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Console Based Applications

Console Based Applications

Modern operating systems lay so much emphasis on perfecting the desktop environment. Both Windows and OS X incorporate the desktop environment directly into the operating system. Windows 8 extends this further by adding touch technologies to the desktop environment. Apple has spent 12 years enhancing Aqua, the graphical user interface and visual theme of Mac OS X.

Linux has also seen significant developments in the desktop environment over the years, although this has been less marked, in part because there are so many desktop environments that are available for this platform. Ubuntu has in some ways taken the lead by striking out with the Unity environment, a front-end that works markedly different to conventional desktop managers. Unity is also moving towards touch-compatible window sizes. However, Unity has attracted considerable controversy amongst the Linux community. Further, Linux is some way from bracing touch technology, and will need development in working drivers for touchscreens, and a compatible graphical user interface.

One thing that the desktop environments strive to achieve, irrespective of the operating system, is to seek to improve the user experience. But for many users, developments in desktop environments do not make them bounce about in happiness. Whilst the speed and easy-of-use of desktop environments with their graphical user interface applications have seen improvements, the use of console applications has not disappeared. Some users are in their comfort zone running console based applications, and some firms continue to use console applications to process data tasks. Console based applications are still widely used in the real world for many different tasks.

A console application is computer software which is able to be used via a text-only computer interface, the command line interface, or a text-based interface included within a graphical user interface operating system, such as a terminal emulator (such as GNOME Terminal or xterm). Whereas a graphical user interface application generally involves using the mouse and keyboard (or touch control), with a console application the primary (and often only) input method is the keyboard. Many console applications are command line tools, but there is a wealth of software that has a text-based user interface making use of ncurses, a library which allow programmers to write text-based user interfaces.

Console based applications are light on system resources (very useful on low specified machines), can be faster and more efficient than their graphical counterparts, they do not stop working when X Windows is restarted, and are great for scripting purposes. When designed well, console applications offer a surprisingly powerful way of using a computer effectively. The applications are leaner, faster, easier to maintain, and remove the need to have installed a whole gamut of libraries.

Turses in action

Last File Manager in action

It is true that some categories of software do not translate well to the console. For example, it would be difficult to recommend using a console based office suite, or a console based CAD application. However, it is surprising just how many applications with a graphical user interface can be replaced with equivalent or superior console based applications. With this in mind, we have compiled a number of Group Tests showcasing excellent console based applications. We have also compiled Group Tests which have a section devoted to console based applications. There are many other group tests we have written which also contain one or a few console applications which rank as high (or higher) than their graphical equivalents.

Group Tests of Console Based Software
ASCII Games Text-based games that are often forgotted and neglected
Multimedia High quality console based free Linux multimedia software
Twitter Clients for the most popular microblogging service
Network 'top' Tools top is a troubleshooting tool
File Managers Keyboard friendly file administration
Plain Text Screencasting Digital recording of computer screen output
Compilers Converts language statements into machine code
Revision Control Essential tools for programming collaboration
Configuration Management Repository related to components of an information system
Data Recovery Retrieve data from corrupted or damaged storage media

Group Tests which have sections covering Console Based Software
Security Exhaustive survey of all the finest security tools
Web Browsers The quintessential desktop application
Email Email software
News Aggregators Collect news, weblog posts, and other information from the web
BitTorrent Peer-to-peer file protocol for sharing large software and media files
Backup
Perform a complete back up of a file, data, database, system or server
Compression Tools Store data in a format that uses less space than the original representation
Disk Usage Analyzers Helps users to visualize the disk space being used
Git Clients Distributed version control systems
Editors Software used for editing plain text files

Return to our complete collection of Group Tests, identifying the finest Linux software.

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Last Updated Sunday, April 27 2014 @ 10:26 AM EDT


We have written a range of guides highlighting excellent free books for popular programming languages. Check out the following guides: C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, CoffeeScript, HTML, Python, Ruby, Perl, Haskell, PHP, Lisp, R, Prolog, Scala, Scheme, Forth, SQL, Node.js (new), Fortran (new), Erlang (new), Pascal (new), and Ada (new).


Group Tests
All Group Tests

Top Free Software
5 Office Suites
7 Document Processors
6 Lean Desktops
6 Desktop Search
9 Project Management
9 Groupware Apps
14 File Managers
10 Databases
21 Backup Tools
21 DVD Tools
21 Window Managers
21 Productivity Tools
9 Terminal Emulators
21 Financial Tools
21 Text Editors
21 Video Emulators
21 Home Emulators
42 Graphics Apps
6 CAD Apps
42 Scientific Apps
10 Web Browsers
42 Email Apps
12 Instant Messaging
10 IRC Clients
7 Twitter Clients
12 News Aggregators
11 VoIP Apps
11 Remote Display Apps
42 Best Games
42 More Games
21 More Games
21 Notable Games (1)
21 Notable Games (2)
21 Notable Games (3)
8 ASCII Games
9 Educational Games
42 Audio Apps
42 Video Apps
6 Screencasting Apps
80 Security Apps
9 System Monitoring
6 Family History Apps
11 PDF Tools
6 Music Servers
6 Collection Managers
7 Calculator Apps
8 Geometry Apps
Free Console Apps
14 Multimedia
Programming
8 Compilers
9 IDEs
9 Debuggers
7 Revision Control Apps
6 Doc Generators
'Free' Proprietary
21 Closed-Source Apps
Top Commercial Apps
42 Games
Free Web Software
21 Web CMS
14 Wiki Engines
8 Blog Apps
6 eCommerce Apps
5 Human Resource Apps
10 ERP
10 CRM
6 Data Warehouse Apps
8 Business Intelligence
6 Point-of-Sale

All Group Tests

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