Re: Life on the Command Line
- From: Rolando Pereira <finalyugi@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 28 Dec 2007 22:22:07 +0000
Hal Burgiss wrote:
If you do irc, there is a text based irc client (I forget the
There are actually a couple.
The one I use is Irssi.
Other programs I use are mpd and one of his frontends (mpd is like a
music server, then you need the client to connect it and listen to the
There are a couple of frontends that use command-line interface. I use
ncmpc (use ncmpc -c and you get color :P). Google mpd to see what it can do.
Yesterday I learnt about Iftop. It always you to look at what IPs you
are connects, the amount of traffic, etc. Kinda like Firestarter, except
it uses Curses, and you can't define iptable rules. If you want a more
graphic representation, use Ethstatus. It's more colourful, but it
doesn't show much information as Iftop. For something that's between
those two (more information than Ethstatus, but less than Iftop), try Bmon.
Htop is also very nice. It's like top, but with better controls, color,
etc. Htop/top allows you to check the process you are running, the
memory that each is using, the CPU, the total memory usage, etc.
Like that Ctrl+Alt+Del in Windows (I know Gnome as something like it,
but I forgot it's name, gnome-monitor I think).
If you want just general information about your system (without the
depth of Htop, Iftop, etc.) use Saidar.
Hum... What else...
Raggle for RSS, if you don't have RSS with weird characters (non-UTF-8 I
think). Otherwise, try SnowNews.
To do some Instant Messaging, use Flinch (I think that's the name) (the
command-line part of Gaim), or CenterIM or CenterICQ (I don't know if
Gutsy as the IM package or the ICQ package. And even though it might say
ICQ, it works for Msn too. And Irc. And ICQ. And another ones I can't
For math calculations, use either Qalc (I believe it brings a graphical
interface in the same package) or Orpie. I prefer Qalc, as Orpie as
kinda of a weird interface.
To surf the internet, I'll recommend Elinks. It offers better support
for tables, colours, etc, than W3m or Lynx. (I had something I wanted to
say about Elinks but I forgot :( )
What else I didn't say? Hum...
There are a lot of games you can play in the Command Line, if you like
There is the classical Nethack (also as a graphical interface) and his
variations, Tome, Angband and variations, Crawl (The game is Dungeon
Crawl, but I think the package is named Crawl), and a couple more. Those
are for the Tolkien-ish based games (With Trolls, etc.)
There are also a couple more that I like: DoomRL (based on Doom 1, it's
less hard than Nethack, in easiest. It's also more short duration).
Chessrouge (based on chess, interesting gameplay), AlienRL (based on
Alien 1 I think), Berserk (from the same person who did DoomRL, except
this one is faster gameplay, and you can't win. You just try to survive
the longest possible), Frozen Depths, etc.
For more information about rougelikes games, there is a wiki dedicated
(Be warned that some rougelike games mention in that page only work
under Windows. I wanted to give Dwarf Fortress a try :( )
There is also the bsdgames package, that as several games, that can be
played on the command line, as Tetris. There is also Empire, a stratagy
game, but I can't manage to understand the controls.
There is also Typespeed, if you think you can touch-type. I believe that
it was a online component.
(If you want to learn HOW to touch-type, there is the gtypist package.
Also runs in the command line).
There is also Tornado. You have to destroy the computer's house, while
protecting your on, by casting lighting, rain, etc. using coordinates (a
bit like Scorched Earth).
If you like, there are also online MUDs you can play. They're the
fathers of the what we call today MMORPG. They aren't as active as they
were a couple years ago, but there are still people using them.
Go to http://www.mudconnect.com/ and search for one that interests you.
The ones I use are Batmud, Dragonball Infinity (even though I haven
logged in in a couple of months and I'm trying now Ivalice (Final
Fantasy themed). I've also heard about Shadows of Isildur and Achaea,
but I've yet to try them. Also keep in mind some of them enforce
Roleplay (RP). If you have ever played some type of Dungeon and Dragons,
then you know what that is. You have to act as that character would. For
example, you can't be an evil character and then give candy to poor kids
(unless of course, you want to befriend with then, so they'll let you in
their house and have the opportunity to kill the family in their sleep
:P ) If you have imagination, MUDs can be even better then World of
Warcraft for example. Since it's just text, there is no problem saying
that you jump in the air, do a somersault, land in the dragon's head,
strike with your magical sword, then as the dragon tries to eat you, you
jump in the air again, cast some powerful magic, start to get a aura
around you and finally you throw your sword as if it was a spear and hit
the dragon in the eyes, letting it bleed to death. Try that in World of
Warcraft :P (is it possible? I don't know, I have never played it).
Most MUDs have also the Hack and slash gameplay along the RP gameplay.
You have to try one and see if you like it.
Even though you can just use the telnet command to login into a MUD,
you'll probably miss a lot of features just as colored output, aliases, etc.
So it is recommended that you use a Mud client. There are a couple ones.
Some work in the Command line, and others use a Graphical interface. On
the command line, I use TinTin++. But there are a couple more. Search it
Speaking of Synaptic, I'm sure you know that you can install packages
from the command line with apt-get and search then with apt-cache. There
is another program, that joins those features into one program, with a
frontend. It's called Aptitude. Think of it as Synaptic in the command line.
I just remember another game you can telnet, that it's not a MUD (there
are no rooms, no roleplay, etc.
Try on the command line "telnet we-dont.gotdns.org 1701".
It's a type of online Star Trek (It's called Jtrek I think). The only
thing you see is a UI displaying several information about your
surroundings. There are several ships you can choose, each with
different capabilities (some can for example use Cloak to become
invencible, other can go to Warp 16, etc.) The game is very fast paced,
so you'll probably die a couple of times. The documentation can be seen
here http://www.forkexec.com/html/mtrek-guide.txt (it's a bit old, but
it teaches the most important commands and keys). Also pay attention to
You can also use cboard to play chess, as it uses gnuchess to play (you
can even use gnuchess ITSELF, but I haven't learn how to do it :P)
I don't know if it can connect to the chess online database (I forgot
it's name :( ) and play with another person online.
Anyway, moving on.
You can turn .doc files into .txt files by using the antidoc package.
The same can be done to .pdf to .txt by pdftotext.
You can "decompress" a .chm file (Compiled HTML, for example, those help
files that exist in Windows) into a folder with regular HTML files
(which can later be viewed with w3m, lync, elinks, etc. with the
If you are going to use the command line a lot, you better learn how to
use the Screen package. It allows you to have several fullcreen
terminals in one window (like tabbing, except it can be used everywhere,
gnome-terminal, konsole, rxvt, etc.). You can also detach a window, and
then reteach it in another terminal, split the window and view two
shells at the same time, etc. Use Google to see something about it. Just
remember this two commands, "Ctrl+a c" creates a new window, and "Ctrl+a
2" shows a list of all windows in that session and allows you to choose
the window you want to watch (use "Ctrl+a A" to set the name of the
window, so you don't just see a couple of "bash" when you press "Ctrl+a
2"). All the command start with "Ctrl+a" by default.
On, and "Ctrl+a k" to kill a window.
I'm sure someone will appear and ask you if you use bash (the default
shell in Ubuntu) and then recommend you to use zsh. I haven't a lot of
experience with it personally, so I'll let that person explain it :P
(It has better tab completion, and I've seen some really nice
screenshots of it, but that's all I know).
For bash, you can learn how to change the prompt to make something good
looking. If you want some RADICAL change on bash, use bashish.
http://bashish.sourceforge.net/ (I don't know if it'll work with zsh
If you want a window manager on the command line, there is also Twin
http://freshmeat.net/projects/twin/ . However, I really recommend you
use Screen instead of Twin (also Twin gives me a couple of problems
running under the gnome-terminal, so I have to change to a tty to use
it. Because of that, I also have to install Gdm to have mouse support).
It might be good to use when you have no X server installed though.
Then there is also the fortune package (display a random
quote/phrase/etc. from a group of files. Sometimes wisdom, sometimes
funny, sometimes plain stupid). the cowsay package (draws a cow with a
speak ballon over it with the text you want (by default, even though you
can change it to a dragon for example)), the linux_logo package (prints
a logo with information about your computer, good to put in your .bashrc
Then there are the ones that have been said like Midnight Commander, and
I'll not repeat them here.
And I can't remember another one... But I'm sure I forgot someone :D
Also as a final recommendation, it's always good to learn a bit of bash
scripting. Learn how to pipe commands to each other, how to redirect, at
least (it's really simple :P). Then you can move to more advanced stuff
if you want to.
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