loading image... Gichuki P Mwangi

| Terminal |

Perhaps one of the most controversial computer programs. If you have ever come across a movie or series that deals with hacking, you are definitely familiar with the concept of a terminal. The dark backgrounds, the green and red text – the power behind a terminal. For anyone who has seen those movies, the terminal is a must have for any hacker, there is no debate real about that. The question rather, the debate comes up when really trying to understand the terminal.

What is it? A program… In that case, perhaps it should look like that other programs that have buttons to press. This article shall serve as a way of demystifying what may be considered myths about the terminal, but first…

The terminal is a computer program that serves as a command line interpreter for a computer. What is does is that it takes in input from a user and interprets it as a command (of course through the processor) and returns feedback to the user either through some prompt or action of some sort.

Initially, the terminal referred to a hardware device that enabled an administrator to input data into a computer or computing system. This is to mean that the terminal was composed of a keyboard and a monitor for input and output respectively. However as we are all aware, computers have changed over the years – the way they work has not. In this day and age in as much as the earlier definition sticks, the computer terminal is used to input data in plain text. What it lacks is something we call a graphical user interface.

In Linux operating systems, the term terminal is used a lot but in windows OS’s, this changes to the command prompt. The difference is the same really with a variation in the limitations, the sending of commands and slightly how they work. I would like to however point out that while you are limited on what you can do with the command prompt in Windows, there is no limitations to what you can do with the Linux terminal. What you need it the privileges or what is normally called root.

What can’t you really do with a terminal? Nothing. As long as something can be done on that computer, it can be done through the terminal – all you have to do is know the commands. Let me point out some things you can do with the terminal (Applies to Read and Write permissions);
1. Extensive system monitoring.
2. Extensive system-wide configurations.
3. File and folder modifications.
4. Network and local file transfers and sharing.

With those tasks, you can already see why it is popular among hackers as well as server admins. It is important to note that in Linux OS’s, the default user interface is not a GUI rather textual. That is why the terminal is that popular among Linux Os users.

With that tit bit of information, you are now in the know.


Gichuki P. Mwangi

A computer scientist with a passion to solve real world, day to day problems using new computer technologies and those already in existence.

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