6 More Oddball Linux Utilities You Should Try | by Tate Galbraith | Mar, 2022

Returning to our favourite listing for some curious finds

Photograph by Lukas on Unsplash

As soon as once more we’re plumbing the depths of /usr/bin for some hidden gems. Trying to find attention-grabbing packages hidden inside an ocean of choices ready to be dusted off and brought for a spin. This plethora of fascinating Linux utilities appears limitless.

On this version of: “hey, this appears neat!” we’re some true oddballs whose utilization errs extra on the facet of novelty vs. performance. These utilities is perhaps lesser-known and doubtlessly outdated however they nonetheless have attention-grabbing makes use of and have a tendency to show us concerning the historical past of Linux itself.

Let’s have a look.

No, wait don’t truly depart! I promise this one is cool.

The depart program was truly created as a technique to notify a terminal person when they need to depart for an appointment or take a break.

The utilization is kind of easy. You’ll be able to both set the time you wish to be notified immediately by issuing:

depart 1050

This is able to notify you at 10:50 both am or pm, whichever falls inside the subsequent 12 hours.

Or, you’ll be able to enter the time as various hours and minutes from the present time by prefixing with a +:

depart +0010

This is able to notify you to depart within the subsequent ten minutes.

This utility is clearly antiquated and has been changed by a plethora of latest notification programs, particularly those that stay on our cell telephones. However it’s so brutally easy and does only one extraordinarily restricted factor nicely. It’s a sublime instance of an uncomplicated program in immediately’s exceptionally over-complicated world.

The following time you wish to remind your self to take a brief break, attempt utilizing depart.

This isn’t a misspelled model of “lamb”. That is the lam utility, which is brief for “laminate”. This program will take two recordsdata and “laminate” the contents collectively side-by-side into the console. It is sort of a fancy model of cat.

Let’s say we’ve two recordsdata:

# file01
line 1
line 2
line 3
# file02
line 4
line 5
line 6

Now let’s laminate these dangerous boys:

> lam file01 file02line 1line 4
line 2line 5
line 3line 6

Easy. Now they’re “laminated” collectively on the identical line.

This may appear utterly ineffective at first, and sure you would completely do one thing comparable with a few hundred different utilities, however lam might be probably the most concise technique to do it. It’s purpose-built for this precise activity.

With different utilities like awk you’ll be stringing various instructions collectively to attain the identical output. With lam you get precisely what you’d anticipate. Lamination.

Don’t fear, there’s no precise liquid concerned. The spray utility solely sprays community packets.

This mischievous little program will actually spray a number with tons of packets. You’ll be able to specify a set variety of packets, the dimensions and the delay between every one.

That is helpful for issues like community or host load testing, particularly when you’re aiming to see how sudden spikes of visitors are dealt with.

You’ll be able to take a look at out spray by issuing the next command (as root), however watch out! This program can influence host and community efficiency:

spray <host_ip>

The spray utility additionally data the variety of packets despatched/acquired. Try the manual for extra particulars.

Part of the person web page for the cu utility.

The cu or “name up” utility is an attention-grabbing remnant of the dial-up period of computing. This program enables you to actually dial one other Unix machine and carry out operations on it. You may as well carry out these operations over native ports like a serial port as nicely.

The cu program is an instance of an software designed with a variety of makes use of in thoughts. Not solely are you able to ship and obtain instructions from distant machines however you too can copy recordsdata as nicely. There are additionally a ton of detailed connection modes and choices.

Part of the cu man web page on sorts of instructions.

Sadly, as is famous so tersely within the man web page, this program appears to be not maintained and “doesn’t work very nicely”.

The bashbug utility is an instance of a program made for pure comfort. This program helps you construct an in depth Bash bug report. The report comes pre-formatted and is robotically opened in your most well-liked default textual content editor.

The bashbug utility takes the guesswork and variance out of submitting a bug report. The authors clearly needed extra consistency in how experiences had been crafted, however with out added friction on the person for submitting the report. Creating bashbug lowered the barrier for submitting a clear, orderly bug report in accordance with maintainer tips.

Certain, the authors might have simply posted a template for anybody to make use of, however they went one step additional and created a devoted utility for it.

Bashbug output able to edit in vim.

For those who do run into what you suppose is a professional bug in Bash, be at liberty to file a report utilizing bashbug. Merely execute bashbug and also you’ll be taken to your default editor with a report prepared and ready to be stuffed out.

The extremely observant readers might need already guessed what this utility does. The encguess program makes an attempt to guess the encoding of a textual content file. As soon as once more, this may appear fairly trivial at first, however this generally is a godsend when making an attempt to parse by means of overseas textual content recordsdata.

It isn’t at all times the case that textual content information is acquired in a standardized format. Whether or not you’re getting information uploaded from customers, collected by disparate scripts or simply scraping information from the net, it has the potential to seem in numerous encoding sorts.

Utilizing the encguess program you’ll be able to rapidly attempt to decide the encoding. Let’s say we’ve a easy textual content file with the next plain textual content:

# take a look at.txt
this can be a take a look at

For those who run encguess textual content.txt you’ll obtain the next output:

take a look at.txt US-ASCII

Clearly, that is an very simple instance. In fact it may work out commonplace ASCII characters. How a few file crammed with emojis?


Operating encguess on this file produces the anticipated format:

emoji_test.txt UTF-8

This utility is pretty correct and may be immensely useful when making an attempt to decipher overseas encoding kinds. When you’ve got an concept of what sorts to anticipate, you too can specify “suspect” encoding sorts by passing the -s flag when working encguess.

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