The Linux Console - Black Screen of Death?

You could use a wonderful Live CD, see the best graphics in the world of OS with CompizFusion, you were fascinated discovering that in Linux there are no viruses and you discovered the exciting world of FOSS. Until…

… They told you about the console.

  • I want to install a printer, can you help me?
  • Yes, get on the console.
  • And what does my Playstation have to do with it?
  • Idiot, use the Linux console, the operating system that I just installed, the one you asked me for because it does not have a virus and it has a cube that spins.
  • Oh what about that?
  • That is the Linux console.
  • Very ugly! Looks like Windows DOS
  • Take a good look: you have to run dpkg -i driver.deb and then compile this one… blah blah blah
  • What hunger! And do you always have to resort to this to fix something in Linux?
  • You're going to get used to it, it's the best there is, I use it and I'm a happy user.
  • Nooooo, please take this shit out of me, erase it and give me XP. Please!

We Linux users say that our operating system has evolved to ease of use, however, it is a fallacy to say that the console is not necessary. Yes, there are people who say:

I have not used the Linux console for a long time, nooo it is no longer necessary, it is a thing of the past

Lie, it is vital to know how to use the console for the problems that can happen to you in Linux even using the most "girlish" distros that can be found. Y maybe that's what alienates Linux from the masses or not?

What is the Linux console?

In case you got hung up and it's still not clear to you what is Linux console, I'll explain it briefly:

¿Do you remember MS-DOS? A black screen now called CMD in XP? If you have never seen it, I do not blame you, it is that in Windows in general it is a pretty useless application. In Linux you will find a "black window" very similar to that, but much more useful. Linux users must use it periodically, to install things, to move files, to change folder permissions, to configure certain aspects of the system depending on the distro such as the internet connection or the video card drivers.

In Linux, not only system administrators have to know how to use the console, end users also have to know how to understand and make it work minimally, especially if they use Linux at home and have no one to help them. Let's say it's like driving a car, if you buy one, you have to know some mechanics.

If you want to learn how to use the Linux console, I recommend these links:

Linux Console Tutorial - All Linux
The basic Linux commands - Ubuntu Root

Should it disappear?

One of the great criticisms of Linux is based on the fact that it is difficult, in other words, that Linux is not as "usable" as Windows or Mac and I could not say that they are wrong. Radical linuxers answer is: Linux it is not for lazy or Linux not for everyone.

Is it necessary for the user to adapt to the system or should it be the system that adapts to the user?
Is Linux only for some or is it for the masses?

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  1.   hard stone said

    It is true that not everyone "adapts" to the console, but it is not difficult to understand either. It is not something illogical to handle yourself, there are only a couple (quite a few) of commands that you have to memorize (or go to google to refresh your memory).
    Also from experience I know that once you meet BASH, you don't change him FOR ANYTHING. I personally would never change the infinity of things that I can do from the console, due to the negligible (and even pitiful) handling of or cmd.exe.
    Before using my Debian, I knew that with Windows there were limitations, although I never thought there were SO MANY. Since I work with UNIX (and I say UNIX because I work on GNU / Linux, AIX, BSD, etc ..) every day that passes I realize that there are really NO LIMITS …… and that is not only liked by a programmer, or a designer, or a geek ... if not every human being.

  2.   I am said

    [quote] People who refuse to use a system that is proven to be much better than windows just because the console scares them, they don't deserve to use linux. [/ quote]

    Maybe linux does not deserve to be used by everyone because it is not as easy as windows.

  3.   Nacho said

    Years ago I was reading an excellent compilation of science fiction stories, and one of the stories said exactly that: Are you used to your little patch of technology, or does your patch dominate you?
    People who refuse to use a system that is proven is much better than windows (the simplest distros, for usability, the hardest, for reliable) just because the console scares them, they don't deserve to use linux. Let them keep paying like idiots every time a virus cracks their operating system and their vacation photos. That they continue hacking, which is a much more expensive job than knowing how to use a terminal "minimally" ... and for my sake.
    The console is something that a linux user lives with from day to day. There are distros that provide graphical interfaces, but it is not the same (Synaptic case and an apt-get or mandriva and its 200.000 assistants).
    Using a terminal, to give permissions, as sources say, is something quite normal, or simply to configure the Wi-Fi ...
    Now, that people are afraid of it, well, I prefer 5% of users to linux having 50% and everything that "makes linux" is a windowserized standard for idiots.
    The same is very radical ... but it is true.

    Now I ask the question: Is it good for technology to come closer to the user, or is it better for the user to know something about what makes things work?


  4.   CyberWolf said

    The console friend of few enemy of many xD

    I use Ubuntu but you have to be honest sometimes it is necessary to enter the console: P

    Let me tell you something your console looks like from the 60s xD, you couldn't show a more futuristic console like mine

    My Chrome-style console

    PS: That is a theme for Ubuntu called Chrome-Like, in my Blog there is the link to download it and I explain how to install it: P

    1.    leo said

      Let's keep washing the clothes by hand and making a fire to heat the water so as not to be lazy. They want to spend all day configuring to make a printer work, it is up to each of me what I want is for technology to make my life easier. In win there are paid and free soft both good and bad, what is good about Linux is that you can do whatever you want, Ubuntu tries to make the user who uses the PC as a tool and not as a hobby. With so much community they should make a unified linux in which everything can be done and is for everyone, both for those who like to write in the console and those who have the possibility of having a computer with resources and do not want the console, to me I would particularly like options for everything, there are ten billion distros going around, each one changes an icon and changes its name, each one has something good but I can't spend my life installing and uninstalling distributions.

  5.   I am said

    Is naming a disk drive stupid?
    Windows has a somewhat tangled control panel for a new user?

    ….oh, my God…..

  6.   I am said

    I test it and we argue. Thanks nacho for stopping by.

  7.   wom said

    Maybe not everyone deserves to be able to enjoy Linux if they are not determined to learn a little.

  8.   jeickelement said

    It is very stupid and ignorant to say that Windows is easier than Ubuntu GNU / Linux, since Ubuntu makes using Linux 1000 times easier for the end user than Windows; Windows has a somewhat tangled control panel for a new user, instead Ubuntu does not have it, everything is done from the System menu, Windows lists the units by letters, a whole sham, A. C :, D: ... etc blah, instead if you use a DVD in Ubuntu he shows it on the desktop and puts the name of DVD and not an idiotic letter. In Ubuntu configuring a network in the hands of an end user is very easy two or three steps, instead make a user understand that he opens control panel> network> right click TCP / IP…. Bla bla bla bla ……

    Leave the ignorance do not compare an operating system with world standards and thought of Human beings «GNU / Linux», with a garbage of the market that they make it as they want «Windos» !!!!!!!!! !!!!!!

  9.   Joseph said

    Well, for me, the console is the best, it is the essence of Linux, I would say that it is the essence of free software and open source, having the option to enter the very guts of your OS to modify it and customize it to your liking. It is not easy at the beginning but as everyone gets used to it and when one gets to master the console it is only much better than any graphical interface, the mc is a marvel

  10.   Rana said

    I just after 26546565 attempts… .ok 3… but it took a long time to achieve, Ok ?. But hey, the fact is that I could barely install Knoppix ... I put it down for a while and the truth is that I don't understand but nothing, it must have mileeeeees of advantages to be able to modify what you want and see that it broke down, but the truth is that it takes time to learn it, and more if you are so used to an OS as graphical as Windows, I really do not think that one is better than the other simply for different people, my aunt, my grandmother and my mother are worth it if it is open source or not, they just want to see the vacation photos and chat for the "mesinyer", but if it is true that for people who use the computer for more than that, even if it is not an advanced level, it would be convenient and a lot to learn to use Linux to forget about viruses once and for all, blue screens every 5 minutes and more ... But I do believe that it is a process that takes time and there should be no such drastic comparisons between the two OS

  11.   Nacho said

    Esty, I'll tell you in an easier way:
    Installing a program in windows means downloading it, analyzing it for viruses, checking the requirements, installing it, and in your case, cracking it.
    In linux it is "sudo apt-get install program", which downloads, configures and installs it in a single command.
    Oh my god ... Even if the user is very stumpy, it will "add and remove programs", which is in graphical mode ...
    The lyrics, neither it nor it comes to me, the truth is that for those who come from windows the linux file system is strange. And the control panel ... without a doubt, Ubuntu is much easier ...

  12.   Nacho said

    To you for making such an interesting blog ^^

    1.    pepper said

      When you do not have internet to see if it is just as easy. We say what we want.

  13.   bachi.tux said

    Esty ... don't worry:
    EVERYONE USES WHAT THEY WANT (even Win, why not), but when you have problems (I know that your win doesn't have them), call Redmond and ask for the phone number of the official service of your Microsoft LICENSED PRODUCT, paid for good faith, without being able to REINSTALL IT even on the same computer, buying A NEW LICENSE for each NEW PC with the same Operating System and running ALL but ALL of its ORIGINAL and well-paid applications, okay?

    About tastes, colors.
    A hug…

  14.   Juan C said

    Console things are sometimes easier, it's a matter of learning commands ... this applies to everything ...

    but I still find it more comfortable to install programs from a window ... with mandriva or ubuntu, which are the ones I know and they seem very good to me. especially for that of the dependencies, which complicates your life from the console ... or at least that seems to me, hehe

  15.   Nacho said

    well, the dependencies are downloaded automatically in ubuntu, and with aptitude they are downloaded to the related ones ... the only difference I think is the speed, if you know what you are looking for you go much faster ...

  16.   Rana said

    But notice how I'm talking now from Knoppix XD

  17.   Rana said

    But notice how I'm writing now from Knoppix XD

  18.   f sources said

    @Rana: Congratulations on trying Linux, hopefully others how are you do the same.

    I ask some Linuxeros, Would it be a catastrophe if a linux without a console appears?

  19.   Nacho said

    Umm YES… the console is like a multitool that can do everything. You could do a multitude of gtk applications ... configuration ... compilation ... download ... telnet ... python ... but that would reload the application system (More possibilities of error) and slow down the system in case of opening more than one at a time (Case of an airodump with airoplay xD).
    I see it this way, it is easier to learn to use one, which also helps you when the wonderful xserver is going to take wind due to a bad configuration) than to create a lot of utilities that only make you dumb and slow down the system.
    I don't know, I have come to use a shell messenger (that tmsnc = s) as a test of what a terminal can do.
    And I assure you that I am not advanced, but if a program is not in the repositories, I have to compile, now we begin.

    1. ./configure (Usually no problems)
    2. make (Dependencies are usually needed ... Do you open another program or will it be more comfortable to do it from within)
    3. sudo make install (And by the way you give it permissions… I repeat the question… 1 program or several?

    It is a matter of comfort. The console is not the shit of cmd that uses windows that is useless, from the console in linux you can do EVERYTHING, I would not change McGuiver's razor for a "showy" toolbox ...


  20.   LJMarín said

    "I ask some Linuxeros, would it be a catastrophe if a linux without a console appears?"


    Better a beer without alcohol!

  21.   Sergio said

    Linux has its problems, and that some users do not like the console is one of them, although it is hard for us linuxers to admit it.

    In favor of my beloved operating system I have to say that lately the advances are being impressive, and it can be clearly seen that all the advances are converging to the needs of the users. If there are "girls" and "boys" distros, it is because these things are taken into account. For those who like the console and learn, they have distros that perfectly fulfill that function. For those who just want to use the system without worrying about the rest, distros like Ubuntu, every day are getting closer to a system with all the advantages of Linux, added to a great ease of use.

  22.   Ivan lasso said

    I've been going back and forth between the two systems lately. If I do not decide to go completely over it is because of a couple of silly programs (but what I need) and a graphic palette that insists on making the hell out of me.
    As for the console, I admit that I still understand little and that I manage to copy and paste commands when I need something. Also, it is somewhat more uncomfortable. However, I understand its usefulness.
    As for the lyrics ... I'm a teacher, and don't believe Esty, that ordinary users see complicated Windows and, of course, that of the letters.
    The complicated thing is not Windows or GNU / Linux, but moving from one system to another. The complicated thing is the change. Learning doesn't cost as much as adjusting to something new.

  23.   CyberWolf said

    @Esty Keep using Windows, but when the virus hits you don't come crying to linux xD

  24.   rheoba said

    You use Ubuntu but I like more to use the console, to use Vim in console mode, apart from that it seems better to me, it really is better since I avoid consuming resources than having to do all that I do in the console with graphic programs.

  25.   angelvs said

    The console scares even me ... and I use computers since DOS ...

    I understand radical linux users who say that Linux is not for everyone and blablabla… But is not the idea to attract users to free software? If we leave this premise behind, we will have left behind part of the philosophy of free software itself ...

    There is no reason for the «ordinary user» to have to obtain a lot of computer knowledge, since -for them- the computer is not an end, but a means ...

    The console should not be needed by more than advanced users ...

    It is my opinion…

  26.   Nacho said

    But it is what we think a few:
    Is it worth bringing users to linux at the cost of destroying what linux is?
    Does windowserize / idiotize (It is the same for many) an excellent operating system just to bring people?

    I do not think so…
    Linux is what it is. A lot of progress has been made since the days of the console and only console. That some things could be more user-fiendly, maybe, that the console is missing, too.

    Also, look at it like this ... Since when was it a bad thing to learn new things?


  27.   dark hole said

    Well, here a server, I am humbly one of the admins of the Ubuntu-Co group.

    Personally, the console should NEVER be removed, but it should become less and less necessary .. The last time I used the console for a common task was… mmm, I don't know .. 2 years ago ?? Until I found how to make it graphical? (Logically I use it for many things, but I don't think that all people are mounting and unmounting modules of their girlfriend's webcam for a VNC session)

    The same in my family, my sisters have been using Ubuntu for 8 months, and I have no idea what that console is about. Let's face it, we must give total freedom, whether to want to learn or not ...

    My sisters do all that, documents, presentations, chat, facebook, flash games, etc, etc .. Without a single command line .. Do not complicate saying that linux is for a few, how stupid .. please, linux It is for everyone, we are in charge of spreading it.

    Ahh, and about why Windows Xp in the comment ?? .. no more, that could well install a Firefox extension

    Or do it myself and place that I am in an Amiga OS with Amaya browser ... I am in the U. What else is requested ...

  28.   Leo said

    Once free software is implemented in primary and secondary education, all these discussions will change ... It is only a matter of time ...

  29.   Melissa said

    Hello to all linuxers, right now I'm testing linux and it seems great to me especially because it is free and because they say that you can modify it to your liking I would like to know "How to do it" I am reading something about the linux console and I want to learn more every day ………

  30.   Armando said

    The one that those who use windows lose it if they waste their time hehee everything and with the console it is the mere fact that with it one can get the guts out of w1ndows fasil and censiyo only with a few commands and the route of motaje directions either home or if you prefer then a folder with the name you want with mkdir yap with the motaje command j3j3j3 fasil and census one can see what is saved in wndows if you want to know what's up

    and I want to learn more about that, I don't know anything about anything or anything like that

    Greetings to all those who prefer the debian universal system

  31.   Armando said

    Really everyone who is afraid to use the console of the one who loses it, they are one who does not want anything given away everything they buy from wndows if he gives money to Bilgwis jiji is lazy

    there is nothing wrong with it, if they dispose of it, it is better to open a program because it does not know how to use it

    they really complicate life

    to aaa And it is more if they do not want to use linux or who understands them if many have asked me for help how to eliminate the beautiful virus of wndows and well fasil from the root console jiji well relas well the viruses to me modify something but it is not great I just came in with linux and put the bad viruses in the trash if the viruses are weak too

    Oh, then I keep saying I am half-eager to fit a computer

  32.   tree said

    good to all to see I think as a very newbie that I am in this of linux that linux should be adapted to the user, I would love to know how to use linux well but the console cuts a lot. I for my kitaria windows but how I use it for games no I can, apart from what you are looking for is that linux extends and with little things like the ones I have said, you do not get it and I include myself. I would love to use the console but it is difficult to find someone who will explain you from 0 absolute how to use it

  33.   f sources said

    good to all to see I think as a very newbie that I am in this of linux that linux should be adapted to the user, I would love to know how to use linux well but the console cuts a lot. I for my kitaria windows but how I use it for games no I can, apart from what you are looking for is that linux extends and with little things like the ones I have said, you do not get it and I include myself. I would love to use the console but it is difficult to find someone who will explain you from 0 absolute how to use it

    In the article there are two tutorials to learn how to use the console from scratch, greetings :)

  34.   alberto said

    In the article there are two tutorials to learn how to use the console from scratch, greetings :)

    I have been looking at them, sincerely that I will be wrong for sure, the orders that they put to see a directory and such or the content of a folder it is faster for me to do it with the mouse going to the folder open it and such. Sorry for my ignorance in As for linux, what I want is to know how to use it well.

  35.   NATALIA said


  36.   nanzu said

    I want to know what the console is and what it is used for

  37.   nanzu said

    please tell me esk is a job for tomorrow Friday 17/06/11 please is life or death

  38.   Doc Brown said

    Hello «nanzu».

    As you may have read in the post: «In Linux you are going to find a“ black window ”to which Linux users must periodically resort to it, to install things, to move files, to change folder permissions, to configure certain aspects of the system depending on the distro such as the internet connection or the video card drivers. »

    That is to say, that "black window" is a shell (of instructions). It is used to communicate with the operating system, to which you tell through lines of text (command lines, instructions) the operations you want to perform.

    You could also perform these operations in graphical mode, using buttons and screens, but using the command console, you do everything through lines of text.

    A greeting!

  39.   fernando said

    Hello people, well I am trying to understand well what it is about, it is not very complicated but well I need to do handoooo, greetings

  40.   Antonio Felpeto Uceira said

    Good. My humble opinion is that free software is flexibility, which implies that Linux distros can be made with or without a console, closer to the user or not ...
    In summary, I think that there will be distros that focus on the graphical environment and at the user level (such as Ubuntu for example) and there will be those that do not.
    Linux is or not for everyone?
    Well, before everyone used the consoles, and nobody died because of that ... what happens is that windows give everything chewed up and, «why am I going to open that little black and incomprehensible window, being able to click here, and here? ! if this button makes it very clear! Install!"
    Registered linux user 532418
    Registered ubuntu user 33388

  41.   Felipe said

    I personally feel that the hatred towards Windows (Microsoft) is too much, those Radical Linuxeros and others who are not (like many on the forum) are intolerant people who want to dismiss half the world as an idiot for not using what you use.

    «If I use a Ford Mustang and I tell you that it is better than your Grand Marquiz 93, and I tell you that the engine of my mustang is better, it runs faster, you are not going to change your car for a Ford Mustang if your grand marquiz works and it serves you.

    "What is the use of changing if what you have already works well"?

    Now, not everyone wants to learn anything about Linux at all, except from a console.

    MS Windows as well as MAC (apple) have come to "tie their customers"
    Because as companies they know that as technology advances it should become easier. Windows and MAC are very intuitive, that if you have already used Windows or Mac before you will know how to use the new ones.

    I use Windows, and Linux too, but it is not to discredit a company, people prefer it for its ease of use, intuitive and friendly.

    The real problem of Linux is that it is a very fragile system, you can easily break it and with the lack of help in the whole internet, the solution is either to play them or to format ..

    The Software, although for Linux there is good free software (serious) like Blender, Libreoffice (damn Java, you are a resource swallower (flash)) Gimp (the bad thing that it is decentralized), Dia, well, it has very little Serious software .

    It is presumed that in Ubuntu there are more than 35,000 software packages (but are they really 35,000 software packages or are they also counting all the libraries, and stuff ...? Extremely BETA software ..

    How to trust a CD recorder that has version 0.0.75? Fortunately there is pburn or Brasero.

    Linux is going to grow little by little, I mean Linux because of the Kernel (kernel) who really spoils the profitability of Linux are "companies" like Canonical and their Distros that come out every 6 damn months. (WHO CANNOT DO A DISTRO "ROLLING RELEASE"?