Start with the Command Line

Posted by Tyler Maxwell on April 18, 2019

When I read the following quote, it grabbed me by the viscera and shook me like a rag doll. I have yet to recover:

A few giant corporations have been imposing their control over most of the world’s computers and deciding what you can and cannot do with them. Fortunately, people from all over the world are doing something about it. They are fighting to maintain control of their computers by writing their own software. They are building Linux.

-William Shotts in The Linux Command Line, 4th ed.

I suppose some are not moved, as I was, by reading this quote (which was taken from a book you need to read as soon as possible). If you, dear reader, are among those souls, you can stop reading here. Thank you for your interest, you can return to your regularly scheduled social media stream. Those who, like me, find this appalling, please read on.

I am not suggesting that every developer needs to contribute to the Linux Kernel. However, at least basic knowledge and understanding of the command line is essential for anyone aspiring to the title of Hacker.

Let me offer a piece of life-changing advice:

“If you are using the Windows operating system, please stop!”

You will be doing yourself a huge favor. However, if you aspire to work for Microsoft and be a .NET developer, then this advice only partially applies to you. I would still maintain that a working knowledge of Unix is indispensable for every developer.

There are numerous tutorials available that will show you how to set up your computer to run Linux along side you Windows operating system. I used this one, but there are many available.

I started learning to code on Windows and I probably could have saved hours of frustration if someone had given me this advice early on. I started by installing Ubuntu along side Windows. I did all my coding on Ubuntu. I found myself booting Linux every time I turned on my machine.

Some will say that in terms of privacy and advocacy for the Free Software Movement, Ubuntu is just as bad as Windows. To these individuals I say, touche! I admit that I don’t feel confident enough to drop Ubuntu yet. The resources available for Ubuntu are abundant and I feel I still need that crutch. However, I am saying that Ubuntu can be likened to training wheels that I will eventually remove.