I originally posted this on October 10th to the wrong blog. I am re posting it to the correct one.
Knowing someone who took Unix in previous years and who currently uses Ubuntu as his sole operating system. I asked him about what we were learning in the class and how it pertains to actually using the operating system. His response was: that class material is more of a history lesson of how people using Unix/Linux had to use the terminal and commands so much in the past. He gave me an example of one of his assignments was to convert all of the .’s in a text file to ,’s using terminal commands. He said this used to be a difficult thing unless you knew the right commands in terminal, but now you can simply open any text editor and click find/replace.
There are some things in class that are necessary to know before using the operating system (like how to install a file, use sudo). But for the most part the material in class is not how people use Unix today. Of course the python programming and other material is definitely used today. I thought it was an interesting point of view and has adapted my expectations for the class.
I feel that our homework 2 and the exercises we have had so far did a fairly good job of getting acquainted with the terminal. The Command school exercise actually helped a lot because by writing down the use of each of the functions, I found myself not doing man on the commands I need to use as often. Also I have started to do most of my project work for this class and Applied Software Engineering through the terminal. For both of these classes, I had assignments due this week and I used the terminal for all the file manipulations such as moving, renaming, removing, etc. I feel quite comfortable in working on the terminal to do file manipulations and using it instead of a typical GUI file system.
One skill that I wish I had or would like to develop is to efficiently use VIM. I have used VIM in the past for simple file modifications but in a couple of my past internships, I had observed my employer using VIM and it was beautiful. The speed and effectiveness at which he completes different tasks and does various operations is unmatched on any modern IDE. He was telling me that VIM was invented by engineers at a time where if you had access through the network to a server or computer, every keystroke cost money so it was designed to be as simplified, efficient, and effective as possible with minimized key strokes. While I feel that VIM is a skill for the past generation, I feel it is a tool that would be quite effective even today if harnessed well. I hope to learn to effectively use VIM as I get more comfortable with the Unix environment. I have an extension installed on my Chrome browser called Vimium which allows you to use VIM keyboard shortcuts to navigate through webpage and so on.
Let me start out by saying I have used a Unix based operating system before, but at the time it was because it was mandatory. I regret that I ever stopped. I think that all computer science and computer engineering students should be forced to use Unix in thier programming classes. We are far too accustomed to dealing with GUI’s, where the navigating is much slower than using a terminal. I think with enough time using a terminal one will prefer it over using a GUI.