Fun and Useful CLI Tools for Linux

Not all terminal commands perform productive tasks and know how to value. Some are here for fun and to bring a smile to your face.

Here's my list of favorite useless command line applications that are sure to make working with the terminal more fun.

1. Cowsay

Judging by its name, cowsay is a customizable talking cow.


Cowsay generates an ASCII image of a cow that speaks a user-defined message to standard output. The utility provides several modes that change the cow's appearance and emotional state with the passed arguments. You can use different flags to play with the cow and more.

If you are not a fan of cows, Cowsay can also show other creatures. Cowsay uses cowfiles , which serve as templates for your output.

For a complete list of output templates: cowsay -l. To test a template, just pass it with the -f flag.

cowsay -f <cowfile> "Hello Cowfile"


I have counted 47 available templates. I think you will find your favorite.

Cowsay is available for Linux and Mac and installation is easy.

sudo apt install cowsay

2. Figlet - Installing ASCII banners

We often write scripts to do a variety of tasks. But sometimes you want to show status messages in a fancy way. You will have to create Linux or Mac banners with figlet.

figlet tool

Need to change font, size, italics? - Not a problem. The tool knows how to do this simply with argulet.

Look at the list of available fonts: ls -ltr /usr/share/figlet|grep -i flf.

3. sl - ahead of the rest

The sl command is a classic play on UNIX and will show you a steam locomotive passing through the terminal. You can even shout out phrases from it.

sl cmd

4. fortune - your fate is in my hands

The following command displays jokes, quotes and even poems in the terminal, in the style of "fortune cookies". As they say, let the computer tell your fortune and fortune will help you with that.

By the way, if you combine cowsay with fortune, the cow will tell your fortune. The animal, at your choice, will start throwing out quotes, sometimes appropriate.

fortune & cowsay

If you're interested in more details, welcome to the fortune site.

5. Telnet - you can see everything

Connecting to a remote port and setting up an interactive channel to send commands or receive data is all possible with the telnet utility. It is sometimes called the universal terminal browser because it can handle different protocols.

But this command also knows how to show Star Wars. Connect to the server and enjoy watching the new season.


Telnet - Star Wars

In fact, there are many resources that telnet works with as entertainment.

What's your favorite command?

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