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Entries : Category [ shellfun ]
Have fun in the Unix shell, with some more or less useful commands
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03 April 2012

A Glimpse into the Matrix

In the shell, where else
A glimpse into the structure of the matrix, right in your shell

The Unix shell is the closest thing we have to working with the very structure of the Matrix surrounding us. It's as close to the bare metal as we can get. (Sure, there are people trying to sell you a debugger for that, but what does their debugger run in? Right, thought so.)

Now the OpenBSD ports tree contains a tool that lets you see the Matrix right in your shell window. It's called cmatrix and you can grab it from packages right away. (If your OS doesn't have it in their package manager, you might get it from the one who made it.)

Obviously it shows the Matrix in its encrypted version. It's up to you to see the world in there or whatever you want. Figure it out and you might become someone important... like an actor.

Posted by betabug at 14:45 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
19 January 2013

Misc and ed day

It's ed the editor, not Ed the guy
Μεταφερθήκαμε δίπλα, πριν 26 χρόνια

Let's start this piece with a confession: Yes, I do read misc@, the infamous OpenBSD mailing list for miscellanous topics about that OS. But, I must hasten to say, only occasionally, through the marc web archives, and only to get a bit of a late night fun read or some minor interest tinker idea. Really. So I was reading a bit of misc@ yesterday evening, which I repeat to say, I do only rarely. There was this discussion about if there should be vi instead of ed in bsd.rd or even on the install (floppy) disk image. At that moment I thought, "why, I thought they had actually put vi in there some day?" I seemed to remember finding vi on an install image one day a few years ago.

Obviously I was wrong, as I just confirmed by bringing up a qemu virtual machine booting it into bsd.rd. My second thought was that I should bring back my annual "ed day" then. My annual "ed day" used to be one complete day where I would not touch my normal text editor (vi) to do my work, but instead do everything with ed. Wikipedia informs me that ed was written in 1971, so you can imagine it being a bit rustique. Still, it's able to do most any job, especially when it comes to sysadmin work. If your system is misconfigured and all you can bring up is single user mode, ed is all you will have and ed is what you should know how to handle. So I would strugge a bit for one working day and keep a bit of practice, much like with a fire drill.

The reasons I stopped the tradition were: I thought that they had vi on bsd.rd (wrong, see above) and I started to work more in programming and less in support/sysadmin stuff. In programming it's going to be even tougher to use ed, so now when I get back to my "ed day" habit, I'll have to make amends on what kind of stuff I'll do on that day.

Posted by betabug at 20:32 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
16 March 2015


less is more

Less and more are more or less the same thing. Less is trying to be a bit less like more by trying to do a bit more than more does, but then, on some platforms more is more and more like less. On other platforms, they are the same thing, just hardlinked binaries. In that case, less is more, no less no more.

Posted by betabug at 13:16 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
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