The idea to work one day without graphical applications and use only text utilities like wget isn’t new but… Here is the list of essential tools that are invaluable to make “text mode day” real. Many described applications are already installed out-of-the-box after certain Linux distro installation, if not command sudo aptitude install will help you (or yum install).

screen slices and dices console sessions. Most of everything I do in text mode, I do with screen.

snownews is curses-based RSS aggregator that does everything I need.

irssi is the best IRC client I used ever, it certainly beats IrcII, BitchX, and even epic. Multiple windows, extensible, huge amount of plugins available.

mutt is the mail client that sucks less than others (it’s a quote). Not bad is pine too, but mutt is much more customizable and scales better to large volumes of email.

Vim is very powerful text editor and it’s my choice. Functional keys sheet is here.

w3m is console web browser. Among other things, it supports simultaneous tabs loadings and images (just run it with a valid $DISPLAY and it’ll render images on the page). There are other text-mode browsers, most notable is links. The granddad of text-mode browsers is surely lynx, but it’s lagged far behind w3m and links in support for newer aspects of HTML and that’s why is rather obsolete.

bitlbee. This is actually an IRC-to-Instant-Messaging gateway. It allows to use AIM, Jabber from within preferred chat program irssi.

moosic. This is a text-based music jukebox that runs as a standalone server and you interact with it via a command line client. Another program with similar design is mpd that does its own music playing (moosic uses other utilities).

mplayer is media player that has better support for streaming media than any of the players. Plays video in console.

wget is a swiss-army-knife to grab things from the WEB. Must use.

tdl. It’s completely command-line todo manager. Similar ones are DevTodo, hnb or woody.

Other tools I use are: less, mpg321 (mp3 player), GnuPG (OpenPGP implementation), pal (colored calendar with alarge number of features), bc (simple calc), dict (it’s dictionary network protocol but their command-line client is also named as ‘dict’), mp3gain (mp3 editing), netcat (connect directly to TCP sockets), BitTornado (bittorrent client), subversion (source revision control, alternative to cvs), abcde (CD ripper), lame (MP3 encoder), nmap (portscanner), hping (packet generator), and tcpdump (packet sniffer).

It seem that would be enough to spend one day without graphical tools with Linux (or Unix).




  1. October 9, 2007  10:06 pm by Joe O'Brien Reply

    As far as work work, Email and Web Browser aside, I do almost everything in text mode, every day. :)

    Playing is another thing as I love working with my Mac for iLife stuff.

  2. October 10, 2007  8:07 am by admin Reply

    As for my everyday work, there are three text-mode applications from above listed ones that I can't do my work without. They are screen, vi and wget. Thanks to their developers ;)

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