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GUI Programs Are Underrated

In the free software community, I often see the ultimate goal of mastery being portrayed as using only text and terminal programs. People follow this ideal so strongly that they disregard the entire purpose of the goal, efficiency and minimalism, and simply do it for the meme/to look cool. I myself went through this phase, and I am a more competent computer user because of it, however now, I use more GUI programs than I do terminal programs. I still do all of my development work, file management, and system configuration through the terminal, however, most of my daily use applications are all graphical: Firefox, osmo, hexchat, claws-mail, and deadbeef primarily. One common misconceptions is that a GUI equals necesity of the mouse. While I do chooose to sometimes use the mouse, I can use many of these programs entirely from the keyboard. In Firefox, for instance, I use the Vim Vixen addon to facilitate a keyboard-driven workflow (the experience isn't as smooth as chorizo, or other dedicated keyboard-driven browsers, however). Other programs such as Hexchat can be used mostly from the keyboard right out of the box. Advanced functionality such as modifiying settings and whatnot still require using the mouse, however I find that to be more efficient, as exploring a settings menu, or list of options is largely an exploratory process, and using the mouse gives a bit more freedom to that.

Text-based email clients, for example, I have never found to be efficient more efficient than their GUI counterparts. I've used both aerc and mutt fairly extensively, and always spent more time learning keybindings, and mucking around in config files than actually reading email. An email client is so multi-faceted and complex that a GUI simply makes up for all of its drawbacks. The one caveat to this may be access to Git commands, however, save-as'ing a patch, and using git imap-send, is also a viable workflow.

I suppose the point of this was to encourage people not to feel like lesser computer users for using GUI programs. In many cases they can work better than terminal programs, and everyone's workflow is different


Last updated on 2021-08-05