Yesterday I was with a colleague who sadly, runs Windows 7. I was really trying to help him on setting up his development environment and at the end I was getting pretty frustrated by all the clicking and moving windows around. Anyway, this is not a rant against Windows. My colleague asked me why I felt more comfortable on the CLI. Easy to answer, it's faster... if you know what you're doing.

To put some numbers behind my assertion, I started timing some tasks which I do daily:

  • Copying files and folders.
  • Moving files and folders.
  • Create symbolic links.
  • Edit text files.
  • Create folders
Pretty standard stuff everyone does daily on a computer.
After I started timing some of this tasks and thinking about new ones, I came into the conclusion that this wasn't a fair contest, for the GUI. Some basic tasks can be easily done and quite fast (not as fast as in the CLI) but others are impossible. Any task which involved more than 3 iterations are mind numbing, like:

  • Finding a file in a list of compressed files.
  • Renaming a list of files.
  • Editing a bunch of image files.
  • And many more.
On the other hand, I've spent the last ten years working from a CLI pretty much all the time, so I've got some experience which makes me feel comfortable and productive.
Anyway, here are my results which were timed, of course, on the CLI ($time read x)