As technology progresses, lines get blurred between objects and concepts that were previously very distinct. Words can be colloquialized to share the same meaning when they once had their own. Sometimes multiple devices can be melted down into a single box without any sign of their separate technological lineage. Something similar happened to the shell, the console, and the terminal.For many years now, the wireless router has been the backbone of internet connectivity in most homes and many small offices. But many people fail to realize (except for the technically astute among you) that the device is actually made up of several devices that used to be independent of one another and quite well-defined. A typical wireless router, even the cheapest of cheap, contains a wireless access point, ethernet switch, router, stateful firewall, DNS server, DHCP server, QoS engine, and sometimes many more features (such as a DSL/coax modem).
As a result, the technical layperson might refer to this device as “the wireless,” a modem, a router, or simply “the internet box.” All of which fail to encapsulate the whole story, and that’s only one example (and not even what this article is about).Shell, Terminal, and Console — How are they different?Anyone who has tried their hand at an operating system outside the realm of Microsoft and Apple in any serious capacity has undoubtedly come into contact with the command line interface. What do you call it? The shell? The console? The terminal? Does it matter? They all mean the same thing, right? The answer to that is yes and no. Just like the wireless router, these used to be (and technically still are) different parts of the same whole, despite the words sharing their meanings.