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Re: Octave User Interface

From: Jaroslav Hajek
Subject: Re: Octave User Interface
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2010 21:46:51 +0100

On Wed, Feb 3, 2010 at 5:57 PM, David Grundberg <address@hidden> wrote:
> Jaroslav Hajek wrote:
>> On Tue, Feb 2, 2010 at 1:16 PM, Brad Ochocki <address@hidden>
>> wrote:
>>> Hello,
>>> I am a long-time user of MatLab, and am trying to switch to GNU Octave
>>> because it is open source and, well, free.  I've installed the Windows
>>> Installer from Octave-Forge, and have Octave up and running.  However,
>>> I'm a
>>> bit disappointed that the programme's user-interface is limited to the
>>> Windows command line interface.
>> This is caused by the fact that the intersection of the set of people
>> who need specialized GUIs with the set of people who are willing to
>> actually contribute to the project tends to be very small. My habits
>> even evolved to the point where I tend to be disappointed by programs
>> that don't offer a scriptable command-line interface :)
> True, true.
> Actually I'm grown up in a GUI environment. It wasn't until the late
> nineties that I realized that GUIs wasn't the best way to communicate
> commands to a computer. Now a days I have to struggle to keep my complaints
> to myself when having to use some GUI-only interface. It's almost ridiculous
> what a difference in expressibility it is.

I recall reading a tutorial book back in the good old times when DOS
ruled the computers in our country. Creating batch files was described
as early as third or fourth chapter, even prior to discussing norton
commander and antivirs. The idea was simple: if you repeat some
commands often, just write them in a batch file and use that. If you
want it to work on any file, use %1. Etc.

A couple of years later I already had Windows 98, and I could do
everything by clicking and dragging, but I clicked and dragged over
and over again. No natural automatization, no creativity in working
with the OS, at least for normal people. WSH had to be downloaded from
MS, and digging up the docs was even harder.

In short: CLIs make programming natural, GUIs don't. CLIs tend to turn
users into programmers. Maybe that's why big software corps don't like
them and condemn them to history.


RNDr. Jaroslav Hajek, PhD
computing expert & GNU Octave developer
Aeronautical Research and Test Institute (VZLU)
Prague, Czech Republic

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