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Command line secrets

There are loads of really good reasons to use the command line. It’s the most powerful and concise method of interacting with your computer, as we show in issue 3 of Linux Voice. However, we decided to take a moment to look at some of its more obscure (and some would say pointless) uses.

Browsing the web

Firefox and Chromium are both great browsers, but have you ever thought they’re a little too graphical? No? Well take a look at the video below where we take the elinks web browser out for a spin around hacker news. It might not be as colourful as its more famous rivals, but it manages to render most web pages.

As well has having geek-chic, it can come in handy when you just need to quickly check if a web page is accessible from a computer you only have SSH access to.

Looking up definitions on Wikipedia

Yes, we’ve already covered using the web, but the web isn’t the only way of accessing information on Wikipedia. David Leadbeater has set up a DNS server that holds extracts from Wikipedia in DNS entries. This lets you grab information using command line tools such as dig.

Watch movies

Who needs Netflix or YouTube when you can watch Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope directly in your terminal by telneting into

Play games

There were plenty of games for Linux before Steam came along, and many of them didn’t need any fancy graphics. NetHack, Robots and Greed are just a few examples. Here’s a peek at Moon Buggy.

8 thoughts on “Command line secrets

  1. How about a command line cheat sheet, similar to the the VIM cheat sheet in Issue 3. This “cut out and keep” info would be useful, and better if made from the more robust back cover paper

    1. Mike Saunders

      Great idea Connie — we’ll look into doing it in the next couple of issues.

  2. Nice! I suppose to make a shell function for wikipedia to search for multiple-words-in-title articles:

    wiki(){ dig +short txt $(echo “$*” | tr ‘ ‘ _) }

    Then you can use it as “wiki operating system”

    1. Mike Saunders

      Hey Je… I mean, MingoJingo. Perhaps if you learned to use the command line, you’d be able to remove all those rootkits on your Windows PCs :-)


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