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Challenge: Living a week with only command line Linux – Part Deux


A week ago I challenged myself to break out of my norm and do something different. That challenge was using command line Linux ONLY for a week. To be honest the experience wasn't all that bad and was fun. Well, I should say I partially met that challenge. I do have a job as a PHP developer, so I had to use a graphical interface computer to perform my job functions. But at home, I did meet this challenge!

Below I outlined the top 8 command line tools, games, and tips that I picked up during my week.

**Screen shots where taken from a mac, SSH'd into my dedicated command line only box.

***The installation tips provided are for Ubuntu or Debian based systems.

1. Lynx Web Browser

I walked into this challenge having already installed the Lynx browser. I didn't expect much from the command line, and it doesn't deliver much. Some websites are absolutely horrible trying to tab through all the links. But overall, Reddit came up somewhat legible and that worked just fine for me.

Install: sudo apt-get install lynx
Command: lynx http://www.google.com

drewlenhart.com in text only mode.

2. Changing Text

The following tools I stumbled upon can change typed text into cool enlarged text. There are many other tools out there that perform similar actions, but I liked banner & figlet the most. Simply invoke the banner or figlet command followed by the text you want altered and whala!

Install: sudo apt-get install sysvbanner figlet
banner Some text to type
figlet Some text to type

Banner & Figlet

3. ASCII Star Wars

Watch Star Wars Episode IV asciimation! Great time killer.

telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl


4. Changing Login Message

I was toying around with customizing my Ubuntu installation and decided, I need a custom login message! Ubuntu's login prompt was pretty generic. To edit this type the following:

sudo nano /etc/issue

Change the login prompt to your liking.

5. bsdgames

bsdgames is a collection of text only games. The games included in the package are:

adventure, arithmetic, atc, backgammon, battlestar, bcd, boggle, caesar, canfield, countmail, cribbage, dab, go-fish, gomoku, hack, hangman, hunt, mille, monop, morse, number, pig, phantasia, pom, ppt, primes, quiz, random, rain, robots, rot13, sail, snake, tetris, trek, wargames, worm, worms, wump, wtf

Install: sudo apt-get install bsdgames
Type name of the game to play


6. Changing Welcome Screen

Earlier I showed you how to edit the login prompt. How about the welcome message? On Ubuntu, when logging in, you see various messages about last logins, welcome, etc. All of these messages are stored in /etc/update-motd.d/. This stands for "Message of the day". In the motd.d folder you will find several files such as header, footer, help-text, and reboot-required. I recommend reading up on what you can do with all these files. I simply deleted everything but the header file, help-text, reboot-required and created a static welcome message. I also took the opportunity to use figlet in my welcome message:

sudo nano 00-header
entered: exec figlet ST/400

Welcome Screen

7. cmatrix

Scrolling text is cool! Especially when it resembles rolling text just like the Matrix movies!

Install: sudo apt-get install cmatrix
Command: cmatrix


8. asciiquarium

Along with cmatrix, I came across this gem. asciiquarium is an animated text based fish tank simulation. Enjoy the fishes of the sea.

Follow the directions here to install all necessary packages.

Command: asciiquarium


This was a fun week. I picked up quite a bit of command line tips. Anything I haven't outlined here I will be creating new tutorial posts. Thanks for reading!