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The Matrix and More – Linux Talk

For those of you who love a silly little thing to do with Ubuntu, read on! For those who are just interested why on earth The Matrix is one of the things being discussed, go ahead and read on! Perhaps you’ll find that Linux isn’t as scary as you might have first thought.

Tux Penguin Linux OS

The jump from Windows into Linux is quite massive; Although a lot of people have been told to sell Linux as “similar to Windows”. Whilst you certainly can make your experience very much like Windows, I often run into snags which cause me sometimes months of issues. A simple example: I can use my USB Microphone to record things via Audacity, no problem – But to pick it up for live streams? Seemingly impossible. This is something I shall fix down the line.

For those of you who are interested though, Ubuntu has some incredibly fun little things you can do with the command line. From the classic “Neko” application, to actually seeing the Matrix on your machine, you can do so much more with the Command Line than simply push commands out. These are a few of the ones I picked up on whilst writing this article – And they’re all really rather good fun. I can even explain how some of these seemingly innocuous little apps can be used for greater purposes – Or at least explain how the CLI (Command Line Interface) can be used.

Moo & Cowsay

Apt Moo

The easiest one to begin with, let’s talk about Apt Moo. This is simple a little ASCII cow that appears in your command-line when you use it. Underneath the cow is simply the words ‘…”Have you mooed today?”…’ So this one isn’t particularly powerful to begin with, but as an introduction to the CLI, this is a good start. Apt stands for Advanced Packaging Tool, which is how a lot of programs are managed on Ubuntu. If you typed in the words sudo apt-get install [application name], the CLI will take care of all the hard work for you and install the application you specified. How handy is that?

But there’s more to Moo than meets the eye. There are Easter Eggs. If you use the GUI version of the package manager to run moo, then you suddenly get told there are no Easter Eggs. If you then try and make it more verbose with -v, it tells you there are really no more Easter Eggs. If you keep adding v’s to your verbosity, you end up with a more and more elaborate joke which was built in by the developers. This teaches you about arguments. Normally you’d not expect to see people going -vvvvv just to get their programs to do something more verbosely, but once you understand the power of arguments, you’ll blast through the CLI!

Aptitude Moo

Pretty amusing so far and quite educational as to how the CLI actually works. But now, what else can we do with this? How about we make the CLI talk back to us? How about we let the CLI simply echo what we tell it? Let’s talk about cowsay next, another incredibly simple cow-based application that serves a similar yet entirely different purpose. Guess what? I used to use cowsay as an error detection tool for a script I wrote a long time ago. But cowsay is the same as moo, except you can make it say things you want it to say by typing in your phrase after the word cowsay. However, let’s quickly talk about another useful tool: Pipes ( | ). Pipes are used to concatenate two CLI commands, meaning you can get effects like this:

Cowsay Fortune

By piping the command “fortune” (which produces a random fortune (or in some cases, complete gibberish)) and the cowsay command, you end up with a cow that can tell you your fortunes. Exactly what you’ve been looking for your whole life.


Why do I see the word "pew" on the right hand side above the white R l? Matrix got weird.

Why do I see the word “pew” on the right hand side above the white R l? Matrix sure got weird.

Finally, now we can all see the Matrix on our computers – Simply by typing sudo apt-get install cmatrix to install it, then just type in cmatrix, set your terminal to full screen and remember to take the red pill. There’s genuinely no use for this application, but it’s fun to watch, so if you wanted a fun screen saver, then go ahead and use this? The only use I could think of is locking the terminal by making it so on exit, you need to enter a password… Otherwise, be forced to watch the Matrix forever!


aa for X

Another really simple, fun to play around with command which can teach us a really basic and fundamental lesson about Linux. After you’ve installed aafire with sudo apt-get install aafire, you type the aafire command in and you get a separate interface, called aa for X. This is a strange name for what is basically an ASCII fireplace, but the reason behind it is the letter X. X is the Ubuntu Window Manager. Think of it like this: All GUI based Operating Systems; Windows, Mac, Linux variations, they use GUIs of some kind. These are managed with windows – Each program has it’s own unique window. X is simply its name for Ubuntu.


Even The Matrix breaks at the sight of cute cats!

Even The Matrix breaks at the sight of cute cats!

Last one for today is one of the easiest, cutest little apps you’ll find on here. Welcome to the wonderfully simple remake of the classic Neko application, Oneko, which basically means Open Neko, but there we go. Oneko is pretty close to the old Windows Neko app, where you get a little white cat follow you around on your screen… For added fun, I decided to make her run around on my Matrix! Hurray!! Just move your cursor and your cat will follow you!



All of the above was found via another article; please do go and check it out. I found out a bit more about moo, which wasn’t covered in the article at all – but I noticed someone briefly mentioned “apt moo” in the comments. Having played around, I found those Easter eggs and found them pretty good fun over all. That’s it for Linux Talk today, let us know if you enjoyed this in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. Do you know of any more fun Linux commands? Share them with us!

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