Open Source Musings

linux

Here's the latest in an irregular series of short posts that introduce a few Linux terminal tricks.

Besides sticking your head out the window, what do you do when you want to find out what the day's weather is going to be like? Chances are you jump over to a weather service website or fire up an app on your phone.

Why not crack open a terminal window instead? All you need is a command line utility called cURL. cURL is standard kit with most Linux distributions. If it isn't installed on your computer, you can get cURL using your package manager.

How do you use cURL to check a weather forecast? At the command line, type this:

curl wttr.in

Then, press Enter. Something like this displays after a few moments:

Using cURL to grab a weather forecast

The wttr.in in the command, in case you're wondering, is a console-oriented weather forecast service. cURL goes to the internet and grabs weather information from wttr.in. In turn, wttr.in determines the forecast for your location using your IP address.

If you're masking your IP address, you can get the forecast for where you are by adding the name of your city to the command. Let's say you're in Osaka, Japan. Get your weather forecast by typing:

curl wttr.in/Osaka

Do that to get the forecast of another city as well. You can also use three-letter airport codes or the name of an attraction (like the CN Tower) view the forecast for a locale. You can learn more by reading the documentation.

Scott Nesbitt

#linux #cli

I've never been one for desktop RSS readers. I'm not sure why, but I've never found one that I really enjoyed using. Instead, I've been happy to lean on web-based readers and to use Newsboat at the command line.

Recently, however, I was looking at what's new in the elementary OS AppCenter and stumbled across Communique. It's a relatively new desktop RSS reader, based on one called Feed Reader, that I thought looked interesting. So, I installed it and gave it a test drive.

Let's take a quick look at Communique, shall we?

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(Note: This post started life, in a different form, at Opensource.com and appears here via a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license.)

In the early days of the web, a hundred browsers bloomed. Well, figuratively at least. Back then, there were more than a few of web browsers, but eventually that number was whittled down. Today, we're left with the Big Three and a (very) small handful of other web browsers.

Does the world need another web browser? I'm not the one to decide that. But some people think there is room for alternatives to Firefox, Chrome, and that other browser.

One of those alternatives is Min. As its name suggests (suggests to me, anyway), Min is a minimalist browser. That doesn't mean it's deficient in any significant way. Being open source, under an Apache 2.0 license, of course piques my interest in Min.

Let's take a look at Min and see what it can do.

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While Apostrophe is my Markdown editor of choice at the moment, others occasionally catch my eye. It's not that I'm constantly looking for a new Markdown editor, but part of me likes to know what's out there.

Recently, I stumbled across an editor called Ghostwriter. Well, stumbled across isn't quite the way to describe this discovery. I've used Ghostwriter in the past, and was impressed by its combination of a minimal design and a decent feature set. So I thought it was time to revisit Ghostwriter.

Let's take a look at it.

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I don't know how many Linux utilities exist for viewing graphics. Most distributions come with one, and usually that app is more than enough for you to flip through the images on your computer.

One image viewer I've been partial to for a while is feh. It a small, light image viewing tool that's simple to use. While you can run feh from a window manager, you can also run it from the command line.

To do the latter, open a open a terminal window and navigate to the folder containing the image or images that you want to view. Then, type:

feh [name-of-image]

A new window opens, displaying the image.

Viewing an image with feh

feh opens the image at or near its full size. You can scale the image by pressing the down arrow key on your keyboard.

To view multiple files, include a wildcard with the command — for example:

feh *.jpg

feh displays all the files with that extension. Click the window or press the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to move between the images. feh also displays the number of images in the folder in its title bar.

feh displaying the number of images in a folder

While feh can't edit or save files to different formats, it's a great tool for quickly viewing graphics or photos and for creating impromptu slide shows.

Scott Nesbitt

#linux #cli #utility

(Note: This post was originally published at Opensource.com and appears here via a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.)

Even though I write for a living, I rarely use a word processor these days. I do most of my work in a text editor. When I do need to use a word processor, I turn to LibreOffice Writer. It's familiar, it's powerful, and it does everything that I need a word processor to do.

It's hard to dispute LibreOffice Writer's position at the top of the free and open source word processor food chain — both in popularity and in the number of features it has. That said, Writer isn't everyone's favorite word processor nor is it their go-to application for writing.

While the number of free and open source word processors has dwindled over the years, LibreOffice Writer isn't the only game in town. If you're in the market for an alternative to Writer that's also open source, test drive these three word processors.

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Here's the latest in an irregular series of short posts that teach some Linux command line basics that you might not know or may have forgotten.

While I keep saying that you don't need to use the command line in order to use Linux, knowing a few basic commands can be a useful.

Take, for example, times when you have a folder on your hard drive packed with files. Hands up if you don't have at least one. Yeah, I thought so. Me, too.

How do you effectively and efficiently view the files in a directory? And how do you pinpoint the files that you want to see? By using the ls command, of course.

Let's take a look at some of the ways in which you can use ls.

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