Talking about the BSD family of free operating systems.
I use BSD as my primary desktop, and i know the 'limitations' you speak of well. The tool box approach is the essence of Unix and what has given it such staying power. Text streams are the cornerstone, but I often wonder why this recombinent pieces approach doesn't or hasn't mapped in to GUI space. Vanilla text piping has it's limitations too, headers have to be stripped, etc. Maybe all the CLI utils should have a 2nd personality slapped on, and XML interface ...
The closest I've seen is AREXX on the Amiga. AREXX was well known, and most GUI software took the time to provide hooks for AREXX.
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