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My Favorite Linux Tools

Antonin Januska on June 12, 2019

This post was cross-posted to my personal blog for archival purposes. I wanted to list a few utilities that either help my productivity on Linux...
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Ashlee (she/her)

notify-send looks like a good one! I like the example you gave. Might have to give this one a try.

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Robin Kretzschmar

Yes this one particually is interesting because we all know the struggle of long running processes where we end up surfing or doing something else and totally forget to check back if it is done πŸ˜…

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Judith

That is so true! Good to know other people do it too! πŸ˜‚

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Antonin Januska Author

It's sooo easy to use. I tried to make an alternative for powershell on windows and had to install an additional tool 😞.

I do believe it's Ubuntu only but other systems should have something similar available

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Florian Rand

That statement ubuntu only is dangerous sir!

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ScottHarwoodTech

Since you use ZSH, you can enable hooks which will automatically notify you when your command takes more than a certain amount of time gist.github.com/jpouellet/5278239 this was my starting point, I expanded it to send me a notifiy-send message with the info instead of just triggering a alert.

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Ghost

in fact notify-send is part of libnotify which at least in Gentoo is a dependency of wxGTK, in Linux if it works in one distro it works on all of them (with different levels of difficulty)

Thanks for the tip, I wasn't aware of this and is much more elegant than my current way, appending mpv (CLI media player) with some noise after the long command :D

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Antonin Januska Author

oooh interesting. Thanks for chiming! i went to check if it works on Arch (I switch between Arch/Ubuntu every couple of years) and it looks like it's required by gnome and a bunch of other packages. So, cool! :)

Glad I could help!

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Alex Regan

I didn't find it on Pop!_OS by default. Installing it was confusing since you actually install libnotify-bin... so heads up for anyone looking for it!

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Antonin Januska Author

Yeah, I guess I should specify to check out what kind of notification utilities your specific flavor of Linux supports/has. notify-send is dead-simple in usage so I hope other OSes are as well.

I was remarking on the fact that Windows/Powershell still sucks with this because you gotta make a whole script for it.

For anyone interested in how PS handles this: you can install BurntToast and write a 1-liner function function letmeknow {New-BurntToastNotification -Text "I'm letting you know!", "Something you wanted to happen, happened"} in your ps1 profile script.

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Judith

@antoninjanuska u bring up a good point here. There are so many mitigating factors in configuring a shell env. For me, this took time to really grasp this concept and once I did, game changer! πŸ‘πŸ‘

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Florian Rand

You can download the Source Code from here and compile It for your distro: galago-project.org/downloads.php although maybe it's not so straight forward, never tried to compile it since Debian has binary packages. There is a shell scrip version from Arch Linux users you can also try.

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Boris Jamot ✊ /

Have a look at fish shell, notifications for long running processes are built-in !

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Tieu Philippe KHIM

tmux is the big missing one for my point of view.

Otherwise, an alternative of htop is glances.

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anpos231

This is so useful when trying to find runaway node processes.
Why not use killall -9 node?

I'd like to add 'screen' to the list. Useful when you want to leave your terminal session running after leaving VPS.

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Ben Sinclair

You usually don't want to kill all your node processes, just the one that's running away...
and using SIGKILL like a hammer is a slippery slope.

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Michael Kohl

This made me remember an incident at work sometime around 2006/07 when a colleague who only knew Linux typed killall without arguments on a HP-UX machine to get the usage instructions, not realizing that this will kill all active processes (HP-UX killall manpage). He had to call someone in the data center to get the machine rebooted πŸ˜‚

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anpos231

For me killall proved useful when working with PHP. For example when there is this one rogue script that did not finish like it should. killall -9 php is not a problem because apache will spawn another one as soon as new request is made, but currently made request would be interrupted, so I only use in dev env.

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Antonin Januska Author

yep! VSCode and other processes spin up their own node processes. I'd want to kill a specific one.

What doesn't help is that if you're using webpack or nodemon, or a combination of tools, they'll just spin up another node process as soon as you kill it.

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Steven Martin

Quicky bash function using AppleScipt Engine to provide notify-send with macOS notifications:

function notify-send() {
  /usr/bin/osascript -e "display notification \"$*\" with title \"Notice\" sound name \"Tick\""
}

Now you can just do: notify-send "This is a notice"

To get a popup notification on your Mac.

Note you can change the sound by looking for sounds in /System/Library/Sounds on the Mac

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Dan Greene

multitail, jq, and htop (worth a 2nd mention) are some of the best, underrated cli tools out there

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Antonin Januska Author

I think the big reason they're so good is because they're cross-linux available. While GUI tools might need GTK, KDE, or whatever else. And on top of that, Linux users don't always have a GUI available.

I definitely love those utils!

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Ivo Limmen

jq is a very handy tool; just like httpie.

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Boris Jamot ✊ /

fx is also a killer app. You can browse JSON in the terminal:

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Scott Simontis

Org mode is the best kept secret of Emacs. I've been searching for the ideal KM solution for years and now I have found it! The learning curve was a little frustrating because Spacemacs changes the Meta-Enter binding's default value, but eventually I found the answer. It has inspired me to write my own org mode parser!

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Jose Nario

I have tried an ungodly number of note-taking/organizational apps & solutions across a few decades. And while many are excellent, I keep returning to org-mode, which is nothing short of unparalleled (for my brain, anyway).

My enthusiasm for Emacs has waned over the years, but org-mode will keep me entrenched. At least, until a 1:1 standalone equivalent is produced.

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Antonin Januska Author

Same experience! I've used emacs for development for a while but really, I just use it extensively for org mode.

It's basically a standalone org mode app for me πŸ˜‚

What's nice is writing code snippets in org mode ❀️.

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derek

Thanks for posting and sharing! I πŸ’šthings that ++productivity 🍻

Here a few that I find myself using the majority of the day:

slack-term keeps you in your terminal longer, and it has vim bindings 😍

exa is ++ls -la

tig is a must if you have any 🐱

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Prahlad Yeri

I don't quite agree that you need to be a super power user in order to use bash. I hardly knew the "L" of linux when I first started using bash!

nmtui looks interesting, is it available in Ubuntu repos? More importantly, does it work on a totally headless installation (like ubuntu-server) where no DE is yet installed?

There are a whole lot of other excellent linux tools which I'm totally dependent on, an entire post could be made about them.

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Antonin Januska Author

I agree that you don't have to be a power user to get a lot out of bash. I'd just say that having a decent bash or zsh setup can make a beginner's life (and an expert's life) much easier. Especially the whole thing with autocompletion, syntax highlighting, and showing valuable info in the terminal.

I'm not 100% sure if nmtui is built into Ubuntu but it is in the Ubuntu packages. It does work on a server version! The first time I used nmtui was installing Arch and that process involves installing the desktop environment manually -- and for that you need network access first. :)

Make the post! That's what I did haha

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Avalander

I've used notify-send to set a cron job in my work computer that reminds me to go home every workday at 5 pm, but I had never thought of your way to use it, I'm definitely going to borrow that :D

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Antonin Januska Author

That's an awesome idea! I love that. Now if only there was an easier-to-use tool for cronjobs!

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Omri Gabay

Archey doesn't look different from Neofetch?

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Antonin Januska Author

Oooh yeah, I haven't heard of this one. Looks pretty cool, too!

There are a bunch of tools like this.

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Jens Hansen

I really like fzf (fuzzy finder) and ranger.

ranger is a command-line based file manager with vi-bindings.

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Jaime Perez

+1 for ranger

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Yaovi

I just installed nmtui, it is pretty straightforward. I like it! Thanks for sharing)

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Antonin Januska Author

I really wish it was better-known. I learned about it when I installed Arch for the first time. It's a fantastic tool.

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jmc

Also a happy nvim & zsh user. Didn't know about ncdu, thanks!

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Jeff Derbyshire

terminator - Terminal emulator
screen - run things in background
miniconda - python virtual environments

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Fulton Browne

I really like the the look of Neo VIM. I am installing that today.

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Jonathan Boudreau

If you're ssh'ing regularly into boxes, give tmux a try.

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Ivo Limmen

You are missing the excellent lsd and for file searching fzf but for the rest: nice list!

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Gautham Prakash

htop is too good.

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PaweΕ‚ Kowalski

Wow, ncdu and bat are really cool :D

I also recommend htop :)

I would add one thing to the list: fzf
It is just great.

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Doug

RE: notify-send

You can also just beep: npm install && echo -ne '\007'

Of course it doesn't help if you don't have your headphones on.

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maxdevjs

Nice list. As an aside, Nvim is always "nocompatible" (first screenshot, init.vim reference).