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6 Really Cool Linux Stocking Stuffers

By Juliet Kemp (Send Email)
Posted Dec 28, 2009


Being from the United Kingdom, the week between Christmas and the New Year is usually a work-free zone for me. So here's a few Linux command-line Easter Christmas Eggs for you to while away a little time if you are unfortunate enough to be back at your desk already.

Tip of the Trade: Feeling like the only one stuck in the office this week? Here are some Linux command-line 'Christmas' Eggs to help you while away the hours.

  • Try apt-get moo for some splendid ASCII art.
  • aptitude, however, is too grown-up for that stuff, as aptitude moo will tell you. And aptitude -v moo, and even aptitude -vv moo. But keep adding on more vs, and see where it gets you. (Bonus points for anyone who gets the Little Prince reference.)
  • Open up vim, and try :help 42 for another literary reference.
  • If you're prone to mistyping the ls command, install the package sl. Next time you mistype, more lovely ASCII art will be there to cheer you up. On a Mac (package available via Fink), this goes right across the whole screen rather than just the terminal, which is neat.
  • In further 'ridiculous programs' news, try Vigor if you have always thought that what vi really needs to beat out MS Word forever is its own version of that damn paperclip.
  • Alternatively, you can make your Perl programs look like various sorts of ASCII art. Or replace all the source code with versions of the word Buffy. Or make it look like a pony. (There are more similar packages in the Acme:: namespace.)

Hopefully, that's enough to cheer you up as the shine starts to wear off the presents!

Juliet Kemp has been messing around with Linux systems, for financial reward and otherwise, for about a decade. She is also the author of "Linux System Administration Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach" (Apress, 2009).

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