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The Latest And Greatest Console Applications? 618

An anonymous reader writes "While the 'Linux on the desktop' battle has yet to be won, KDE and Gnome are making great progress. There are too many apps to list on the cutting edge of software development for the X environment. But what about those of us stuck with old machines? Or who just want to work with the console? What console-based apps, that are undergoing just as much development as their X counterparts, do you use? Things like instant messengers and bittorrent clients, for example..."
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The Latest And Greatest Console Applications?

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  • One word . . . (Score:5, Informative)

    by micromoog ( 206608 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:07PM (#9511876)
    Nethack [nethack.org].
    • by Draoi ( 99421 ) * <draiocht@[ ].com ['mac' in gap]> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:16PM (#9511994)
      Thank you for re-introducing me to NetHack. It took me five years to wean myself off that, and now I've found a MacOS X version. There goes *my* working day ... :-)

      As they say on the site;

      Thank you for the latest release of gradewrecker. My GPA just went in the corner and shot itself.
      -- USENET posting, author unknown
      • by BerntB ( 584621 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @06:11PM (#9512578)
        [..] NetHack. It took me five years to wean myself off that
        wtf, moderated "funny"? Should be "Insightful". Stupid moderators.

        And, yes, I've lost quite a few months myself... :-(

        On the other hand, real life is for users that can't handle nethack. If it wasn't for another console application that has hooked me, I'd reinstall!

        My real favorite console application is Perl.

        Both incredible power/expresiveness -- and with the syntax, crazy extensions and humour in the Perl tradition, it's like playing a game! :-)

        Yes, yes, Python fans -- my adventure is someone elses horror game. :-)

      • Re:One word . . . (Score:5, Informative)

        by Wyzard ( 110714 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @07:08PM (#9513069) Homepage

        Try ToME [t-o-m-e.net]. It's an Angband variant that features a world map with multiple dungeons, quests, a skill system, a huge set of available races and character classes (and variants thereof) and, best of all, a Lua interpreter so you can write new items, spells, and whole new variants.

        Nethack is fun, but it gets dull just going down and down and down. In ToME you can recall to town (Bree, say, or Lothlorien), sell treasure you've found, buy some new equipment with the money, and return to the dungeon to continue exploring.

        (No, I'm not one of the developers or anything. I just play it a lot.)

    • by Ricwot ( 632038 ) <juleswatt@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:21PM (#9512074) Homepage
      Due to a combination of Beer, Coffee and NetHack, lectures were missed, assignments lost in the darkness, and I failed the year by 0.1 marks :'(
    • by Badam ( 222642 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:28PM (#9512158) Homepage
      After several attempts to live solely on the console, here are the best apps I've found:

      Links [mff.cuni.cz]: a superior web browser alternative to Lynx that formats things correctly on your screen.

      Mutt [mutt.org] and Pine [washington.edu]: Two great email clients that allow you to work much more quickly than with any graphical client.

      Nano [nano-editor.org]: My favorite text editor. I refuse to feel guilty that it's easy to use!

      Micq [micq.org]: a very nice ICQ client that works much better than the various AIM console clients that are out there.

      Finally, last, and well yes, basically least, Seatris [earth.li]: This is the best -- the best! -- of all the console tetris games. It takes me back to wasting hours in the various UC Santa Cruz computer labs.

      Um, Go Banana Slugs! Go Stevenson College! I think that takes care of this year's quota of school spirit.
      • by jandrese ( 485 ) * <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:39PM (#9512276) Homepage Journal
        For web browsing, I find that I really like w3m, it handles most basic formatting and does a pretty good job of displaying the page correctly (although a _large_ text terminal is reccomended for some sites). My only complaint is that it does not support Javascript, which makes it unusable on many sites.

        For text editing, how can you forget vim? It's the ultimate text editor. :)

        Because I switch between console and raster modes, I like LICQ as my ICQ client. You can use the qt_gui plugin when you're in raster mode, and the console plugin on the console. This way your contact lists (and more importantly, your history) are saved in the same place. My only complaint is that you have to hack the console plugin because it assumes you have terminals with a black background.
      • by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:58PM (#9512453) Homepage Journal
        Mutt and Pine: Two great email clients that allow you to work much more quickly than with any graphical client.

        I disagree with that a bit. There are things that mutt is faster at than Evolution (I use these two as examples because I use them both), but other things that Evolution is much faster at.

        Most of the things that Evolution is faster at are a result of the graphical mode of interaction. For example, selecting the last 1/3rd of the messages in a folder can be eye-balled in Evolution, but you have to think about what the numbers involved are in mutt (assuming you have large folders to start with).

        Mutt's pride and joy is the vi-like "motions". I have to say, there's just nothing like "~hautolearn=no;|sa-learn --spam", though as user-interfaces go it lacks something, it's certainly powerful.

        Evolution's virtual mailboxes (a concept from VM, the Emacs-based mailer and to some extent MH as well) are similar in many ways, but have some strengths and weaknesses that don't map exactly onto mutt.

        I find them both quite powerful, and often comparably fast. Evolution takes longer to start, but once it's running, there's nothing quite like being able to select all of your spam from 6 IMAP-based accounts on different servers as fast as you can click on the virtual folder for your spam and press control-a! You can problably guess what the next key usually is ;-)
      • by dosius ( 230542 ) <bridget@buric.co> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @06:37PM (#9512785) Journal
        giFTcurs, for connecting to the P2P networks. I use it for KaZaA all the time, you'll need the giFT-FastTrack plugin.

        BitTorrent and Shad0w's client (does BitTornado still have this mode?) have console modes.

        irssi, best console-based IRC client evar.

        nano, my choice of text editor *ducks*.

        ncftp for ftp.

        mplayer to play mp3 and ogg files, it works at teh console too.

        I really only use X for running xterms, xmms and xchat, and all of what I do, I don't really need X for at all. XD;

    • Bastard... You had to mention it, didn't you.
  • mp3blaster. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Slayk ( 691976 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:08PM (#9511893)
    It's a slick little console mp3 player with playlist support. It is quite nice to have when I do something to b0rk X.
  • fortune! (Score:5, Funny)

    by blunte ( 183182 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:08PM (#9511899)
    that was too easy. was this a trick question?

    • Re:fortune! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Ricwot ( 632038 ) <juleswatt@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:11PM (#9511934) Homepage
      It's a program that is viable for enterprise systems, we just rename it to fortune-500


      Any spare gmail invites could do better than ending up at rjw16@st-and.ac.uk
      • Re:fortune! (Score:3, Funny)

        by paranode ( 671698 )
        Just did a search for fortune in my Gentoo portage. Came back with this, made me laugh:

        * games-misc/fortune-mod-dubya
        Latest version available: 20040527
        Latest version installed: [ Not Installed ]
        Size of downloaded files: 24 kB
        Homepage: http://dubya.seiler.us/
        Description: Quotes from George W. Bush
        License: as-is
  • BitchX (Score:5, Informative)

    by TypoNAM ( 695420 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:09PM (#9511907)
    When it comes to IRC gotta love BitchX [bitchx.org]. :)
    • Re:BitchX (Score:5, Informative)

      by Juanvaldes ( 544895 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:14PM (#9511973)
      irssi [irssi.org] is where it's at ;)
      • Re:BitchX (Score:3, Informative)

        Yeah, definitely. Irssi has all I need: Easy handling for multiple ircnets and servers, SSL support, support for Perl plugins, and it's themable and easy to use.
      • Re:BitchX (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mkro ( 644055 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:26PM (#9512134)
        irssi is where it's at ;)
        Agreed :) And if you haven't tried it, I recommend the beautiful trackbar.pl [irssi.org] for easier overview over your multiple queries. Harder for me to explain how it works than for you to try it, so please, give it a go :)
    • Re:BitchX (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OmniVector ( 569062 )
      yeah.. because i just LOVE how the default bitchx settings auto-kick/ban users who auto-rejoin 4 times in a row! what a great feature to annoy the living CRAP out of me. it's also great how bitchx often says fairly offensive stuff whenever i quit. it's just going out of it's way to try and get me banned from some channels.

      the writers of that app are tard monkeys. use irssi. at least it wasn't written by ScRiPt kiddies.
      • Re:BitchX (Score:3, Funny)

        by swv3752 ( 187722 )
        Ya know, I swear that Linux's vulnerability's list would be cut in half if BitchX was excluded.

        Everytime I check the updates for my distro it seems that there is another vulnerability for BitchX.
  • Screen. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:09PM (#9511909)
    Man, how many times has screen [gnu.org] saved my butt? Multiplies the usefulness of any console appplication by five.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:09PM (#9511913)
    The version of ls that comes with Fedora Core 2 is 5.2.1. Incredible software! Would use again! A+++++!!!!
  • Screen.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by deadmongrel ( 621467 ) <karthik@poobal.net> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:10PM (#9511919) Homepage
    One of the most under used console app is Screen. http://www.gnu.org/software/screen/ [gnu.org] I am not a sys admin but Screen is still pretty handy.
    • Re:Screen.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by FullyIonized ( 566537 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:24PM (#9512111)
      And one of the most underutilized features of screen is multi-user sessions. I have used this to do XP-style programming with a colleague who was working 900 miles away

      The way I did it:
      Start up screen with a temporary screenrc file that contains:
      multiuser on
      addacl other_username

      Note that I have the screen session detach. Type "screen -ls" to get the screen session name (for the other person), then type "screen -r" to reattach. The other person ssh'd into my machine and typed "screen -x session_name". It is possible to script all of this to make it easier.

      We then talked over the phone (headphones highly recommended) while we could simultaneously edit in a vi session. It was hilarious because we'd start yelling at each other "No,no, let ME type." Still, these sessions are always among my most productive programming sessions because we catch each others mistakes and program the parts of the program that we have expertise in.

      • Re:Screen.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Q2Serpent ( 216415 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @07:00PM (#9512999)
        Kibitz does the same thing (it comes with expect), but it's tons easier to get a newbie into the session - when you type "kibitz ", they get a message in their console that says "type 'kibitz -number' to kibitz with ".

        Extremely useful for collaboration on the command line.
        • D'oh (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Q2Serpent ( 216415 )
          Stupid preview.

          Should be "kibitz <username>" and "type 'kibitz -number' to kibitz with <username>".

  • Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:10PM (#9511922)
    I asked this on the Gentoo forum a while ago and never got a straight answer, so I'll ask it again here: why? Why, except in a few rare cases, would you regularly use a command line IM client in favor of a graphical one? It seems terribly inconvenient.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ultrabot ( 200914 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:17PM (#9512020)
      Why, except in a few rare cases, would you regularly use a command line IM client in favor of a graphical one? It seems terribly inconvenient.

      By command-line I assume you mean text-based (curses/whatever)...

      Text based interface can be much more usable, even if it os often less learnable. learnability != uasbility. There is certain amount of "control" in simple text interfaces that you don't have with GUI's which pop subwindows everywhere, have annoying MDI interfaces etc.

      Text interfaces also have a distinct technical advantage - they can be detached from the controlling terminal (see 'screen', 'dtach').

      Also check out this [ratpoisonsourceforge.net] :-)
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

      by mattrumpus ( 677024 ) * on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:18PM (#9512032)
      I've got one good reason. At some places of work IM clients are banned and its easier to pretend a text based client is real work...
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by quantum bit ( 225091 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:19PM (#9512045) Journal
      I use naim [ml.org] a lot for one reason: I can run it inside screen [gnu.org], detach from one computer and re-attach on another without ever going offline (or missing messages while I'm walking somewhere else). If I'm moving around a lot, screen also lets me have multiple connections to the same session, so I can read & reply from wherever I happen to be at the moment.

      The other reason is that next to my main desktop at home, I have a nice little text-based LCD terminal (actually a partially disassembled 486 laptop) that I IM on -- saves screen real estate and I don't have to get offline when I'm doing stuff like kernel driver debugging that requires me to shut down X...
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by keesh ( 202812 ) * on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:20PM (#9512055) Homepage
      Because command-line clients can be screened. X apps can't.
      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:48PM (#9512368) Homepage Journal
        Anyone else think this isn't so much a strength with the command-line app but a weakness with X?

        I really would like to see that feature added to X. You can (sorta) do it with VNC or Remote Desktop in Windows (sorta means "entire desktop only, not a single app") - it would be really nice if you could take a GUI-based program running on some other computer and "forward" it to your own computer, without restarting the application.

        IMO, that's a weakness of X - something that X should do, and not a strength of the console. They both should do it. As I'm sure everyone knows, screen is incredibly useful. Something like it for X would be really nice, too.

      • Re:Why? (Score:3, Informative)

        I meh at you VNC-using neophytes. Real men xmove [sgi.com].
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Zardus ( 464755 )
      Combined with screen [gnu.org], Naim [ml.org] is really nice for idling on AIM (to avoid missing IMs from people who are only awake when you sleep and such), and for switching computers without having to disconnect. The same convenience can be achieved using screen with an IRC client for IRC (I use Irssi [irssi.org]).

      Its much more convenient than GUI stuff when you switch computers a lot during the day. I can leave naim and irssi running in screen while I drive home from work and people can still IM me if they need to for those 30 minut
    • Because.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:22PM (#9512083)
      I'm a linux newbie really, but even I can answer this...

      1. I might not have a 256M+ of RAM on my system needed to make the current linux GUIs run well.

      2. I might have 256+MB, but since my linux box runs as a webserver, I might not want to bog it down with a GUI.

      3. I might just PREFER CLIs.

      4. And finally, I am a 1337 h4x0r and don't want to use anything that you n00bs might be able to understand.

      I'm being serious so if you were going to mod me funny, don't mod me at all!
  • by tcopeland ( 32225 ) * <tom@thomaslee[ ]eland.com ['cop' in gap]> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:10PM (#9511923) Homepage
    ... that I wrote - PQA [postgresql.org] - runs only from the console. I could write a Ruby/Tk or a WxWidgits GUI for it... but why bother? As it is, I can feed in all the necessary parameters at the command line and not have to click around a GUI.

    At the same time, it's best to write the code in such a way that a GUI could be put on top of it... but for me, a console interface is good enough for now.
  • Naim (Score:5, Interesting)

    by primal39 ( 409681 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:10PM (#9511925)
    naim [ml.org] is a great, free, GPL'd instant messaging client. Very featureful, intuitive, and in my opinion one of the best examples of ncurses programming out there.
  • screen (Score:4, Informative)

    by Deagol ( 323173 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:11PM (#9511927) Homepage
    For me, working over a modem line as a telecommuting Unix admin over ssh, I can say that screen is the killer app for me.

    gnut, a console nutella app which appears to be a dormant project these days, was pretty cool as far as real applications.

  • Console never dies! (Score:3, Informative)

    by jayminer ( 692836 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:11PM (#9511928) Homepage
    web: links or lynx
    ftp: ncftp
    media: mplayer, mpg321

    And the mighty fdisk & cfdisk pair cure all wounds.
  • Well ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by mios ( 715734 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:11PM (#9511929) Homepage
    ... some folks start X from the command line, soo ...
  • Lynx (Score:3, Informative)

    by afriguru ( 784434 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:11PM (#9511933) Homepage
    I maintain a fedora-based server which of course is much better connected than my home machine. At times I browse remotely with lynx to get to sites that require registration before making downloads.
    • Re:Lynx (Score:3, Funny)

      At times I browse remotely with lynx to get to sites that require registration before making downloads.

      Yeah, I don't like bringing up those picture-intensive porno sites on my GUI desktop at work, either.
  • Nmap (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sharp-bang ( 311928 ) <sharp...bang...slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:11PM (#9511935) Homepage
    This continues to be my port scanner of choice; although it has a pretty front end, it really doesn't need one.
  • centericq (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ultrabot ( 200914 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:12PM (#9511947)
    Centericq rocks. I use it for icq, and occasional peep at irc channels. No need to stress the mousehand, and it also has a very small footprint. It's apt-gettable, so there's no excuse to not try it :).

    One advantage of text based apps is the fact that no window management is required, so minimal keyboard driven window managers like ion and ratpoison can be used optimally.
  • Bittorrent clients (Score:5, Informative)

    by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:12PM (#9511951) Journal
    My old linux text-only boxes exist do do my bulk downloading for me.

    Bittorrent itself is the best client, the btdownloadcurses.py script. Building just the ncurses app without needing the bloat of X to link against was a bit annoying. Thankfully emerge can pull it off with "-qt -gtk -gnome" use flags.

    Another good client is called ctorrent, written in C, a console app. It segfaults when the d/l is > 2gigs (I think thats why), and sometimes doesnt redownload failed segments.. I had to drag some downloads to a windows box and finish them up with the real client. Shame about the bugs, it's a very light and fast app, I hope it's finished.

    An old P200/MMX, a big hard drive, and all my downloading is done via ssh, and my real computer is never bogged down with such tasks. wget, bittorrent, ncftp, etc..

    Also, it makes throttling it easy. At the gateway, I just throw all traffic from my "grunt boxes" IP's into a lower queue. Torrents no more grind my connection to a halt, it's much more effective than trying to mark packets for other reasons (size, etc).

    dircproxy is a cool lil app too, I can keep connected to IRC and bounce from machine to machine. It doesn't handle DCC's all that well, it always seems to clip them.
    • The stock bittorrent also comes with btdownloadheadless.py. When I'm not actively logged into my linux box, i ssh in, run "nohup btdownloadheadless.py", then logout. Periodically log back in to look at nohup.out and see how it's doing.
      • by jandrese ( 485 ) *
        I use the btlaunchmanycurses.py script. It's wonderful. I log into the console on my server (using watch -W /dev/ttyv0), then twiddle the resolution up to 80x50, then start btlaunchmanycurses.py torrents. Now it will automatically download any torrents I drop in the "torrents" directory. If I'm curious how far along a download is, all I have to do is log into the box, watch the v0 terminal, and hit ^L. Once a torrent is done and I've uploaded at least as much as I downloaded, I can stop the torrent by
  • by rivaldufus ( 634820 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:13PM (#9511960)
    I'm working on a Java plugin, a Flash plugin, and a google bar - as well as a popup blocker and an anti-spyware plugin.
  • by Taurim ( 622805 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:13PM (#9511964)
    cd, ls, cp, rm, mv, ln, head, tail, tee, grep, find, awk, sed, cat, more, vi, ps, kill

    Gnome is fine to watch pictures or lauch some useful apps like FireFox, Thunderbird and the like but my most useful graphical app is XTerm... lots of XTerm :-)
  • Lynx (Score:3, Funny)

    by Draoi ( 99421 ) * <draiocht@[ ].com ['mac' in gap]> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:18PM (#9512024)
    Lynx [browser.org], of course!

    Hey - who you calling a Luddite? :-)

  • wget (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NeoFunk ( 654048 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:19PM (#9512038) Homepage
    The world's premier pr0n-leeching tool.

    To be fair, I'm not sure how much development is happening with this tool. How can you improve perfection?
    • Re:wget (Score:5, Informative)

      by sydb ( 176695 ) <michael.wd21@co@uk> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:56PM (#9512437)
      I use wget all the time, even when I'm working with an X11 browser.

      If I'm ever downloading something, be it music from Magnatune, source code for some handy utility that Debian hasn't already got packaged, images from someone's website that look useful, I constantly find myself firing up an xterm, cding into the appropriate directory, creating any subdirectories (this is all so much faster on the command line than pissing about in GUI file selectors), typing "wget ", right click-copy on the link in the browser and paste into the xterm. Than back to browsing. No irritating download managers putting files where you don't want them and that sort if inane stuff.

      You can even emulate a "download manager" but just appending a whole list of stuff to download on the wget command line.

      What I hate is Sourceforge's prdownload stuff that has you getting through all that then doing a redirect to force a browser-based download. I wish they wouldn't do that.
  • Hey, JOE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by robslimo ( 587196 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:20PM (#9512053) Homepage Journal
    Pardon me, I'm a WordStar cripple from way back in the early '80s. Got my start coding asm in WordStar on a CP/M machine for a while, then cut my teeth on Turbo Pascal and Turbo C.

    The main draw of the WordStar keystrokes? Your hands never have to stray far from home row. It's incredibly sane.

    Joe's Own Editor (JOE) perpetuates the sanity in the 'nix world.
  • giFTcurs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mkro ( 644055 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:21PM (#9512067)
    For P2P, the giFT frontend giFTcurs [nongnu.org] does the job well. Look, pretty screenshot [nongnu.org]. All-in-one package for OpenFT, FastTrack, Gnutella and OpenNap.
  • by enyalios ( 686291 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:24PM (#9512097) Homepage
    screen - to keep lots of applications running that i can access from anywhere.
    pork - a console aim client
    w3m - a sweet console web browser with optional image support
    bittorrent - the standard bittorrent client runs on the console
    mutt - powerful and configurable email client
    giftcurs - command line client for gift which can share files on the kazaa network
    mplayer - console/graphical media player that can play anything
    ncftp - an ftp client with tons of features
  • Grep and wget (Score:4, Interesting)

    by philipx ( 521085 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:24PM (#9512107) Homepage
    I always keep a shell window open and no matter how good the editor/IDE I work with, I could not live without grep. Especially as I can pipe output from one grep to the next and refine (-v) the results till I locate some specific result.

    And for all my downloading needs I use wget. Besides being way out useful for downloading movies (annoying pages that embed movies and controls that don't allow you to save those movies for later enjoyment), flash animations, PDFs, being able to see the dialog with the server (-S) helped me more than once to figure out what was I doing wrong with my web apps.
  • by Phurd Phlegm ( 241627 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:25PM (#9512116)
    I guess vi and some other editors have caught up in the visiting-many-files-at-once game, but I really only have to leave when I want to use a browser. And I don't even have to do that--it's just easier.
  • Here are my picks... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by darketernal ( 196596 ) <joshk@tripleheli[ ]rg ['x.o' in gap]> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:28PM (#9512152) Homepage
    In no particular order.

    1. irssi - really great, Perl-scriptable, user-friendly curses-based IRC client. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

    2. vim - The best editor on Earth, hands down.

    3. w3m - The best console web browser ever. Firstly, it has advanced capabilities for rendering tables. It doesn't do frames as well but those are really hard to do anyway.

    4. pork - An ircII themed AIM client. Great for when you're on the road and only have PuTTY...

    And, who can forget (although many may contend that this does not count...)

    5. apt and dpkg! Dependency-resolving, self-upgrading, cow-mooing, ass-kicking package management system tag team! This is why I swear by Debian.
  • startx (Score:5, Funny)

    by FedeTXF ( 456407 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:28PM (#9512161)
    The best command line tool is startx. It gives you all the power of a full graphical environment within the console.
  • Transcode (Score:4, Informative)

    by Gregoyle ( 122532 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:29PM (#9512164)
    Besides the obvious (and ridiculously awesome) nethack, one of the most important and continuously updated CLI programs I use daily is transcode [freshmeat.net].

    It converts between video formats, and does so quickly and with very good quality. I use it to make XVID [xvid.org] backups of my DVDs to play on the road or in my XBOX running MythTV. It's very scriptable, which is why I like it. It also has a great perl-gtk frontend called dvd::rip [exit1.org]. You can crop and zoom, as well as browse the various video and audio tracks before you encode. It even supports subtitles.
  • Snownews (Score:5, Informative)

    by asbradbury ( 790961 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:38PM (#9512271) Homepage
    I've found snownews [kcore.de] to be a great RSS aggregator, and prefer using it to any of the GUI-based aggregators I've tried. Your mileage may vary, but I'd say it's one of the most useful console applications I've recently discovered.
  • I'd say mc... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Yaa 101 ( 664725 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:42PM (#9512305) Journal
    mc gives you eyes in the deep dark console caves...
  • kill (Score:3, Funny)

    by steevo.com ( 312621 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:43PM (#9512315)

    The classics never get old.




  • Midnight Commander (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jack Auf ( 323064 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:59PM (#9512469) Homepage
    Damnit, do not mod me as funny. I am completely serious.

    MC, as it is know to those of us that have known the love of Midnight Commander, is a a tool of incompareable power. From its assorted views, to its many tools and commands, it is a diamond in the muddy rivers of linux console apps.

    Plus it uses F-keys, F-Keys are cool.

  • Twin (Score:3, Informative)

    by Breakerofthings ( 321914 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @06:05PM (#9512523)
    twin [linuz.sns.it] gives you all the goodness of X, without the X-ness :)
    It's like diet X ... X-lite ... low-carb X ... or something like that.
  • F'ing GStreamer! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DeltaSigma ( 583342 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @06:06PM (#9512531) Journal

    It was covered [slashdot.org] on slashdot back in 2001, but it's so cool for streamable media.

    I guess there's guis for it, but who cares! If it's streamable media (audio/video) then you can take it from anywhere (internet, hard disk, line input, cd player) do anything to it (volume normalization, decoding, encoding, anything you have a plug-in for) and put it anywhere (internet, hard disk, line out).

    I can't believe people don't rave about this!

  • Bitlbee (Score:5, Informative)

    by sirReal.83. ( 671912 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @06:17PM (#9512624) Homepage
    Granted, this is not strictly a console application, but bitlbee [bitlbee.org] is perfect for those of you who like to use various IM accounts along with IRC. It acts as an IRC server relay to Jabber, AIM, MSN, ICQ, etc. What this means is you set up your favorite IRC client (if it's not irssi it should be ;) and connect to the bitlbee server. There's only one channel there, #bitlbee, and @root will help you set your accounts up. Once you've done so, your contacts will join the channel. To talk to them, you /msg them. It's pretty cool.
  • iftop, apachetop (Score:3, Informative)

    by jonabbey ( 2498 ) * <jonabbey@ganymeta.org> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @07:09PM (#9513081) Homepage

    I'm a huge fan of iftop [ex-parrot.com], a Curses-based interactive network load monitor.

    Similarly, there's also ApacheTop [shagged.org], which does something similar based on monitoring of the Apache HTTP server's logs.

  • by bscott ( 460706 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @07:23PM (#9513191)
    Just wondering, how can you be "stuck" with an old machine these days? I've seen working, name-brand P3/500-class systems sitting by dumpsters at my old apartment complex, a year and more ago. I've got people wanting to give me ~300-400Mhz laptops they have no other use for these days (I have a contact at a South American school which needs all they can get). A friend of mine recently contracted a persistent virus on an Athlon 850 and decided to buy a new Dell rather than call me up to fix it, so he's got a spare he'll probably put out by the curb.

    Believe me, I know what it's like not to have any extra cash - but if that's the only reason you're stuck with a computer incapable of running a GUI, then one of us is overlooking something...
  • Framebuffer Console (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @07:59PM (#9513458)
    I think a lot of people who use console apps don't realize that you can get high resolution text consoles using the framebuffer support, and that it is even possible to get high resolution, accelerated graphics modes without using X.

    I find the framebuffer console to be the ultimate interface, period. I am especially fond of the 160x64 character mode, and sometimes use higher resolutions than that. However, in recent kernels, that is, since 2.5 and all through 2.6, the framebuffer support has been very broken for all three video devices where I need it, Radeon 8500LE, Trident Cyberblade/A1, and NForce2.

    On some of these, I can compromise and still use vesafb, but not on the NForce. The kernel developers do not seem concerned at all with this problem, and 2.6.x kernels continue to be released with broken framebuffer console drives marked as stable.

    I think too many people think of 80 column screens when they think of the console, and that I am very much in the minority in that I greatly prefer the native console in linux, together with fbconsole for wider screens, to ANY X terminal solution.
    Nevertheless, I don't understand how such a significant feature makes it into a stable kernel without being marked as experimental, when it is clearly broken.

    In particular, the device for the Radeon really bothers me, because it worked perfectly in 2.4, and then broke for 2.6, and remains broken despite my persistent reports.
  • console advantage? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by joNDoty ( 774185 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @08:06PM (#9513497)
    OK, here's a very serious question. I swear, this is not flamebait. My question is, what really is attractive about the console over using a mouse and a GUI? I mean, I understand there's repeatablility in scripting and such, and in some cases typing a command is faster than clicking an icon, but isn't almost everything else more tedious and difficult? I'm talking things like looking at the contents of multiple windows at once. Drag n Drop. The ability to move the cursor anywhere in a document with a click rather than a series of keystrokes. I mean, even the super-popular editors like emacs and such just imitate a window using ASCII art. So for serious. Why do so many of us insist on using console apps wherever possible?
    • by tweek ( 18111 )
      For me, remote administration and speed.

      Our new system is entirely linux based. Our old system is entirely Windows based.

      I can be on the road on my way out of town, dial into our console server (Cyclades rocks) and power off servers, restart Websphere, run db2 queries and anything else that needs to be done via my laptop connected to a cell phone. One of my first thoughts in building our new datacenter is "What do I need to do so I never have to come here again except to install a new machine?"

      It's that
  • by Wolfier ( 94144 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @08:16PM (#9513560)
    Pizza Party

  • The Antidesktop (Score:5, Informative)

    by Noksagt ( 69097 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @08:50PM (#9513803) Homepage
    Freshmeat had an article on The Antidesktop [freshmeat.net] a while back that was a good read.
  • Personal Choices (Score:5, Informative)

    by Phil Gregory ( 1042 ) <phil_g+slashdot@pobox.com> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @09:45PM (#9514177) Homepage

    I live in text mode. Here's a selection of my preferred apps. Most of these are still in active development (though some are more active than others).

    screen [gnu.org]. Simply indispensable. It slices and dices console sessions. Pretty much everything I do, I do in screen. I've a page elsewhere that describes everything screen does for me [aperiodic.net].

    zsh [zsh.org]. My shell of choice. Think of all the good features of bash, ksh, and tcsh rolled together. (Without much of the ickiness, particularly the csh heritage.) Personally, the killer application of zsh was that fact that not only did it have context-sensitive completion but (unlike tcsh) it shipped with hordes of completion definitions right out of the box. Type 'dpkg -L fo<tab>' and zsh will autocomplete on the Debian packages currently installed on your system. With an ssh-agent running, type 'scp otherhost:fo<tab>' and zsh will ssh to the other system and autocomplete on the files available on that host.

    irssi [irssi.org]. The best IRC client I've come across, certainly beating out IrcII, BitchX, and even epic. Multiple windows, extensible, tons of plugins available.

    bitlbee [bitlbee.org]. This is actually an IRC-to-Instant-Messaging gateway. It allows me to use irssi and the IRC environment with which I am so familiar to also deal with those of my friends and family who insist on using the various IM services.

    snownews [kcore.de]. curses-based RSS aggregator. I shopped around a bit before finding an aggregator that I liked. snownews does everything I need.

    mutt [mutt.org]. Possibly the best mail client around, GUI or not. While pine is okay (and simpler to use), mutt is much more customizable and scales better to large volumes of email.

    procmail [procmail.org]. Again, not exactly command line, but essential to my email usage.

    Emacs [gnu.org]. My text-mode editor of choice. Feel free to substitute XEmacs [xemacs.org] or vi (preferably vim [vim.org]) at your own preference. I prefer emacs to vi, though I know a decent amount of vi, as any sysadmin should. I actually like XEmacs a little better than GNU Emacs, but GNU Emacs has better UTF-8 support.

    w3m [sourceforge.net]. There's also links [sourceforge.net]; I'm not tremendously familiar with it because w3m fills all of my needs and it used to be the case that w3m had better HTML support than links, but I don't believe this is any longer the case. Of note is the fact that w3m can do tabbed browsing, though it's not multithreaded, so you can't read one tab while another is loading. Also, if you run w3m with a valid $DISPLAY, it can even show images in the pages it displays.

    moosic [nanoo.org]. This is a music jukebox. The features that distinguish it from other such programs are twofold. First, it runs as a standalone server; you interact with it via a command line client. (In theory, a curses or GUI client could be written, but to my knowledge none yet has.) Second, it's customizable with regards to how it plays music. It has a config file where you tell it what programs to use to play various music formats (it does come with reasonable defaults). Someone elsewhere in this article pointed out mpd [musicpd.org]; I'll have to look at that, but it at least doesn't appear to support the various MOD formats.

    mplayer [mplayerhq.hu]. It does more or less require some graphical output (X, framebuffer, whatever), but it's run and displays it status in text mod

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson