How did people here learn GUIs

Jude DaShiell jdashiel at
Tue Jul 19 23:33:44 UTC 2016


Have you tried orgmode for an outliner yet?  Also, have you tried 
cinnamon yet?  If you haven't, org-mode is part of any current version 
of emacs and you get to its documentation by running info org.  Cinnamon 
is a flavor of operating system offered by debian fedora and other 

On Tue, 19 Jul 2016, Paul Merrell wrote:

> Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2016 15:22:01
> From: Paul Merrell <marbux at>
> Reply-To: Linux for blind general discussion <blinux-list at>
> To: Linux for blind general discussion <blinux-list at>
> Subject: Re: How did people here learn GUIs
> I guess I'm going to show my age here. I began my computing experience
> running a DEC PDP8 with a proprietary operating system (punched paper
> tape days). That was followed by several computerized phototypesetting
> machines made by Compugraphic, including one of the very first area
> composition systems, the Compugraphic ACM 9000. (My first career was
> as a typographer.)
> My first personal computer was a KeyPro IV portable (26 pounds), which
> came with a CP/M operating system. I quickly discovered Rex Conn's
> ZCPR modifications for the CPU that enabled more versatile batch
> programming. I stuck with CP/M until MS DOS was at version 5.0, at
> which time I switched to DR DOS with the 4DOS extensions. 4DOS (also
> by Rex Conn) gave DOS approximately the capabilities of the UNIX KORN
> shell of that period. Later I added WordPerfect Corp.'s Shell 4.0 for
> my GUI. Shell was roughly the equivalent of Windows 3.11 but was menu
> rather than window and icon based. And unlike Windows it was fully
> programmable and had task switching memory management that was vastly
> superior to Windows 3.11 (I used to run Windows 3.11 as an app under
> Shell 4.0.)
> Eventually, I was forced onto Windows 98 as program support for DOS
> faded away. But Win98 was full of bugs and I never liked the
> window/icon graphical user interface (I have the same issue with OS
> X).  Many of my DOS programs (including Shell 4.0) could no longer be
> used because they lacked long file name support and would convert long
> file names created by Windows and programs to 8.3 format, which would
> bring the system to its knees.
> Windows XP was next. There were a lot fewer critical bugs than Win98.
> I regained a lot of the batch processing versatility by running Rex
> Conn's TakeCommand on top of XP. At the time, TakeCommand used a
> menu-driven paradigm.
> I was forced to take a medical retirement in 2002 (I had been a lawyer
> in my second career) because of an injury that vastly curtailed my
> brain's working memory. At that point I had been aware of Linux for
> several years and after cursing a dual boot setup with Kubuntu for a
> few months bought a second PC for it and switched the XP machine to
> Win7. By this time, TakeCommand had largely switched to the
> windows/icon paradigm but Win 7 was far more stable for the must-have
> Windows programs. And I stuck with Kubuntu until KDE 4.0 was imposed.
> The productivity hit from all the KDE 4.0 eye candy and gadgetry sent
> me running for a new Linux desktop. I wound up using Linux Mint with
> the Mate desktop because of the developers' commitment to keeping the
> Gnome 2 desktop experience alive and there's access to all of the
> Ubuntu distro's packages. Since my retirement, my need for Windows
> programs has largely subsided and I mostly use the Mint box plus a
> laptop that also runs Mint.
> Because of the brain injury, use of an outliner for taking notes
> became important. I wasted a few years looking for an outliner that
> was both cross-platform and capable of a minimalist HTML export with a
> hyperlinked table of contents.  I finally found the one I was looking
> for in NoteCase Pro. I fell in love with it to the extent that my
> retirement hobby for the last 5 years or so is assisting in its
> development as a volunteer, improving its accessibility (still a long
> way to go there), writing its Help file, and writing extensions for it
> in the Lua scripting language. I suspect that because of its
> extensibility it is among the geekiest of outliners out there.
> I love Linux because of the powerful command line with the BASH shell.
> Windows, icons, and mouse pointers at the OS level have all seemed
> like giant leaps backwards to me. But the advertising myth that they
> boost productivity seems unstoppable. Linux at least offers me a
> choice.
> Best regards,
> Paul;
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