4 cool apps for your terminal

Many Linux users think that working in a terminal is either too complex or boring, and try to escape it. Here is a fix, though — four great open source apps for your terminal. They’re fun and easy to use, and may even brighten up your life when you need to spend a time in the command line.

No More Secrets

This is a simple command line tool that recreates the famous data decryption effect seen in the 1992 movie Sneakers. The project lets you compile the nms command, which works with piped data and prints the output in the form of messed characters. Once it does so, you can press any key,  and see the live “deciphering” of the output with a cool Hollywood-style effect.

This GIF animation briefly shows the No More Secrets effect

Installation instructions

A fresh Fedora Workstation system already includes everything you need to build No More Secrets from source. Just enter the following command in your terminal:

git clone https://github.com/bartobri/no-more-secrets.git
cd ./no-more-secrets
make nms
make sneakers             ## Optional
sudo make install

The sneakers command is a little bonus for those who remember the original movie, but the main hero is nms. Use a pipe to redirect any Linux command to nms, like this:

systemctl list-units --type=target | nms

Once the text stops flickering, hit any key to “decrypt” it. The systemctl command above is only an example — you can replace it with virtually anything!

Lolcat

Here’s a command that colorizes the terminal output with rainbows. Nothing can be more useless, but boy, it looks awesome!

Let your Linux command output look jolly!

Installation instructions

Lolcat is a Ruby package available from the official Ruby Gems hosting. So, you’ll need the gem client first:

sudo dnf install -y rubygems

And then install Lolcat itself:

gem install lolcat

Again, use the lolcat command in for piping any other command and enjoy rainbows (and unicorns!) right in your Fedora terminal.

Chafa

Zoom out your terminal view to increase resolution for Chafa

Chafa is a command line image converter and viewer. It helps you enjoy your images without leaving your lovely terminal. The syntax is very straightforward:

chafa /path/to/your/image

You can throw almost any sort of image to Chafa, including JPG, PNG, TIFF, BMP or virtually anything that ImageMagick supports — this is the engine that Chafa uses for parsing input files. The coolest part is that Chafa can also show very smooth and fluid GIF animations right inside your terminal!

Installation instructions

Chafa isn’t packaged for Fedora yet, but it’s quite easy to build it from source. First, get the necessary build dependencies:

sudo dnf install -y autoconf automake libtool gtk-doc glib2-devel ImageMagick-devel

Next, clone the code or download a snapshot from the project’s Github page and cd to the Chafa directory. After that, you’re ready to go:

git clone https://github.com/hpjansson/chafa
./autogen.sh
make
sudo make install

Large images can take a while to process at the first run, but Chafa caches everything you load with it. Next runs will be nearly instantaneous.

Browsh

Browsh is a fully-fledged web browser for the terminal. It’s more powerful than Lynx and certainly more eye-catching. Browsh launches the Firefox web browser in a headless mode (so that you can’t see it) and connects it with your terminal with the help of special web extension. Therefore, Browsh renders all rich media content just like Firefox, only in a bit pixelated  style.

Fedora Magazine still looks awesome in Browsh

Installation instructions

The project provides packages for various Linux distributions, including Fedora. Install it this way:

sudo dnf install -y https://github.com/browsh-org/browsh/releases/download/v1.4.6/browsh_1.4.6_linux_amd64.rpm

After that, launch the browsh command and give it a couple of seconds to load up. Press Ctrl+L to switch focus to the address bar and start browsing the Web like you never did before! Use Ctrl+Q to get back to your terminal.

Fedora Project community

20 Comments

  1. Are anyone working on bringing any of these to the Fedora repositories?

  2. xvitaly

    Sudo make install? Are you serious? Sudo make install will cause lots of untracked files and cause major problems on updates/upgrades.

    This article need to be removed from Fedora Magazine because end users will damage their Fedora installation after using that.

    • @xvitaly: In both these cases,

      sudo make install

      installs under the /usr/local hierarchy, which means it shouldn’t be affected by package updates/upgrades. Packaged software in the Fedora repos avoids this folder. It’s not as ideal as packaging, but should be safe for users.

    • I know that ‘sudo make install’ has long been deprecated, but you’re exaggerating the problem in many ways. First, there is hardly any real issue in installing/upgrading/removing packaged software when you have third-party files in /etc or /usr. You could have thought of such an issue, but it’s not so much probable in real life. Second, the files are prefectly manageable through ‘sudo make uninstall’, which you can try and see yourself.
      I’m sorry that you didn’t like the article. Instead of carring out such hasty judgment maybe you could have helped in packaging the aforementioned apps as RPMs in Copr, or may as Flatpaks?

  3. I know it’s a minor detail, but the chafa install commands should have a

    cd chafa

    line after the git clone command and before the autogen script running command.

  4. Bob

    It is always frustrating when fun little applications like this are not part of the default repositories. The number of times I have seen someone say “well I can install it with aptitude. ” I’ve had more people switch to Ubuntu because of stupid (but fun) little applications like this than because of all the community and documentation they have combined.

  5. Thanks for fun applications.
    lolcat is so fun, I would have to blind my eyes :))))))

    • BarbaraF

      I love it! I usually do a quick check of a bunch of mails with mutt and lolcat adds fun.

  6. me

    Terminology. You can have a flying rainbow cat for a cursor and animated transparent backgrounds

    • Terminology is really great, thanks for the clue. Meanwhile, I was thinking about Alacritty as a testbed for running Browsh inside it. Alacritty is a GPU-accelerated terminal, which pretends to be the fastest one. In my tests, however, it performed fine but not any faster than other terminals.

  7. Dick

    https://nyancat.dakko.us/ could easily added to this list.

    • Enrique Betancourt

      Actually I was looking for something like that, but to be honest I stop searching when I found the variety of ‘cows’ in cowsay. Now every time I open my terminal it starts with Rick and Morty and the message ‘Wabba lubba dub dub!!’

      Here som cowsay links:
      https://github.com/paulkaefer/cowsay-files
      https://github.com/bkendzior/cowfiles

      How to install:
      ”’
      sudo dnf install cowsay
      ”’

      How to run
      cowsay -f [path to a cowsay file] [message]

  8. I’ll try to get chafa to Fedora repos.

  9. For those who remember the ancient times, there is a terminal emulating the old monitors from 70’s and 80’s – https://github.com/Swordfish90/cool-retro-term . In the full screen mode it can be very convincing with all the “eye-candy” details from the past . The “funny” thing is that you are not able to use it for real due to the eye discomfort. Good things (such as non-blinking LCDs with high resolution) spoils users :).

    The project is already in the Fedora repository. Just type:

    sudo dnf install cool-retro-term
    and hard back to 70’s/80’s (or just to feel what you lost being born to late 😉 ).

  10. For those who remember the ancient times, there is a terminal emulating the old monitors from 70’s and 80’s – https://github.com/Swordfish90/cool-retro-term . In the full screen mode it can be very convincing with all the “eye-candy” details from the past (such as the ghosting effect). The “funny” thing is that you are not able to use it for real due to the eye discomfort. Good things (such as non-blinking LCDs with high resolution) spoils users :).

    The project is already in the Fedora repository. Just type:

    sudo dnf install cool-retro-term
    and hard back to 70’s/80’s (or just to feel what you lost being born to late 😉 ).

  11. judovana

    same as Chafa is:
    dnf install console-image-viewer
    consoleImageViewer /usr/share/icons/mate/48×48/emotes/face-devilish.png

    Is included in fedora repo, but do not know animated gifs.
    What it is really good in is that it can list directories and similalry. So searching of images in headless system was never more easy!

    First found it at: https://mojefedora.cz/poberky-z-fedorky/ in the middle. (no anchors in document), contains some more examples and screenshots

  12. Alexander Dill

    no-more-secrets is in the repository – fedora 28
    at least when i do ‘dnf info no-more-secrets’ i get this:

    Name: no-more-secrets
    Version: 0.3.2
    Release: 3.fc28
    Arch: x86_64
    Größe: 29 k
    Quelle: no-more-secrets-0.3.2-3.fc28.src.rpm
    Paketquelle: fedora
    Zusammenfass: A recreation of the “decrypting text” effect from the 1992 movie sneakers
    URL: https://github.com/bartobri/no-more-secrets
    Lizenz: GPLv3+
    Beschreibung: A tool set to recreate the famous “decrypting text” effect as seen in the 1992 movie Sneakers.

  13. Browsh is very crazy lol!!!

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