I’m a CLI-kinda guy. And by CLI, I don’t mean the Common Language Interface, I mean the Command Line Interface. For years and years, I worked in a non-GUI environment (at Cisco), and I fell in love with it. It made me feel like a man – a man in control of a machine in the rawest way possible. It made the whole experience of dealing with complicated machines like routers and switches even more difficult than it already was. But, there would be no other way – you want to setup your router’s interface for the very first time, guess what, you *had* to do it through the console and the CLI. The CLI was THE interface.

For a few years, some of my colleagues and I worked on providing better programmatic access to Cisco routers. But the lovely chaos of Cisco politics including some self-proclaimed “distinguished” engineers (actually just one), and one freggin’ messed up business unit devoted to doing nothing BUT NOTHING (and I’m dead serious) stalled our efforts. My blood pressure just shot up a notch. Anyhoo, except for those set of disgusting experiences with this one business unit, I’d a phenomenal time at Cisco. Honest. And it was mostly because of the IOS CLI.

So, you see, I’m a CLI kinda guy. I’ve been playing with the Monad beta, and I’ve really found it to be quite promising. I need an hour of the CLI every day. Its like using VI (remember, VI?). VI is positioned as a simple text editor, but, you really need to know HOW to use it. By the way, if you used it simply as a text editor, really, you have been missing out. VI’s not just a text editor – its a brilliant engine (I’ll save this one for later). But, even if you wanted to use VI just as a text editor, you needed to know how… For example, if you were using raw VI, not VIM (VI-improved) for the very first time, and wanted to start editing the file, how would you do it? Yeah, we all know now, that we need to hit ‘i’, but remember the first time you did it? Bottom-line : VI makes me feel cleverer than I really am. It makes me believe that knowing how to use these complex combination of key-strokes to edit a simple file, makes me more of an enginerd.

So, WHY?? Why are we not going to see MONAD in R1 of Longhorn? WHY? One of the things I’ve liked about SuSE, for example, has been the fact that I can use the CLI to do everything. If I wanted to use a GUI to say install an rpm for example, I’d be executing the CLI implicitly. Microsoft’s a step ahead with Monad. Monad and the GUI both talk programatically to a component in the system. The GUI’s don’t talk CLI (atleast they shouldn’t!) In any case, Monad was going to make me feel more of a man than I’d ever been. And I was so excited. And I couldn’t hide it.

I’m really bummed that we wont get to see Monad in R1. As long as I can spoil myself with bleeding versions every now and then, I’m ok, but I would’ve really liked to see it in Longhorn. Really really…