What is the difference between and ? Is it a big enough difference to make a distinction at all?

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    We should also consider the bash tag. – 8128 Dec 30 '10 at 8:09
  • @fluteflute: from my point of view bash tag is for bash scripts, not commands. – Vojtech Trefny Dec 30 '10 at 12:15
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    I agree, bash is more a programming language, or it's interpreter, than a general concept like "command-line" or "terminal" - But I also think we should consider it, since it's often misused as a stand-in for either of those. – Stefano Palazzo Dec 30 '10 at 13:08
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    Please rename the bash tag to bash-script; then it would be obvious that it doesn't relate to the shell but to scripts running in the shell. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 31 '10 at 7:17

Terminal and shell are two very different concepts, though the separation is not obvious to the uninitiated (and the exact location of the separation is a little strange).

  • The terminal mainly provides a way to type and display characters.
  • The shell mainly provides a way to execute commands.

See also What are shells ?, What is the exact difference between a 'terminal', a 'shell', a 'tty' and a 'console'?.

I recommend using only for questions that are related to the terminal (emulator) and its configuration. Using this tag for “how do I do X on the command line” feels wholly counter-intuitive to me. I recommend keeping a separate for this purpose.

  • when I hover my mouse over the "Terminal" application then I get a popup telling me Terminal: Use the command line so it appears even Ubuntu itself is a little confused about this separation. I use the terminal (tool) to execute commands (goal) so IMHO it's the same thing. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 31 '10 at 7:21
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    @torbengb: The tool is not the goal. If my hammer had a tooltip, it could be “to drive nails”, but that doesn't make the hammer a nail, or “hammering” a synonym of “nailing”. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Dec 31 '10 at 12:12

The command-line tag should be used for questions that ask if or how something is done using the command-line as opposed to the GUI. The terminal tag is concerned with questions about the terminal iself, that is what you see when you press Ctrl+Alt+F1. When the question is specific to gnome-terminal or konsole, these tags should be used instead.

  • I like this solution, except don't think that Ctrl+Alt+F1 is "the terminal itself", and therefore there's no particular reason for it to be tagged terminal. – 8128 Dec 30 '10 at 7:59
  • What should be tagged terminal? – Stefano Palazzo Dec 30 '10 at 13:09
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    terminal isn't just the console (Ctrl+Alt+F1), it includes any other terminal emulator (gnome-terminal, konsole, xterm, screen, …). The terminal tag at Unix.SE has examples of implementation-agnostic terminal-related questions (I haven't checked whether I agree with the tag choices on Ask Ubuntu). – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Dec 30 '10 at 17:54
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    My thoughts exactly. Terminal, Console, Command-Line. when using any of the tty it should be terminal. When using gnome-terminal, konsole or any other it should be command-line – Luis Alvarado Dec 31 '10 at 20:09

There is no meaningful distinction between the command-line and the terminal to be made by normal users, the tags should be merged. This will make it easier for users to search and tag their questions, and it won't impact the quality of answers.

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    I wouldn't even think of looking for a question like ”how do I do X on the command line” under the terminal tag (unless I remembered this discussion). The tags are not synonymous at all, so they should not be merged. Mistagged questions can be retagged by any user with ≥250 rep. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Dec 30 '10 at 17:50
  • I too recoil in horror about mixing the two tags and concepts together. – haziz Dec 7 '12 at 0:00

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