How did people here learn GUIs

Paul Merrell marbux at
Wed Jul 20 01:53:45 UTC 2016

On Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 4:33 PM, Jude DaShiell <jdashiel at> wrote:
> Paul,
> 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 distributions.

Yes. I've tried it but didn't get into it because I found my home with
NoteCase Pro and its embedded Lua scripting interpreter.  On Cinnamon,
I've booted it (the Linux Mint version) from a live DVD a few times.
But I'm looking for continuity in an OS/desktop for productivity
reasons, so have stuck with the Mate desktop.

Best regards,


> 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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>> Blinux-list at
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