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A smarter CLI - Innovation by Simplicity

Good command line tools are more important than ever and not just a relict of ancient times in comparison to RIA or GUI applications. Experienced system administrators appreciate their power in sophisticated shell scripts and could probably not manage their environments without them. The question is how can we make command line tools smarter and more powerful than today? This article discusses some ideas and potential implementations always keeping in mind "Do not reinvent the wheel" and "keep it simple".

In the world of free software which made tremendous progress during the last 25 years the CLI (Command Line Interface) never lost it's importance and is still a standard component of well designed applications which expose their APIs and functionality through programming libraries (e.g. in C/C++/C#, Java,...), scripting wrappers (Perl, Python. Ruby, PHP, JavaScript, Tcl, Groovy, Boo, Lua, Lisp, Guile,...), command line utilities, REST/SOAP/XML-RPC/JSON-RPC/D-BUS interfaces and interactive GUI/Web applications.

From a more modern perspective command line tools and the interrelated mini or little languages (e.g. check Eric Raymond's book about The Art of Unix Programming) are special cases of Domain-specific languages (DSL) with the additional focus on interactivity and do not look that old fashioned any more! The syntactic resemblance of command line expressions with functional language constructs e.g. in Haskell or Scala shows further paths of investigation and potential innovations.

The past and future of command line tools




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Beijing Zoo is No Place for Pandas

Pandas in Beijing Zoo
Photo credit: Nick Hopkins

I am a Panda lover. I work as a support engineer in an I.T company here in the United Kingdom. Most of my spare time is spent watching different Panda videos -- both old and new videos. Basically, it is my therapy; a 'stress release' for me. I find them to be adorable and precious creatures. As a matter of fact, I would like to volunteer to come to Sichuan. I want to experience and feel what it's like to be a Panda keeper, to be able to interact with them for real. The Panda is China's National Treasure, so it's a shame to watch the Panda videos from Beijing zoo, as the place is disgusting and not ideal for Pandas to live in (and for sure for all the rest of the animals who unfortunately got stuck in this prison cell).

The place looks like a ghost town. Lifeless and languished. Knowing that Pandas wear a thick fur on their body, can you imagine what it feels for them in 30C or 35C (summer temperature)? What it probably feels like all the time? Come on, if you really care, you must do something now, otherwise these Pandas will die. Please bring them back to their sanctuary where they really belong.

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With the Linux 4.11 kernel potentially being released as soon as today, here are some fresh benchmarks of Btrfs / EXT4 / F2FS / XFS on a solid-state drive and comparing the performance of 4.11 Git back to Linux 4.9 and 4.10. For those wondering if the block/file-system changes of Linux 4.11 have any impact on EXT4/F2FS/XFS/Btrfs for common I/O workloads or how these file-systems are comparing on this latest kernel, here are some benchmarks. Read more

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