How did people here learn GUIs

Janina Sajka janina at
Tue Jul 19 18:19:06 UTC 2016


There used to be a title called Unix Explained. This is years ago, but
there's likely something like that out there still. I'd look on
BookShare and search for Linux.

My advice is to learn by focussing on tasks. And, you can use the prompt
to help you:

the command
provides pointers to relevant possibilities, e.g.
apropos browser

Also, man pages really do rock. Try:
man man -k
to get a listing by keywords of all the available commands. btw,
probably nobody knows all the commands. We use what we need.

Next, it's a matter of learning some console based apps to do certain
kinds of things. Some easy examples:

abcde is a great tool for ripping audio cd roms. It can give you wav
files, flac files, ogg files, etc.

lame will provide mp3 from wav originals

mplayer will play them, or streams from http urls, and optionally write
the stream to a file, etc., etc.

There are, of course, many more.


Anders Holmberg writes:
> Hi!
> Is there a good tutorial or kind of mastering the command line book?
> Of course i could read the linux and unix administrators handbook.
> But that book is a huge amount of text to go through.
> I really would be able to use the command line more but i really don’t know where to start.
> Copying and moving files is  not a problem.
> /A
> > On 18 Jul 2016, at 19:13, Cheryl Homiak <cah4110 at> wrote:
> > 
> > I think this is really a pretty complex issue. It really depends to some extent on how people started out. Those of us who started out with DOS and linux and didn't quickly go the Windows route I believe often prefer or at least like the command line. Those who never did DOS or linux or went straight from DOS to Windows probably do prefer the gui. For Mac users who didn't come from a linux/Unix background, because voiceover isn't as friendly in the terminal, the gui appears usually to be the preference. I still use the command-line every single day and I use brltty on my Mac in terminal and only use Apple braille for the gui. It makes me sad to hear people say, as several did in a class i took recently, that they hate using or are uncomfortable using the terminal; the training guide I have for certification as a support professional repeatedly admits there are things that can be done in terminal that can't be done easily or can't be done at all from the gui yet it appears that Apple requires less and less knowledge of command-line usage and understanding of the Unix underpinnings than used to be required. I very much enjoy the gui and wouldn't want to go back to command-line only but neither do I want to lose my command-line skills. I think the fact that I really have very little skill in the gui in linux has to do mostly with the fact that I began using the Mac when Voiceover was introduced. I still use linux though right at this moment I don't have a linux installation, but I've never really gone to the effort of learning the gui in linux because I mostly meet my needs as far as gui with Mac OS. Probably I should work on mastering the gui in linux also, but I honestly don't know whether I will ever do that, at least as long as I can use Mac OS and i-devices and even a Kindle fire.
> > 
> >> On Jul 18, 2016, at 11:53 AM, John J. Boyer <john.boyer at> wrote:
> >> 
> >> My experience is that most blind people like a GUI with a screen reader 
> >> better than the command line. Those who have teouble with GUIs, like me, 
> >> seem to be decidedly in the minority.
> >> 
> >> John
> >> 
> >> On Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 12:29:39AM +0200, Anders Holmberg wrote:
> >>> Hi!
> >>> Thats intresting.
> >>> I am the total oposit guy.
> >>> I had and have no problems learning gui’s but for me the command line is to hard.
> >>> Although i began with a debian command line system 16 years ago and gave that up for windows a couple of years.
> >>> Now i am back to vinux and a mac with osx.
> >>> I whish i was patient enough to learn command line.
> >>> Maybe i am to dum or maybe i am lazy.
> >>> /A
> >>>> On 17 Jul 2016, at 22:57, Sam Hartman <hartmans at> wrote:
> >>>> 
> >>>>>>>>> "John" == John J Boyer <john.boyer at> writes:
> >>>> 
> >>>>  John> I';ve been trying to get a feel for GUIs for years. Sighted
> >>>>  John> colleagues are no help. They only tell me how they use the
> >>>>  John> mouse. They won't use a keyboard shourcut even when it is much
> >>>>  John> simpler. For example, they will scroll down a long document
> >>>>  John> instead of using ctrl+f to find something.  i've tried
> >>>>  John> unsuccessfully tpo find a Jaws trainer. After I reinstalled
> >>>>  John> Windows 7 recently Jaws wouldn't install. I'm now using NVDA
> >>>>  John> and I don't think I'll go back to Jaws.
> >>>> 
> >>>> This is really interesting, because now I'm realizing that I don't know
> >>>> how to teach someone GUIs on modern equipment at all.
> >>>> I don't know  if I can find a solution, but I'll see if I can toss the
> >>>> question around.
> >>>> 
> >>>> I hear your frustration completely about people who know one way of
> >>>> doing something and who aren't even great at articulating that.
> >>>> 
> >>>> I started to say "well, understanding the mouse at least well enough to
> >>>> get your screen reader to click places and stuff is worth knowing.
> >>>> That's true of course, although I just realized that most of the screen
> >>>> readers I use these days actually wouldn't let me click usefully on a
> >>>> scroll bar if I wanted to.
> >>>> So, even if you wanted to be incredibly slow, you can't get work done
> >>>> just understanding the mouse operations.
> >>>> 
> >>>> Thanks for helping me understand an interesting challenge; I'll let you
> >>>> know if I come up with anything that might help at all.
> >>>> 
> >>>> --Sam
> >>>> 
> >>>> _______________________________________________
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> >>>> Blinux-list at
> >>>>
> >>> 
> >>> 
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> >> 
> >> -- 
> >> John J. Boyer; President,
> >> AbilitiesSoft, Inc.
> >> Email: john.boyer at
> >> Website:
> >> Status: 501(C)(3) Nonprofit
> >> Location: Madison, Wisconsin USA
> >> Mission: To develop softwares and provide STEM services for people with 
> >>        disabilities which are available at no cost.
> >> 
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> >>
> > 
> > 
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Janina Sajka,	Phone:	+1.443.300.2200
			sip:janina at
		Email:	janina at

Linux Foundation Fellow
Executive Chair, Accessibility Workgroup:

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
Chair, Accessible Platform Architectures

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