Programs you may not have known exist for the CLI (Terminal)

One of the best things about linux is the terminal. I know for many it’s also one of the hardest things to learn, and many would rather just avoid it when they can, but in reality, it’s one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, tools available in any operating system out there.

Now, I know that you probably have your own opinions on this topic, and we can cover my reasoning for this statement in another post, some other time.

Right now, let me introduce you to some pretty awesome applications for the Linux terminal, you probably didn’t even know existed.

Have you ever used Pandora? It’s a music service online, that let’s you pic a song or artist / group, and then cultivates a musical playlist for you based on that selection. You can then refine what is played by “Liking” or “disliking” a song that is selected. It’s really an awesome, smart service, and they have a free, ad-supported, tier. Their ads are generally very short, 30 seconds or less, so it’s far less annoying than the radio with 7 minutes of commercial, 6 minutes of music, 8 minutes of commercial, 3 minutes of DJ babble, then 1 song, and you guessed it, back to commerial. Pandora does not do this. It’s web based, so you would open your browser and go to the pandora site, then listen. For me, it’s just as easy to open a terminal and type


Pianobar is an opensource terminal application that will play your Pandora music. With some very simple coomands, you can easily pause and resume, like, dislike songs, and so much more.

Here is another article about Pianobar, and you’ll find it’s very easy to install on most linux distros.

Next up is the terminal app for Twitter. There are several of these, but if you’re like me, and find that twitter is a semi-good place to keep up with Linux, Open Source, and Tech news, then it’s not a bad option to have a nice cultivated of sites or people you follow who tend to find the stuff you’re interested in.

There are several terminal apps for Twitter, but my favorite is

Rainbow Stream

Rainbow strem simply gives a stream of twitter posts as they come in, and you get clickable links right there in the terminal if you want to see more about the links provided. Additionally, you have a nicely formatted look as it rolls in.

And finally, email from the terminal. While not quite as easy to setup as the first two, for those who want a pure terminal experience, email in the terminal is undoubtedly a must have.

I have not personally done this in a decade, but it’s definitely something that wasn’t so bad once it was setup. It is complicated, but in a strange way it simplifies email as well.

If you’re interested in any of these cool applications, i highly recommend giving them a try in the CLI. If you have a cool application, leave a comment for this post so we can all give them a shot.

I have used pianobar for a while and enjoyed it.
I have not heard of Rainbow Stream. May check it out some time. Looking forward to the next meeting!

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