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Difference between 'Terminal' , 'Command Line', 'Command Prompt', 'Shell' and 'Powershell'

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From: Marlon M.
Date: Thu 25th Feb 2021, 8:56pm
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Hi Arran,

Can you pls explain the following terms using examples where possible: 'Terminal', 
'Command Line', 'Command Prompt', 'Shell' and 'Powershell'.

I've heard all of these terms used interchangeably/in a similar context...so I'm a 
little confused! 

Thanks

Difference between 'Terminal' , 'Command Line', 'Command Prompt', 'Shell' and 'Powershell'

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From: Jason C.
Date: Fri 26th Feb 2021, 9:00am
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I'm not Arran, but here goes (Also someone more experienced, feel free to correct me).

A shell is a program that interacts directly with the Operating System's services, 
interpretting input (commands) and returning output. The other programs you listed are 
built on top of the shell, offering either a command-line interface (CLI) or graphical 
user interface (GUI).

Terminal (in this context) is a command-line interface that interacts with the Mac OS 
shell.

Command line (again, in this context) is the same as Terminal, but for Linux/Unix.

Command Prompt is the Windows version, but also behaves slightly differently (hence why 
we don't use it for any programming classes, but I won't go in to the differences here).

Powershell is again similar to Command Prompt, but is designed on the .NET framework and 
works directly with objects rather than just commands (again, not going in to it here).

Basically:

Terminal / Command-Line / Command Prompt / Powershell <----> Shell <----> OS

Hope this helped!

Difference between 'Terminal' , 'Command Line', 'Command Prompt', 'Shell' and 'Powershell'

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From: Marlon M.  O.P.
Date: Fri 26th Feb 2021, 2:26pm
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Ok thanks!

So how come we use the Terminal application to access the Shell? Can we type commands into the 
Shell directly instead of using Terminal?

Difference between 'Terminal' , 'Command Line', 'Command Prompt', 'Shell' and 'Powershell'

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From: Arran S.
Date: Thu 4th Mar 2021, 12:35pm
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Hi Marlon.

I would not stress about detailed definitions for all these - we'll be looking at 
Powershell, for instance, in week 12, and you'll find out all about it then.

And thanks Jason for your definitions.

Briefly, I'd say:

- "Terminal" means some way of accessing a text interface for a computer. Once upon a 
time, that meant a "teletype machine" (see the attached image). Later, it meant a 
dedicated computer terminal - like a screen and keyboard, but with no computer "of their 
own", instead having a connection to a shared computer. These days, it *usually* means a 
small window on a computer desktop through which you can access the same sort of text 
interface people used to access using teletypes.

- "Command line" is usually used in a phrase like "from the command line", or "having a 
command-line interface" -- you can take it as meaning "from within a terminal", or 
"having an interface that's accessible from a terminal".

- For "shell", you might want to look at how Shotts, the author for out textbook, defines 
it: https://linuxcommand.org/lc3_lts0010.php
I'd define it as "a program that provides users with a way of communicating with and 
controlling the operating system for a computer". (Wikipedia suggests also that the term 
"graphical shell" can be used for the sort of graphical desktop interface that many 
computers have today, but I've never heard that term used.)

- "PowerShell" is a particular sort of shell, initially developed for use with Windows 
computers -- but you *can* now use it from Linux computers as well (though that's not 
common).

I hope that clarifies things a bit! Also do feel free to ask in lectures if any 
terminology is unclear.

cheers,

Arran



"Marlon Moreira" <22*2*9*[email protected]*u*e*t*u*a*e*u*a*> wrote:

> Hi Arran,
> 
> Can you pls explain the following terms using examples where possible: 'Terminal', 
> 'Command Line', 'Command Prompt', 'Shell' and 'Powershell'.
> 
> I've heard all of these terms used interchangeably/in a similar context...so I'm a 
> little confused! 
> 
> Thanks

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