Have fun with Terminal on Mac/Linux

Posted on May 3, 2024

Terminal can be quite fun to play around with. On encouragement of my friend Pablo, I ventured around to discover some interesting ones.

To use any of them, you should fire up Terminal on your MacOS/Linux/Unix and install the right packages using apt-get on Linux or brew on MacOS.

First, install Homebrew if you don’t have it already.

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh)"

Once you have that, install any given package using brew install command like below.

brew install cowsay

Cowsay and Fortune

cowsay makes a cow say whatever you want it to say. It is particularly fun to join it with fortune which will give you a random message.

Code from “The Matrix”

You can see the code like in the Matrix movies with the command cmatrix. Install the package with brew install cmatrix.

Text in Colour

Using toilet you can display text in a variety of colours and font styles. You can find the full list of options here.

Train in Terminal

You can watch a choo-choo train in Terminal with the command sl.

Telehack: A Collection of Terminal Apps

You can watch Star Wars and do some pretty interesting “time pass” things on Terminal. telehack.com is an online website that you can also call via your terminal as:

telnet telehack.com

Full documentation of Telehack is available at https://telehack.com/telehack.html. Let me give you an overview of some of my favourite commands.

  1. aquarium: An ASCII art animation of an aquarium/sea.
  2. 2048: A sliding tile puzzle game.
  3. ching: Consult “The Book of Changes” (I Ching).
  4. eliza: Converse with an AI psychotherapist.
  5. joke [search]: Show a random joke from the joke database.
  6. morse : Encode or decode Morse code.
  7. qr : Generate a QR code.
  8. rain: Animated raindrops display in ASCII.
  9. phoon: Show the phase of the moon right now.
  10. roll: Roll animated dice.
  11. typespeed: A fun game to test your typing speed.

The best one in my opinion is watching Star Wars in your Terminal. I don’t have the patience to finish it but its amazing to know someone put the effort to make it work.