How does UNIX/command line come into play



I'm a windows user with complete intention of switching to macs (I'm saving for a powerbook at the moment). I've had limited use of Mac OS X (ie whenever I visit the mac store), and I was wondering where does the command line come into play & how often do I have to use it/what for. So far, based on my experiences in the Mac store, I've been able to go with the GUI the whole time & I like that... while I think the command line is a cool tool at times, one of my issues when I tried Linux was that it was too command line based (I'm talking about RH btw). So what's command line use like in Mac OS X, necessary? optional?
You never have to use it, unless you want to. It is very similar to the terminal in Windows. Many users get by without even knowing of it's existence. However, if you're a power user and want to dabble with shell scripts and the like, the terminal is your best friend.
Viro covered it well, and I'd like to add one point that many people overlook.

A lot of the so-called power users, and I don't mean the helpful, friendly ones, I mean the ones that give you attitude because you can't script out a recursive directory scrubber in 13 seconds in LISP - many of which are just propeller heads who got beat up a lot in high school - look down on people who just want to stick to the GUI, like they're some kind of retarded puppy to be tolerated. This irks the crap out of me.

To me, people who aren't "computer experts" are *exactly* the people that advanced GUIs (Windows and Mac) and quality applications (Word, Excel, Photoshop, iPhoto, etc) are on this Earth to serve. Easy to use, friendly and powerful without being intimidating.

Without the need, GUIs would have never been created. Computers are a tool. They fit a need and serve a purpose. In this modern age, everyone should know (or learn) how to use one, but the notion that every user has to be a "power user" or programmer/admin, to me, is just plain, old ridiculous.

My point is that if you don't want to use a terminal, then don't. The entire modern, GUI-based computer industry was born to serve you and that's a good thing. It's a shining example of the evolution of supply & demand, necessity & invention, consumer & proprietor.
Not that I disagree with any of the above, but I will just point out that the Unix commandline, IMO, is way way way more user friendly than the Windows commandline.

Part of the reason you often need the commandline in most Unices, is that it really is a complete user environment - you can do nearly all your work without a GUI or a mouse at all. Just imagine trying to use Windows entirely from the DOS prompt...