Continuing the discussion from CODE keyboard:
Highly edited version of original post by Medievalist
This is ripe for follow up so here goes:
I am going to reply to your post and your quoted essay by saying that I could easily construct an argument supporting GUIs that is as strong as that argument against them. I furthermore take a leap in a meta direction and suggest that the mouse is an ADDITIONAL interface to the command line and a text-based approach.
I frequently make the joke to writers that, in terms of, “In the beginning was the word . . .” What else would a writer think? (They NEVER get it)
How can I explain that to a visual person there is no better entry into the world of computing than what you call grunting. The choice of language to degrade visual thinking is just another (very annoying) layer on this very complex issue. But if you let go of that insult there is nothing left of your argument. I should be ashamed that I don’t have a facile memory and a quick grasp of language and leave the real thinking to people who do have those saintly qualities. Not so saintly, really, but very monk-like or priestly.
And that is the true failure of your argument. It comes from a fear of losing what you perceive to be an employment edge. Argument from self-interest falls flat in a community of trained thinkers.
I won’t leave it on that note, though. The individuals who brought us the mouse and its attendant windows and insertion-point were deep thinkers, too. They sought to make computing easy to engage for the average user. They were designers, though, more than engineers. Consequently they looked to the user rather than the technology for leads on what a universal tool should be like.
The environment known as the xerox/parc approach is in no way a series of cul-de-sacs. Menus reveal every choice available. Unless they are done poorly. For a visual thinker this is critical. The creative work goes on in your head anyway.
We can compare results if you want. I like showing off.
I do code, now, but it was after years of pushing pixels around manually and I just needed to learn how to automate to move faster through the work. I would not have gotten that far without the entry point of the mouse and etceteras.