Let’s Install INXI

INXI is something I mention a lot. In fact, I’ve done a whole INXI article before, I like it that much. It makes sharing detailed hardware information easy. The people trying to help you when you need support may need detailed information about your hardware, which is where INXI excels and why it exists.

You may notice that I didn’t actually link to said previous article. It was a very different article. This one is really just about installing INXI, so that you can toss it out as a quick link while asking for more information. I’ll rewrite the old article to suit this site, probably when I want an ‘easy’ article. Anyhow…

When you post on forums, such as Linux.org, your question may require sharing information about your hardware. Unless otherwise specified, the way I’d run INXI is this:

Or:

The output of either of those will give you an adequate amount of information and covers most all the bases. It’s most of the available information without being all of the available information. You may be asked to run a more specific command and you should post the data between the [code]<output from command>[/code] tags to make it more easily read.

So, why this article? Well, there might as well be an article that tells you how to install it. This? This is that article. You’re welcome!

Installing INXI:

Let’s get right to it and start with the easy way. Start by opening  your terminal by pressing CTRL + ALT + T. Once that’s open, use the following command as is appropriate for your distro’s package manager.

Debian/Ubuntu: 

RHEL/Fedora:

Manjaro:

OpenSUSE:

Any of those should work with the right distro. INXI is a commonly used application and a great tool for your toolbox. So, depending on your distro, use one of those commands.

If you need to install it manually, and you’ll likely need elevated permissions for this, you can just run:

Because that doesn’t include the man page, you can grab that and install it with a simple command:

If nothing else, those last two commands should work on every Linux desktop system out there, though I suppose you may need to first install wget and need permission to write to the correct directories.

Now that you have INXI (and the manual) installed, just use the inxi -h command. If you’re asking for support somewhere, they’ll probably tell you which command they want you to run when they ask you to run it.

See also: https://smxi.org/

Closure:

Yup… This is a short article, and intentionally so. The goal here is to write an article that helps people install INXI. I think I’ve done that. I may write an article that’s more detailed, meaning ways of using INXI, but today is not that day. Today, it’s just about installation.

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Terminology: View Pictures And Video Directly In Your Terminal

Have you ever wanted to view pictures, watch videos, or listen to music directly in the terminal? No? Me either! But, with Terminology you can! The bad news is that it means completely changing your terminal to a new one, or at least using a different terminal when you want to do these things.

If you’re interested, read: Let’s Learn How To Change The Default Terminal

If you can find a way to view media in Terminator, or a ‘regular’ terminal (not to open it in a different application from the terminal), then please let me know. Try as I might, I can’t find a way to do that. If you know a way, please let me know! The idea of quickly checking through images in the terminal appeals to me. None of the rest really appeals to me, but appealing to me isn’t actually a prerequisite for this site!

Anyhow, as near as I can tell, there’s no way to do these things except to pick a terminal that has those features built in. Fortunately, sitting in my notes was a reference to “Terminology“, a terminal emulator that’ll do just that. I suppose this counts as a review of sorts, and so I’ll treat it a bit like that.

About The Terminology Terminal:

Terminology comes from the Enlightenment folks and is built with ELF. ELF, it turns out, stands for “Enlightenment Foundation Libraries”. Those are the base libraries behind the Enlightenment window manager. So, if you’ve used Enlightenment as your window manager, you may have already encountered Terminology. And, if you’re interested in the Enlightenment window manager, click here

Terminology, according to them, has “whole bunch of bells and whistles.” And, well, they’re not wrong. For example, scrollback (the history of commands) is stored in RAM rather than written to disk. This adds some session security and is a great feature – unless you actually want that data stored. 

Not only does Terminology understand email addresses and URLs, you can use it to find the Gravatar associated with an email address. It seems that it can even display files like PDF, PS, DOC, and more directly inside the terminal itself – and it properly scales them. If you take the time, you can also highly customize it to suit your needs.

You can read more about it here. It’s bound to get more features as time goes on, and it’d be just silly for me to copy and paste all the information on that page. Just read it yourself! That’ll save me some time!

Get Terminology Terminal Emulator:

Chances are good that Terminology is already in your default repositories. But, you should be aware, installing Terminology will add a whole lot of dependencies. If you’re worried about disk space or adding system overhead, it should be noted that it pulled in over 80 MB worth of dependencies on a stock Ubuntu build. It relies on the above mentioned “ELF” and that means it’s a lot to add for just a terminal.

Beyond that, it’s likely easy enough to install. Just crack open your current terminal by pressing CTRL + ALT + T and pick the correct command for your system:

Debian/Ubuntu:

Arch/Manjaro:

SEL/OpenSUSE:

RHEL/Fedora:

Pick the right one for your package management system and it should install. If it doesn’t install, if it’s not available for your system, it’s possible to build and install – but that’s a whole lot of work ’cause of all those dependencies.

Use Terminology:

Now that you have installed Terminology, you can open it from your application menu – typically under a heading similar to “System Tools”. If you can’t find it, search for it. You could also open it from the terminal you have opened already by just using the terminology command.

To open a picture, video, or music file, it’s actually pretty simple. To open it directly in the terminal itself, it’s just:

You can also open it in a separate window, though I suppose that kinda defeats the whole purpose of this exercise. To open it in a separate window, you just change the command to:

Those are the commands to open the media files (pictures, videos, and music) in the terminal. They’re pretty neat and I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it. It aims to be fairly similar to xterm, so it should be easy enough to for anyone to get comfortable with it while providing powerful options beyond the ability to play media.

Closure:

As I said I’d review this, or at least treat it like a review, I’ll look at it from my perspective. There are no really compelling features for me to switch. If I did switch, I’d surely be comfortable customizing it to suit my needs.

It’s easy to change features like the default window size, colors, and fonts. You can find a situation where the additional features are beneficial and make it your own. Being able to make it your own is an important feature.

While those features are great, and it’s overall a speedy application, I’m comfortable giving it a solid 8 stars. It’s a bloated piece of software that is only going to appeal to a limited group of users. Yes, the bloat is necessary, but it’s still a terminal at the end of the day. If you’re that interested, you could look into using Enlightenment as your window manager.

So, download Terminology, play with it for a half hour, realize it’s not something you are going to use every day (or maybe decide that it is your new favorite terminal), and forget to uninstall it while it languishes in your application menu until the next major upgrade requires a clean installation. If nothing else, you can have some fun with it.

It may actually have some value for people and systems that are forced to work in the terminal and only in the terminal. Maybe you want to monitor a security camera without installing a full-blown desktop environment, or something like that? I could see situations where it may come in handy.

Thanks for reading! There’s another article in the books! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Use Sublime Text On Ubuntu (And Derivatives)

Sublime Text is a proprietary, closed-source, paid application with a free version that has most of the paid features. It’s a pretty solid text editor and it’s worth taking a look at it.

I covered my favorite text editors and Sublime Text got a mention, even though it isn’t in my top 3. It’s actually a very capable text editor, it’s just not in my top 3 list. I don’t have to be the target audience to recognize its potential! It’s great to expose folks to the application. Choice is a good thing and it could be in your top 3 list.

It has a great ‘find in files’ feature that works well and I’ll sometimes start the application just for that. Being able to find (and replace) text across multiple files in a graphical way is pretty great. They’re not alone in that feature, it just works well in Sublime.

In fact, Sublime Text has a tagline that reads:

Text Editing, Done Right

And, they’re not wrong. There are all sorts of ways to be right, as there are as many preferences for text editors as there are text editor users. Here, they’ve been making and selling Sublime Text for 13+ years and have loaded the application up with a ton of features.

And, indeed, there are a lot of features – from multi-tab select, to ‘context-aware’ autocomplete, to GPU rendering, to macros, projects, and more. It’s definitely aimed at programmers who work with large amounts of text.

While I could try to enumerate the many features and benefits, you can just try them for yourself. It’s a time-limited trial, but the application keeps working beyond the trial date. You can continue using it, or you can pay for it.

Install Sublime Text:

When installing Sublime Text in the past, I’ve come across convoluted methods to install it. The reality is that it’s just three (maybe four) commands. You don’t need to install a bunch of prerequisites. There’s no need to install other things to get it to work, it’s a fairly normal installation.

Note: This installs the ‘free trial’ version. It works wonderfully. At the end of the free trial, it’ll happily continue to work with most features still intact. There’s no ‘need’ to pay for the software. However, many people have found it useful enough to pay for it.

Let’s press CTRL + ALT + T to open the terminal and get Sublime Text installed! Remember, if you don’t like it, you can just as easily remove it.

If it’s not obvious, copy each line, paste it into the terminal, press ENTER, and make sure to pay attention to any outputs so that you can act on them. I don’t anticipate any trouble, but you can leave a comment if need help. You can also ask at (I’m a moderator) Linux.org if you get stuck.

Properly installed, it’ll look a little something like this:

sublime text finding text in files
Sublime Text being used to find a phrase in multiple files. It’s a great feature.

You may not need to run the sudo apt update from above. The system may automatically update the database after the repository is added. The other commands are probably all you need. It’s nothing convoluted and it “Just Works!®” Well, it just worked with a few local tests. It’s also worth installing this way to make sure that that Sublime Text gets updated with the rest of the system.

Closure:

And that’s it. Open Sublime Text from the GUI menu, probably entered under “Programming.” If you want to see the text information in your terminal that you already have open, it’s called ‘subl’. So, try subl -h to see what command line options you have. 

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Weather In The Terminal? We can do that!

Weather in the terminal? There are people who pretty much live in the terminal! They do everything there, including checking the weather! This article will show you how to get your local forecast in your terminal, because why not?

Where I live, they have a saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.” The weather is constantly changing and is responsible for killing quite a few people every year. We have some pretty extreme weather. Because of this, I pay fairly close attention to it – but, really, I don’t tend to check it in the terminal. I use a more robust solution. This article is for those folks who want to. You’re welcome!

First, a little poem:

Whether the weather be fine, or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold, or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.  — anonymous

See? Who says we’re uncultured here?

Anyhow, this is just going to be a pretty brief article. It’s pretty simple to check and it requires just your terminal and a tool called ‘cURL‘ (which has been covered already, so click that link to save some time). If it turns out to be something you like, you can always alias it for regular use or just commit the short commands to memory.

Weather In The Terminal:

Seeing as this is ‘weather in the terminal’ we should probably start with opening the terminal! That’s easy enough, just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal will open.

Once you have it open, you’ll be using a website known as WTTR.IN. You can actually just click that link and get the weather in your browser. It should be your local-ish weather, unless you’re using a VPN. The site is using IP Address Geolocation to show your local weather and a VPN presents a different IP address, meaning it may not actually be your local weather. The same is obviously true in the terminal.

Start with just a basic example, try:

That should be ‘close enough’, depending on where you live and how accurate the geolocation is. If it’s not, you can add some information – such as town and state (or province, or whatever your country uses). It’d look something like:

The output from that command would look a little something like this:

weather forecast in the terminal
See? It even knows I’m in the USA, so it uses the correct units. Neat, huh?

You can even use some landmarks and it will try to figure it out. For instance, you can check the output from this command:

If you’re in the US, then it will show you the results in our goofy units – even if metric is used at the location. Well, it will try to – within the limitations of geolocation. If you want to change it up, you use a ‘u’ or an ‘m’. To force the above with metric units, you enter:

Anyhow, there’s so much more that you can do. Frankly, the above are all I really use it for – and I seldom bother with that. Living where I do, I get my weather in a browser and with a browser extension. So, be sure to use the following to learn more:

You can also just visit https://wttr.in/:help to get that same information in your browser. It’s up to you, but you’re already in the terminal so you might as well keep using it!

Additional info: GitHub repo is located here.

Closure:

And there you have it. Another article is in the books, this one showing you how to use your terminal to check the forecast and current conditions. There are a ton of options that I didn’t bother covering, but options that you may find useful. Be sure to check the help page and keep up with the project on GitHub.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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I’ll Try To Answer The Question, “Should I Use Linux?”

Should you use Linux? That is the question! In fact, it’s an important question and one that I’ve wanted to try to answer for a while. I use Linux, after all, so shouldn’t you? The conclusion might surprise you. No, really, it might. I don’t want it to seem like clickbait – but read on!

As I sit here watching the 2020 (technically 2021) Olympics in Tokyo, I’m reminded of a few things. First among those things is that I’m not really all that into sports, and secondly that sports make good analogies. As I watch the Olympics, I’m seeing some similarities.

On one end, you have the casual fan – the person watching on television simply because it’s moving pictures and sound. They recognize most of the sports and maybe even know some of the rules to some of the events. They might know that hands get limited use in soccer, but have no idea how to score gymnastic’s floor events.

On the other end, you have the people standing on the podiums at the end of events because they’ve devoted their entire lives to mastering the skills required to get them there. They are the absolute greatest players at the time and worked their asses off to get there. They’ve devoted their lives to getting on the podium.

Between all this, there’s a huge spectrum. There are those who are fans of a single event, maybe having competed themselves at a much lower level. There are the fans that also head weekly to the Rec. Center to play pick-up games, organized tournaments, regional tournaments, or even compete at the national level without any chance of ending up at the Olympics – and they’re okay with that.

Sports? WTF?

To put that into Linux-terms, on one end you have the person that’s tinkered with Linux in a virtual machine or a live install, having never converted to Linux entirely. And, on the opposing end of the spectrum, you have the person that devotes 40+ hours maintaining the kernel. (If you’re new to Linux, trust me when I say that’s a very important job.)

It works for the opensource software as well. On one end, you have the person who uses LibreOffice once or twice a month. In the middle you have the person who has set up their small company with LibreOffice being the integrated suite of choice. At the other end, you have the developer’s spending 8 hours a day trying to fix bugs while trying to add new features.

Just like the Olympics, there are tons of ‘events’ in Linux. Each event can be a single piece of software or software that performs a specific function. You can be a fan of that single piece of software – and a fan completely along the spectrum, from a casual fan to someone that spends considerable time making that software better.

It’s entirely up to you to determine where you want to be on the spectrum. Just like the Olympics, it’s very much a meritocracy. The system rewards ability. Those that have the ability and desire make it at the top – maybe even turning it into a paid gig. Also true, is that if you lack the ability, you need only show some initiative and you’ll find people willing to ‘coach’ you.

If you want to learn how to triage bugs, program, or answer support questions for your favorite project, someone will help you learn to do those things – just like coaches. How much effort and time you put into it are going to be the strongest indicators of how far you can go. Keep at it long enough, and if it’s your objective, you too can help maintain the kernel. You too can help influence the directions your favorite distro moves.

On top of all that, you can start your own sport (write your own software) and, if enough people like it and it does the job better than other applications, you too can end up at the top – like the IOC deciding to add new events to the games. The last time I paid any attention to the games, skateboarding was not an event. These days there are numerous skateboarding events. In this case, skateboarding got popular and was recognized as taking skill to perform at the highest levels. So too goes software.

If you are enjoying this article, you might also like to click and learn which distro is the best distro. It’s similar writing to this.

Decide To Use Linux:

So, what does the above have to do with helping you decide if you should use Linux?

Well, for starters, nobody is competing in the 1500 meter swimming events because they hate Microsoft. They’re competing at the Olympics because they’re passionate about their sport, not because they dislike the business practices of Apple. They’re competing because they’re passionate about their event.

You shouldn’t use Linux because you dislike something, you should use Linux because it works. You should use Linux because it suits your needs, because it fills a role in your life as a tool, or you should use Linux because you’re passionate about the things it provides, be it a service or a liberty.

When you decide to use Linux, you should also start figuring out how far you want to take it. Do you care enough to try to make it to the top, or do you just want to be an end user? Do you want to help make Linux (or an application) better for people, or do you just want to use applications to get your work done?

Use Linux because you’re intellectually curious, or because you value the freedoms it provides. Use Linux because you want to reach the top of the mountain, not because you want someone to guide you there. Make the choice to use Linux not because dislike Windows, but because you like Linux. Decide to commit to a life of learning, and switch to Linux.

Maybe Don’t Use Linux:

We see it time and time again. Someone decides to use Linux because they ‘hate’ Microsoft. In the greatest computer irony ever, they revert to using Windows because Linux didn’t act like Windows and they didn’t want to put in the effort to learn. They do not end up as Linux users. Linux isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. Neither is table tennis or competing in a triathlon. 

If you’re unwilling to put the effort into understanding the game, it’s probably not going to be all that interesting to watch it. When you don’t put in the effort to learn to make Linux work, it doesn’t mean that Linux sucks. It means you just didn’t put in the effort to learn.

Linux has gotten easier. For the most part, it just works. But, no… No, it’s not for everyone. Not everyone should use Linux. There won’t ever be a “Year of Linux on the Desktop” because of so many reasons – chief among them is because Linux isn’t for everyone. Not everyone wants to reinvest the time they spent learning one operating system into learning a new operating system. Not everyone can reinvest that time.

Over the years, I’ve seen thousands of people claim they were going to switch to Linux. Those that say they’re going to do so because they hate something are less likely to stick around than those who say they’re switching because they like something about Linux. The ones that post first posts about how they’re intellectually drawn to learning how it works are the ones that are still there five years down the road, often helping new people learn the ropes.

The others run into a hurdle and try to solve it like it’d be solved in Windows. When that doesn’t work, they give up. They’ll keep trying it the Windows way and keep getting frustrated. At best, you can spoon feed them commands for a few months before they disappear from the support forums forever.

Instead of trying to make it to the Olympics, they give up when they realize it takes practice and dedication. At the first big stumbling block, they quit. For reasons of their own, they don’t dedicate the time to learn to use Linux. They don’t even make it to the point of being a casual fan.

Who Should Use Linux:

You should use Linux if you’re willing to put the effort in to reach your Linux goals. Your goal doesn’t have to be becoming a kernel maintainer. Your goal may just be becoming a bog-standard end-user with a stable system. Both are fine goals and the latter requires much less effort. Both require effort, however.

If you are willing to put the effort in, then use Linux. When you’re curious about how your computer works, want to customize your experience, or appreciate the things Linux brings to the table, then use Linux! When you want the freedom offered with FOSS, jump on the Linux bandwagon. If you have a goal and you can use Linux to reach that goal, do it!

Again, use Linux because you’re passionate about it – or at least willing to put the effort in to learn how to use it. You need to be willing to read help pages. Searching for help is one of the greatest Linux skills you can learn – search engines are a great help. But, use Linux because you want to learn something different, not because you hate something else. You have to be willing to learn! If you do not learn, you will not succeed.

Even at the most basic level of Linux, it requires a willingness to learn – and to “unlearn” what you learned with your previous computer experience. The person who should be using Linux is the kind of person that values knowledge and understanding. You should be the kind of person that expects the best from yourself and the kind of person willing to put the time in to be exactly that. 

In other words, you should be somewhere along the spectrum that is the Olympics. From dedicated fan to standing on the podium with a medal on your chest, there’s room for all. You don’t have to aim for gold – you can just aim for understanding how the game works. Aiming to be a kernel developer isn’t a requirement, but a willingness to learn how the kernel works will help you truly appreciate and use Linux.

Closure:

I’ve been wanting to write this for a while, but couldn’t ever think of a way to start it, nor could I think of a way that’d not be too preachy. I realize this still comes off as a bit elitist, but pretty much anyone can learn to use Linux well enough to be an end user. It’s not that hard and it only requires a little bit of effort. At the same time, for those that want to put the effort in, the sky is the limit and the proverbial podium awaits.

I kinda like the essay format, but I worry that it is too long for people to read. There are some potential multi-part articles that I’d like to challenge. My goal has been short bites of data that help you become a more proficient Linux user, or something like that. However, there’s room for more than that and the readership varies in preferences. We shall see what happens.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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