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Welcome to the Slackware Documentation Project

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CLI Introduction

A command line interface (CLI) is a way of interacting with an operating system or programs using text commands. As opposed to graphical user interfaces (GUI), CLI, due to its nature, is heavily keyboard oriented. Despite a steeper learning curve, this way of interaction has a wide range of benefits and is therefore preferred by many users.

Since most Slackware configuration and administration is performed using the command line interface, it is highly recommended to understand and feel comfortable using them. An additional advantage is that 99% of the commands are universal for most Linux distributions. Things you learn here will most probably be applicable elsewhere.

CLI is good - Do not fear it

The following are some of the advantages to using CLI:

  1. CLI commands are more precise and powerful than GUI interaction.
  2. GUI tools are often just frontends for command line tools. This brings another layer of complexity and is more difficult to troubleshoot.
  3. Most commands are distro agnostic: they work on other Linux systems as well.
  4. CLI commands are building blocks that can be put together to create custom scripts that are tailored to your needs.
  5. CLI commands can be used to automate repetitive tasks
  6. CLI commands do not change often.
  7. Commands make a universal language that is easy to communicate and follow by other internet users.
  8. CLI scripts can include comments that can act as notes and internal documentation explaining the functionality and simplifying future modifications.
  9. CLI based instructions are easier to document for sharing with others as opposed to long how-tos and screenshots necessary for GUI instructions.

CLI is powerful - Use it wisely

Being very powerful and flexible, CLI commands can also be unforgiving and potentially harmful to your system. Please remember about the following:

  1. Do not run commands as root unless it is absolutely necessary
  2. For learning and everyday tasks issue commands as a normal user
  3. Some commands cannot be undone - test your commands carefully before you run them on your system
  4. Avoid running commands that you do not understand (especially as root)

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