Where's the Terminal?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

A lot of times—for example, in a lot of the tutorials on this website—you'll be asked to paste commands into "the terminal." Well, in case you're wondering where this "terminal" is...

Ubuntu

In Ubuntu (Unity), just click the Ubuntu logo and start typing terminal.


In Ubuntu (classic Gnome), it's in Applications > Accessories > Terminal

Kubuntu

In Kubuntu, click on the Kickoff icon and just start typing the word terminal, then click on Konsole

Xubuntu

In Xubuntu (XFCE), it's in Applications > Accessories > Terminal

Lubuntu

In Lubuntu (LXDE), it's in Accessories > LXTerminal

Benefits of the Command-Line/Terminal

A lot of new users are afraid of using the command-line (I was one of them when I first started using Linux). For some reason, the idea of typing in commands instead of pointing and clicking on buttons with a mouse seems archaic and scary to people who haven't used the command-line since MS-DOS in the 1980s.

I'm not advocating we use the command-line for everything, but there are a couple of benefits to the command-line:

Sometimes it's just faster. If I wanted to install Thunderbird graphically, it'd take me at least five clicks (and a lot of waiting) to do. If I wanted to install it via the command-line, it would take only one command:

sudo apt-get install thunderbird
Of course, you would have to know what the command is—it isn't easily discoverable, but it is useful.

More importantly, it makes it easier for others to help you. If you're on the Ubuntu Forums (or any kind of online help venue), it's a lot easier for someone to say, Here, paste this command in the terminal than to describe in detail what you should click on, and then what to click on in the subsequent dialogue. In fact, you don't even need to type at all. If someone gives you a command to type in, just copy it and paste it into the terminal.

Terminal commands also give more helpful feedback—usually a text error message if the command fails. If you have errors in the graphical user interface, you may just see something "disappear" or "hang" or "freeze."

Lastly, the terminal is almost universal across Linux distributions and is definitely universal across different flavors of Ubuntu. The instructions for installing a program graphically in Ubuntu are not the same as for doing the same in Kubuntu, but they are the same in the terminal for Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu, and Edubuntu.

You can find out more here about using the terminal:
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UsingTheTerminal
The GUI v. CLI Debate
Let's have the CLI cake and eat the GUI too!

Last updated 04/30/12 01:16

If you have suggestions or corrections for these tutorials, please post in this Ubuntu Forums thread or leave a comment on my blog.

I will not give help to people posting in the above places. If you require technical support, start a support thread on the Ubuntu Forums. That is the appropriate place to ask for help.