freebsd as the basis for something better?

Kurt Buff kurt.buff at
Mon Jun 27 06:47:15 GMT 2005

Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: owner-freebsd-questions at
>>[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of Nikolas Britton
>>Sent: Sunday, June 26, 2005 8:10 PM
>>To: el-sino at
>>Cc: questions at
>>Subject: Re: freebsd as the basis for something better?
>>>a project where real unix would meet real life, or where open
>>>source would meet open minds -- would have to make unix more human-
>>>oriented rather than machine-oriented. and in addition to bringing
>>>order to the chaos that was laid as the foundation for all unix
>>>variants decades ago, it should also deal with new ways of
>>>interacting with unix visually. for instance, in ways more
>>>convenient than x, and its conventional graphical user interfaces
>>>(though these won't go away any time soon).
>>UNIX is user friendly. It's just selective about who its friends are.
>>New gui tools are needed. lets bring the CLI tools to the GUI, like
>>pipes, redirects, etc. some of apples ideas are nice aka NeXTSTEP. Why
>>are we trying to emulate windows when mircosoft just steals it's
>>idea's from apple? lets cut the middle man out. BeOS was cool too.
> Ahhhh!!!!!
> Why are you guys still beating the GUI interface?  That is so 70's
> computing technology.  The real next generation OS will be
> voice command.  Until then it's just more Window dressing.  It's
> like the Emperor's new clothes - the little boy said "Computer
> please get me a drink of water" and the crowd was amazed when
> the $64,000 OS stacked to the ceiling with GUI just sat there
> lifeless and dumb.
> Ted

Must seriously disagree. Voice command is of very limited use - it's not
private, and difficult to use in crowded surroundings.

Further, if you consider the space in the human brain for visual
processing vs. aural processing, I think you'll find that visual
processing wins. At least for feedback, the human visual system is much

However, the best interface for human input to machines is, IMHO, still
to be determined. I don't claim that the keyboard/mouse interface is
best, but it is, again IMHO, superior to voice command. What would be
better than keyboard/mouse? I really don't know. One SWAG would be
reading brainwaves, or perhap eyeball gestures - but that's just sheer

I'm still a partisan of the command line, however. It's simply too
flexible an interface, with too much history, to ignore. The human
species has spent far too much intellectual capital making text-based
interfaces (try explaining philosophy with pictures only) to the world
to give it up, and the interface is so much more  powerful than any gui,
that I believe it will prove fruitless to try to better it with a GUI.
Electron for electron, a text interface is much more information-dense
than any GUI - for expressing commands. Note the difference. Getting
output in graphic form can be (often is) better than in text, but input
is better through the command line.


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