What is a talking X

Tim Chase blinux.list at thechases.com
Thu Feb 28 15:38:31 UTC 2008

> is the text or console interface still a popular one? 

I use it regularly.  Linux (and the BSDs) has a rich array of 
tools available from the command-line.  There are only a handful 
of applications that are visually oriented that are hard to 
replicate full-functionality on the command-line (such as 
image-editing programs, mind-mapping programs, etc).  If you have 
some sight, having a full-featured graphical browser can be 
helpful and suggest that you use X.

For much of what I do, the command-line is more than sufficient. 
  Here's a simple list of command-line tools for common tasks 
(I'm sure there are some I've omitted):

Email:  mail, pine, mutt, elm, mh (and many others)

Web:  lynx, links, links2, elinks, w3m

Text Editing:  vi/vim, emacs, ed, nano, pico, edbrowse (and 
countless others); these can be used in concert with various 
markup syntax such as Markdown, HTML, DocBook, LaTeX, etc to 
produce publishable documents; you can use packages like antiword 
or wordview ("wv") to convert .DOC files to a usable format.

Spreadsheet/math/calculator:  sc, oleo  You can also use Octave 
or "R" for some of the higher math languages; gnuplot or graphviz 
can be used for graphing; for basic calculator functions, you can 
use "bc" or fire up python and use it as an iteractive calculator 
(I use Python regularly for this)

Calendar:  calendar, remind, cal, pcal, cron, at

To-do management:  devtodo (rocks!)

Music/audio:  mpg321, mpg123, ogg123, and many others for 
playback; sox, ecasound for editing/recording; aumix for mixer 

Chat:  centericq, naim, irssi, gtmess

Database:  psql, mysql, sqlite (all the major databases have 
command-line clients)

Version control:  mercurial, bazaar, git, subversion, cvs, rcs, darcs

Addressbook:  rolo

Games:  the bsdgames package in Debian provides several (I'm a 
sucker for cribbage); the frotz package gives access to most 
text-adventures; nethack; and oodles of other games

Torrents:  rtorrent

I also find the "screen" program vital to being productive, as I 
can do many, many things all at the same time, each in their own 
window.  It also allows me to disconnect and then reconnect from 
another machine later, resuming where I left off.

Some folks swear by "edbrowse" or emacs, which are 
category-crossers, doing editing and web-browsing, and perhaps 
other things.

My personal command-line setup:
Email:  pine
Web: lynx mostly, occasionally elinks or links2
Text Editing:  Vim (using HTML or XML as my publishing format)
Math:  usually just Python
Calendar: mostly calendar, cal, and cron/at; learning "remind"
To-Do: devtodo
Audio:  mostly ogg123 and mpg123/mpg321
Chat: centericq
Database:  all of 'em
Version control:  mercurial, bazaar, subversion, rcs
Addressbook:  just a plain text file

I hope the above gives you some new software to try, and get the 
hang of the console.


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