybe a little.
Sent from the ladder

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