[K12OSN] Advocacy in Curriculum

Todd O'Bryan toddobryan at mac.com
Wed Dec 20 19:23:37 UTC 2006

On Dec 20, 2006, at 1:53 PM, Robert Arkiletian wrote:

> There are some great Orielly and Sams Teach Yourself books on Unix. As
> well as online stuff like tldp.org. Anyone have other suggestions?

Unix for the Beginning Mage is cute:


>> Todd
>> P.S. I think you can teach command line stuff as soon as they can
>> type fast enough that it's not frustrating. The key, though, is
>> motivation. They're not going to want to use the command line to do
>> something they can do easier with the GUI. Finding tasks that are
>> easier with a few typed commands would be key to making it
>> interesting for students.
> This is a common misconception. The Unix command line IS the most
> powerful human interface ever. Just sit beside some Linux gurus and
> you will see. I like to compare it to a light saber. Hard to learn but
> once proficient, watch out. Since I teach python programming AND
> linux. I make it clear that GUI programs are fine but how can you
> script mouse movements and clicks. You can't! But you can script
> anything you can do on the command line with system calls. So my
> students know that the stuff they are learning on the command line
> will enhance/extend their programming ability.
> Kids today are addicted to the mouse. The key is to teach them how to
> use the terminal and keyboard efficiently. I sometimes tell them to
> put their mouses on top of their computers so they are forced to use
> the keyboard. Soon they realize (TAB-TAB) how much faster they work.
> But in the beginning it's tough to break the mouse GUI habit.

Let me clarify. I agree with you that command-line tools are much  
more powerful, but you have to get over the "Why do I have to do all  
this typing if I can just click?" mentality. Scripting is a very good  
way to do that, and Python's a terrific language to use. My guess is  
that grep, ssh, and some other powertools are a good place to start.


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