back to article Google hits coder G-spot with Linux command line tool

Google has introduced a command line utility for accessing various Chocolate Factory services, including YouTube, Blogger, Google Docs, Calender, and Contacts. And an army of text-interface obsessives have responded with glee. "I love you!!" one coder told Google. "This couldn't be better!!" "Ooh, I hope it's not April 1 …


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  1. Paul 129
    Thumb Up

    This will save time

    Since I haven't settled upon an android platform yet, I havn't needed to start scripting up some crappy webbased adaptor to get the data out that im interested in. A scriptbased interface to access stuff directly.... "Cooool!"

    (Yes I am a nerdy greybeard, linux fan. Can't be stuffed dealing with anything more complicated)

    Win=="your a pirate until proven licensed"

    Mac=="Look over here its an iPad, you can join the club if you have one"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      your footnotes

      I would have voted you up had you not turned the end of your post into an anti-microsoft rant, which is nothing to do with this article.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was that sarcasm?

    Why the poor attempt at sarcasm? As it happens, command line interfaces are more efficient for certain tasks, especially those which are repetitive and/or lend themselves well to automation, they are also faster in some instances (not just for general admin, take for example skilled CAD operators, who use the command line as their primary interface with the mouse being just an extension of it). The right tool for the job and all that.

    The tone of the article feels a bit like mocking touch typists just because you're a two-fingers only, stare and poke type. Nevertheless, thanks for the news.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shoddy sarcasm? Stands to reason.

      After all, a large part of the readership and perhaps even most el-reg hacks are two-finger typing windows users. How I know this? Most people are, even nowadays, and seeing the mockery, well.... Not that hard to put two and fingers together and recall that's how we got around back when we weren't enlightened yet.

      I recall doing a CAD practical back in university. Group of four, one of them had had *a lot* of experience with the program already. He took the keyboard, the other guy had the mouse. I had the other keyboard, and the fourth had the associated mouse. We two spent most time looking over the first guy's shoulder, picking up his commands, highlighted by the occasional point and click. I think we four finished that practical in maybe a quarter of the time.

      If I hadn't had a unix (or even ghod forbid, 4dos) background already, that experience would've converted me. The ability to say right away "I want *this*" instead of spending time poring over menus to find just the right button is quite useful. The ability to ``can'' sequences for later re-use, even moreso.

      Sure, some GUIs come with "macro" capabilities that let you record and later replay sequences of clicks, yet somehow that hasn't caught on as much. The main GUI vendor being what it is, for a good entire-platform solution you need to go third party (what, surprised? why?) and some reasonable ones do exist. But using any such thing usually boils down to recording a sequence, then to make sure it'll work in slightly different circumstances, too, and oh remove most of the crud that inevitably accumulates, you end up bringing up the textfile with the script and editing that anyway. In IT parlance, ``GUIs just don't scale''. Since automation is the most important thing we IT people can do to add value, that's somewhat important, I'd say.

      That, next to my amazing selftaught ability to touch type a meagre 65wpm (I know a one-handed guy who manages 85, a good secretary will manage 200+), indubitably makes me an insufferably arrogant evangelist fanboi elitist in the eyes of this el reg hack, deserving all the sarcasm he can manage to leverage.

      Oh well, bring it on I say. But do try harder, please. This was just... poorly done, and bland.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        200 wpm ...

        the world record for sustained typing is about 150 wpm iirc, although short bursts of 200+ are possible. But hardly by an average secretary - Barbara Blackburn, the world's fastest English language typist (using a Dvorak keyboard btw) can do it, but I doubt your company's fastest secretary can.

    2. Anton Ivanov


      That is besides the fact that if there is a command line interface you can integrate nearly anything to it. You can tie it up to your company's CRM, to issue tracking systems, network management, alerts - you name it.

      That is simply not a viable option if something has been dumbed down to be GUI only (one of the reason why I hate Gnome - most apps are done so that they are GUI and GUI only with the GUI deeply embedded in the state machine).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        that is also why a TUI is possibly worse than a GUI. I'm looking at certain ata-to-scsi raid and certain switch vendors here. Names withheld to protect the guilty. I've had a few times that some vendor claimed to support a "command line interface" only to have it turn out to be some text-based menuing system that assumed things it had no business assuming. Oh the letdown.

        Assuming a m$dos "ansi.sys" type terminal on a serial port and no way to ask for a screen refresh. Yeah, that works well on a networked 64 port serial console server.

        On the gnome tangent I could say a lot more, but I'll stick to this: It redefines bloat, and it turns out infectuous. The open source angle here is merely that you can see in painful detail what the bloat consists of as opposed to just landing in a hell of a thousand faceless dlls.

        On issue tracking systems: Why do they insist on abusing the Subject: header to reinvent In-Reply-To:, and comically badly at that? ``Email integration'' is a lie if it means just stuffing everybody's inbox with useless messages, especially if you can't manage all of the ticket from that very same inbox. Oh the ineptitude.

        We IT people have our work cut out for us.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC 14:12 and followups

      Thanks guys - I haven't heard all the arguments in favor of the command line before. It's a revelation! Thank God I read The Register; otherwise I'd never have learned from your wisdom and experience! Didn't England win the World Cup in 1966? That was also a revelation last time I heard it ...

  3. Steen Hive

    Command-line orgasms

    So many people have a problem with just actually telling a computer what to do, as opposed to performing unending abstracted hoop-jumping by rote.

    The lazy bastards :-)

  4. Tom 7 Silver badge

    We're doomed, doomed I tell you

    if children play with this sort of thing then they may learn to put several commands together and whole graphics/pr departments will be replaced with batch files and we wont be able to move on the streets for out of work people explaining to us in a patronising manner how cars and traffic lights will never catch on because they're not shaded in quite the right way or how its been shown by Hiccups, Windrush and Follow-Through (PDF download £99) how the whole concept of simple one click on-line sales really needs to be padded out with 'dickheads who bought this toothpaste also bought a trident submarine' to actually sell toothpaste...

    Oh shit - all those second hand macs bringing down the price of proper PC's

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Nice dig!

      Sorry to burst your bubble there, but I own Macs and 9/10 and apart from my hobby of photgraphy for which I use Photoshop Elements, I love playing on command line. There is so much fun stuff hidden in the command line and it really galls me that more people don't have play down there, not just on Macs, but on any O/S that can give you a command line including Windows.

      When I want to download YouTube vids or scam lots of similar information from websites, ten times easier from Perl/Batch scripts than jerking about in a crap limited GUI that won't do what you want. Video and music conversions using transmission and lame are way easier on the OSX command line than some numpty's botched-up GUI.

      Steve Jobs can jack off all he likes over his GUI design, the underlying stuff is way more interesting!

  5. heyrick Silver badge

    Have to say...

    Even as a RISC OS / Windows user, sometimes the command line is the easiest way to get a job done. Without fancy/additional software, under Windows, you rename a bunch of .jpg files .jpeg how? Click-F2(or-click again),click, e,click. Repeat for EACH file. Or drop to the command prompt and issue "rename *.jpg *.jpeg" and they're all done.

    It'll also add such functionality to any piece of script/software able to make a command call - so obscurities like something to sync between a Psion 3 agenda file and Google Calendar are now possible. :-)

  6. dirk_diggler


    This will really help me. I'm in the GUI on my Linux desktops all of the time, sometimes with a terminal open because it's the most efficient way of getting a lot of things done. Try doing `find /var/log -mtime +30 -delete` in a GUI

    But anyway, thanks for taking the piss out of me.

    - text-interface obsessive.

    (Oh and it's Calendar not Calender)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    this appeals strongly to the geek in me

    So I installed it and even now and posting "Hello World" comments to my, hitherto unused, Blogger blog.

  8. TkH11

    If carlsberg did orgasms they're probably be the best orgasms in the world...

    F**k me! Think I'm going to spend my spare time writing software?! I know we're all geeks but people need to get a life and get out more. At least try not to act like geeks.

  9. Chemist

    Re : text-interface obsessives

    There may well be lots of people who want to interact by CLI with programs but the REAL advantage is being able to embed this type of control into scripts, cron jobs and programs.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    I don't understand the scornful approach of this article.

    Some people like CLIs better than GUIs. Now, Google provides a CLI interface, which from what I can see saves a lot of clicks to do the same job as the GUI. Everyone is happy, except for the GUI-obsessed author.

  11. Andus McCoatover

    Back to the future?

    Or arse against the wall?

    Christ, now I've gotta use my Ubuntu GUI to open a terminal to have, as the writer states, a "command line orgasm".

    Yeah, right.

    (OK, I can see the point for writing automated scripts, but only just...)

    1. Steven Raith

      Use a GUI?

      Even if you load up a gui, a quick ALT+F2 "xterm" <return> and you can splumph your junk in command line goodness.

      Mind you, my ATI drivers just shat themselves - again - so no GUI goodness for me until I fix the fucker.


      Steven R

      1. Bruno Girin

        GUI? What for?

        Or CTRL+ALT+F1 gets you the first text virtual terminal (CTRL+ALT+F7 to go back to the GUI). Alternatively, install Guake and you just have to press F12 to see a command line drop from the top of the screen.

        1. Andus McCoatover

          Thanks for the heads-up!

          Guake's the muttz nuttz. Just installed it, and ... lovely.

        2. Steven Raith
          Thumb Up


          Aye, I was pointed to this by some chums on IRC (yes, it still exists!) a few days ago, and I nearly shot my load in my pants - it's a great little tool and well worth getting.

          I'm planning on spinning up a troublshooting USB-pen distro for myself and my non-linuxy work colleagues based on Ubuntu (for the work colleagues, of course) and Guake will be in there.

          They can use the nice GUI tools I'll put in it, I can use Guake.

          Lovely stuff.

          Steven R

  12. David 45


    Is there some point to all this?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    though I'm probably never going to use it due to the fact that I don't upload things to Google, it never hurts to bolster ones e-penis.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    Why the sarcasm? This is actually very useful from a scripting point of view... I can see our business using this.

  15. ElReg!comments!Pierre
    Thumb Up

    Fucking brilliant

    I might actually have a look at Google products now that there is a proper way to interact with them.

  16. jake Silver badge


    I've been updating my Internet pages from the command-line since before the WWW existed (Gopher & FTP, finger, etc.) ... What, exactly, does this give me that I haven't already got? Other than locking me and my data into the google database, that is.

  17. Subban


    Already knocked up a script to upload images much faster, pops up a zenity window to ask for the album too. gThumb will be getting a hotkey bound to a command to upload an image also, much faster.

    The calendar isn't so useful yet, it doesn't report events for all calendars it seems, only the default. And you can't set which calendar an event is added to. I reckon that will be sorted later though, then it will be very useful, especially with a couple bash aliases.

    Off topic, the crappy sarcasm of this article is becoming too common on the reg these days, I'm actually starting to reach the point where I can see I might get sick of reading here, which is saying something as I've been here for donkeys years. It got annoying a while ago, now its just wearing me down till I give up loading the site.

  18. Mike Kamermans

    So it's "command line", but really it's just python

    So they wrote their own python module, and then made command line "utility" frontends that use that module.. and this is a big deal? Just fire up python and use that module to make your own, better utilities?

  19. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

    Filed under...

    "Something possibly nice to do that I might get around to looking at someday"

  20. Rattus Rattus
    Thumb Up

    <3 Command lines

    It's about time. No point repeating all the advantages of command lines that everyone has already mentioned so let me just voice my approval of this move.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    In the beginning was the command line

    Nuff said

    1. Anonymous Coward


      ...In the beginning there were lights and switches !

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: AC 09:42

        No, in the beginning there were hard-wired relays & punched paper.

        And before that, there were banks of beads on sticks. Or was that beans in groves?

  22. Alastair 7

    Some of the comments here...

    are bordering on pompous. Using, and liking, a command line interface is great. Acting self-righteous and pompous about it, less so.

    Not everyone that uses a GUI is a mouth-breathing moron. There are a huge number of tasks that can be done quicker with one- but yes, there are a hell of a lot of places where a CLI is useful too.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      MBMs and GUIs

      It's not so much that "everyone that uses a GUI is a mouth-breathing moron", more that "every mouth-breathing moron uses a GUI" (if they use computers at all).

      Menus: for people who can't remember commands and have to read the list afresh every time, even after years of using them.

      Toolbars: for people who would use menus, but can't read (not a reference to dyslexics, but to people who can't be arsed to learn even the basics).

      Dialog boxes: for people who can't learn command options and arguments.

      1. Alastair 7


        What's quicker:

        typing "copy mylongfilenamethatgoesonforever.txt d:\"

        or dragging an icon from one window to another? I don't care how quickly you type, unless you're an utter 'tard dragging is quicker, or at least as quick.

        Stupid command line elitism is stupid.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Alastair 7 ... allow me to turn that around.

          What's quicker:

          typing "mv ~/downloads/mylon* ~/wrkinprgs/"

          or opening a window, then opening another window, and selecting which subdirectory (sorry, "folder") to be in in each window, and then dragging an icon from one window to the other?

          "I don't care how quickly you type, unless you're an utter 'tard dragging is quicker, or at least as quick."

          Not when you have a terminal open ... and know how to use it. Your lack of ability with a CLI doesn't make my CLI speed and precision any less real.

          "Stupid command line elitism is stupid."

          Stupid is as stupid does.

        2. Anonymous Coward


          "copy my<TAB> d:\"

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Well done for some sensible balance... I use GUIs all the time, but I always have a command line open (beit Windows, Linux or MacOS). Having said that I don't think that this is really a story, all well written applications should offer a command line option. I've never found anything that can't be done from the command line in Windows, the only thing that I can't find how to do in linux is open a window at the current CLI directory (akin to 'start .' in Windows) and the same goes for MacOS

          At work we write scripts to manipulate our disks, so that when someone is carrying out work at 3am they don't stuff it up with a GUI, rather they use a pre-checked script running commands through the CLI. The GUI is great to display what has been done though.

  23. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

    I can't believe nobody has said...

    -editor vim #?!!!11!1

    -editor emacs FTW!

    Thank you

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pick your poison

      pico, nano, elvis, joe, what-have-you.

      nvi for me, thanks.

      But really, why is that a switch? Don't have EDITOR or VISUAL set? Or is that another google can't give no respect thing?

  24. Baudwalk

    google docs edit --title "Shopping list" --editor vim

    We need a cigaret icon... Ahhhh...

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Bots for all

    So if i wanted to automate the creation of email accounts backed by other google based credentials on a large scale to send out "marketing information" (read malware), and i knew a little python........hmmm

  26. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    So how long until I can type

    $ reg comment --file mycomment.html --icon "paris"

  27. Gav

    Google just doesn't get it

    In order to satisfy a true command line nerd you need to strip out all the vowels and hide the main functionality behind switches of indeterminable origin. And preferably use hex someplace in a way that means you can never remember how to do anything without a wallchart (that you hide behind your Blade Runner poster, in case anyone realises you don't know them all off the top of your head)..

    That command line should look like;

    $ ggl bl pst --blg "My blog" --t "python, googlecl, development" -z my_post.html -q 8FCDx

  28. JimmyPage

    GUI vs TUI

    despite having coded since ZX basic, I generally prefer GUIs for non-trivial tasks. A *properly* designed GUI can help understand the underlying nature of the task you are trying to achieve, and drive you in the right direction. For example a couple of radio buttons with a text field that is only active when a certain option is selected. Or a checkbox which enables more options. Or a file selector which ensures a certain file exists before proceeding (although I love the *nx shell's auto complete feature).

    I'm not saying there will never be a need for a TUI, but it pays to be pragmatic.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mistaking the TUI yet again

      A TUI generally means some menuing thing much like a GUI, only in text mode. It still sports tick boxes and radiobuttons and whatnot. And it might even support a mouse. And it's not scriptable.

      A CLI, OTOH, takes commands and thus is scriptable. Or ought to be. I'm making it part of the definition of ``Command Line Interface''.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Wedgie the lot of you...

    go out and get some sun shine's only a computer...

  30. copsewood

    tools for the job

    GUIs for things you do infrequently or that inherently require a human being to be in full attendance e.g. games. Command lines where verbs, adverbs, nouns, pronouns and adjectives give greater flexibility of control, more rapid selection of multiple objects and an easier route to learning how to automate something where the bottom rungs of the ladder haven't been kicked out of the learning curve.

    Probably the main difference between humans and animals is verbal communication so we all have the inherent ability to learn new languages, if this isn't stamped out of us at childhood soon after we have learned out first verbal language. Frankly I'm too lazy not to do command lines - get the computers to do the repetitive work, because that is primarily what computers are supposed to be for.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    "Wow .."

    . said another. "There goes my Friday evening."

    Whenever I worry I'm too much of a nerd, comments like this make me realise I have a long ,long way to go to reach those heights (depths?) of nerdom. This makes me feel less sad.

    Not that there's anything wrong with enjoying programming or caring about the command line, but if that's your idea of Friday night good times it shows a distinct lack of imagination.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Title Required

    Way to get an hard-on!

    Paris, well because...

  33. Olius

    Coder quotes..?

    It does make me chuckle when tools like this are released, the world goes crazy and coders are quoted as saying it's the best thing since cheese on toast.

    Google have, no doubt, made a good job of this tool, covering all their services in an easy to use fashion. And it will have some use in shell scripting.

    But the APIs used are well written and documented and easily accessible (Web services being the easiest to exploit and integrate, server or client side). If the coders quoted were worth their salt, they would write their own.


  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Explain this scary tomorrow

    The real miracle is that google has a feature that can parse

    $google calendar add "Lunch with Jason tomorrow at noon"

    and make sense of Jason, lunch and today. Noon I can accept.

  35. Jim 59

    Quite Interesting

    Steady on guys. El Reg was just using a little humour to brighten your coffee break, as is its wont. The whole article was written with /usr/bin/ed, I'll wager, by a heavily bearded former contributor to Dragon User or Amstrad Action.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Saves money using UMTS

    Very convenient and cool!

  37. E 2

    Scripting interface

    Anything useful that has a database back end can benefit from a scripting interface.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Ctrl-P in Word 2007?

    It took me the whole of 300 seconds to find the freaking print command on the new Office. In fact, I got so utterly bored that I hit ctrl-P and stuffed it down the neck of the next available printer, IN GOD DAMNED 30 SECONDS, before spending the rest of the 270 seconds looking for the whole printing menu through the re-failed GUI.

    It gets worse in Excel. I just hit Ctrl-1 and get my cell formatting done. Geez, it looks like my groceries store that likes to reshuffle everything, forcing you to waste time looking for your favorite ale, and all you can find are frozen veggies.

    I miss CAD command-line prompts. Every GUI command gets mirrored there, so you can tell what the hell the machine is doing, or just did. Windows should have it, long time. Yes, I would gladly make it a permanent addition to the bottom of screen, rolling through all the inserted commands on GUI.

    Kudos to Google to make it command-line friendly. (Keyboard shortcuts relate to command-lines beautifully, don't you think?)

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Reductio ad Chromium...

    The browser is dead... long live the browser!

  40. This post has been deleted by its author

  41. Yordan Georgiev
    Jobs Horns

    It is not only for Linux ,it works also on Windows ...

    since it utilizes Python, which is pretty much cross-platform ... and I thought that El Reg writers are computer literate ...

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