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Difference between CLI and GUI

The OS or operating system is basically an interface that is present between a user and the hardware components of a device. The OS provides its users with CLI and GUI for performing various tasks. But there is a major difference between CLI and GUI.

GUI lets a user interact with the device/system with the help of graphical elements, like windows, menus, icons, etc. The CLI, on the other hand, lets a user interact with their device/system with the help of various commands.

Some OS provide their users with only CLI, while some offer both CLI and GUI. In simple words, one can interact with widgets or controls when using the GUI but has to enter certain commands for performing certain tasks using the CLI. All in all, the GUI is comparatively easier to handle and user-friendly. But the speed of execution is much higher in the case of CLI.

What is CLI?

The term CLI is an abbreviation for Command Line Interface. The CLI lets users use commands/written commands that associate directly with the terminal or console window, which would allow them to interact directly with the OS.

The CLI is basically a medium or a platform, where a user writes a command to answer a visual prompt and then receives a response from the system/device. As a result, the ones who work on CLI for their systems must be aware of commands/train of commands to perform any task they want.

This medium is the most suitable for expensive and complicated computing.

What is GUI?

The term GUI is an abbreviation for Graphical User Interface. The GUI lets users use graphics for interacting with the OS. In a GUI, you get various menus for making things easy, such as buttons, windows, scrollbars, wizards, alternative icons, painting pictures, etc. It is very intuitive yet simple to use, even for a newbie. Also, remember that the information that a user wants to access via a GUI will be displayed in the form of images, plain texts, videos, gifs, videographs, etc.

Difference between CLI and GUI

Let us talk about the differences between CLI and GUI. To make this topic more understandable and clear, we are comparing both of the terms based on their individual characteristics in a table.

Parameters CLI GUI
Ease of Use It is comparatively more difficult to understand and use. It is comparatively easier to understand and use.
Memory Consumption CLI consumes comparatively less memory. The GUI consumes comparatively more memory.
Level of Precision Higher precision of work can be obtained using CLI. GUI offers a lower level of precision.
Speed It works at a higher speed as compared to the GUI. It works at a much slower speed as compared to the CLI.
Keyboard and Mouse Its OS only requires a user’s keyboard. Its OS requires both keyboard and mouse to work.
Modification of Appearance We cannot change or modify the CLI operating system’s appearance. We can change or modify the GUI operating system’s appearance.
Graphics No graphs are included in CLI. Graphics are always used in the GUI.
Menus No menus are provided in CLI. The GUI OS comes with menus.
Display of Information The information that the user wants to view is displayed in files and plain text. The information that the user wants to access is presented in various forms, like plain text, images, videos, gifs, videographs, etc.
Input of Information The input is usually entered at the command prompt in CLI. We can input the data anywhere on the computer screen in the case of GUI.
Pointing devices Pointing devices are not used at all in CLI. We use pointing devices in the GUI for choosing/selecting the items we want to.
Avoiding Errors No typing errors or spelling mistakes can be avoided by CLI. The typing errors or spelling mistakes cannot be avoided by the GUI.

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