The Terminal

Wednesday, April 23, 2008, 08:31 PM – Tips and Hints

OK, so you are a beginner and you ask someone for help and they say “Well, just go into the terminal and…….”

Run like hell. I am so serious here. When I talk about this in my column I have to couch this in acceptable terms, but run like hell is really better. You can do so much damage to your computer if you start messing around in the terminal. One little period or slash mark in the wrong place and you can wipe out your whole system. Any terminal command involves a long string of symbols, letters, and numbers to execute the simplest command and they have to be exactly perfect.

The terminal is part of the unix system upon which the Mac operating system is based and there are some people who like to work there. More power to them. I don’t understand it, but to each his own. It is not the place for newbies because we don’t understand all that code. It is not the place for me and I have been using my Mac for 10 years!

There are help forums all over the place and I once read a note from someone who wanted to know how to move an item from his desktop to a folder. A simple drag and drop operation, but the writer was obviously so new that he had not figured that out yet. Some bozo wrote back and told him to go into the terminal to do it. That is just cruel. There are also people out there who will give a newbie a terminal command that contains erroneous code and then when the damage is done, laugh at them.

The beauty of the Mac, for most of us, is that we don’t have to understand how they work. They just work for us. We are fortunate that there is a whole cadre of people out there who do want to understand how they work and they keep them running and keep making them better for us. Thanks to all of them. I’m related to a couple. They don’t try and send me to the terminal do do anything.

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