Open Source Musings

cli

I've never had great relationships with command line text editors. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's just we don't have enough in common with each other to form a strong bond.

Recently, though, I was working with a command line application that seemed to play better with terminal text editors than with graphical ones. So, I duly set my default editor to the venerable GNU nano editor. Why nano? It's the only terminal editor installed on my computer. While I've used nano in the past, I was quickly reminded that it isn't for me.

Instead of using software I don't particularly like, I searched around for something similar and came across Micro. Billed as a modern and intuitive terminal-based text editor, it sounded like a good substitute for nano. Here's what I discovered.

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Once upon a time, my websites originated from a couple of well-known hosting providers. During those years, I regularly needed to log into the servers that hosted my web sites to change or upload a file. For the longest time, I did that using FTP, but stopped because the passwords are sent in plaintext. Wasn't that reason enough?

While I often used FileZilla for secure connections, it was overkill when I needed to change or transfer one file. Instead, I turned to the command line and used SSH and SCP. Both offered me a level of security that FTP didn't. Why? They create an encrypted connection with a server — no plaintext is allowed.

Let's take a quick look at SSH and SCP.

Note: This post isn't a comprehensive guide to SSH and SCP. It's a quick and dirty introduction for someone with few technical skills. What you read here will help get you going. You can get more information from a number of sources, including this one.

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(Note: Parts of this article were published at Opensouce.com and appear here via a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.)

It's been seven years since Google pulled the plug on Google Reader. Seven. Years. And, believe it or not, there are people who are still whining about that. Some of them even say that by sending Reader to the digital glue factory, Google killed RSS.

Those people need to shut up.

RSS isn't dead. Far from it. RSS is still a great way for you to take control of the information you ingest from the online world. You choose what you want to read, not an algorithm.

All you need is a good RSS reader. If you want to go back to basics with your RSS reader, a solid option is Newsboat. It's a command line feed reader, forked from the venerable Newsbeuter, that's easy to use but packs a good number of features.

Let's take a look at how to use it.

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I've never been much good at keeping a journal. I've tried. Believe me, I've tried. It's just never worked out. Chalk part of that up to laziness and part of that to the belief that little in my life is worth chronicling.

Every so often, though, I take another kick at the journalling can. This time around, I went back to a command line app that I tried and liked a few years ago. That app? jrnl. It's a quick, easy, and minimalist way to keep a journal. Let's take a look at it.

Getting Going

To install jrnl, you'll need Python and a tool called pip installed on your computer. If they aren't installed, do the deed using your Linux distribution's package manager.

Open a terminal window and run the command pip install jrnl. It should only take a few seconds to install.

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One of the great things about the command line is that you can do just about anything there that you can do within a graphical environment like GNOME, KDE, xfce, OpenBox, or whatever window manager you use. Sometimes, you can do it faster and more efficiently.

One of the tasks I do at the command line is renaming and deleting both files and folders. That's often because I've converted or combined files and need to change their names or get rid of the ones that I don't need any longer.

There are three commands that let me do that quickly and easily. Let's take a look at how to use them.

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Just to spare you the pain, I won't go into my usual spiel about how useful the command line is. It is, even for the non techie.

In the terminal window, there are so many commands and so little time to learn them all. And there are so many little tips and tricks that can make life (or even just a visit) to the command line a bit easier.

Let's take a look at a few of my favourite tips. If you've been using the command line for any length of time, these tips will probably be old hat to you. But if you're still learning about the Linux command line, then you might find these tips useful.

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