A terminal, also known as a command-line interface (CLI), shell, or console, is a text-based interface used to interact with a computer’s operating system. It provides a way for users to execute commands by typing them as text input, rather than using a graphical user interface (GUI) with buttons and menus.
When you open a terminal, you’ll typically see a command prompt, which is a line of text that awaits your input. You can then type various commands, which the terminal interprets and executes, allowing you to perform a wide range of tasks, such as navigating the file system, running programs, configuring system settings, managing processes, and more.
Terminals are particularly favored by developers, system administrators, and power users because they offer more direct and efficient control over the computer compared to GUIs. They are commonly found in Unix-based systems (e.g., Linux and macOS) and can also be accessed on Windows systems through the “Command Prompt” or “PowerShell” applications.
The terminal environment is highly flexible, allowing users to automate tasks using scripts, manage remote systems through SSH (Secure Shell), and access powerful command-line utilities and tools. While using a terminal can have a learning curve, it provides a robust and versatile way to interact with a computer and is an essential tool for many technical professionals.
(Ed: written by ChatGPT; verified by jrivett.)