Kristof Kovacs

Software architect, consultant

A little collection of cool unix terminal/console/curses tools

Just a list of 20 (now 28) tools for the command line. Some are little-known, some are just too useful to miss, some are pure obscure -- I hope you find something useful that you weren't aware of yet! Use your operating system's package manager to install most of them. (Thanks for the tips, everybody!)

dstat & sar

iostat, vmstat, ifstat and much more in one.

dstat screenshot


Visualizes network interface traffic over time.

slurm screenshot

vim & emacs

The real programmers' editors.

vim screenshot

screen, dtach, tmux, byobu

Keep your terminal sessions alive.

gnu screen screenshot


See your log files in separate windows.

multitail screenshot


Presentation ("PowerPoint") tool for terminal.

tpp screenshot

xargs & parallel

Executes tasks from input (even multithread).

xargs screenshot

restic & borgbackup

Encrypting backup tools.

duplicity screenshot

nethack & slash'em

Still the most complex game on the planet.

nethack screenshot


Does FTPS. Can mirror, kinda like rsync.

lftp screenshot

ack, ag (silver searcher), pt

A better grep for source code.

ack screenshot

calcurse & remind + wyrd

Calendar systems.

calcurse screenshot

newsbeuter & rsstail

Command line RSS readers.

newsbeuter screenshot


Helps conserve power on Linux.

powertop screenshot


A console UI for git.

tig screenshot


The best calculator. Ever. (For scripts too.)

qalc screenshot

htop, atop & glances

Process, memory and io monitoring.

htop screenshot

ttyrec & ipbt

Record and play back terminal sessions.

ipbt screenshot


Keeps filesystems in sync over SSH.

rsync screenshot


traceroute 2.0.

mtr screenshot

socat & netpipes

Directing stuff easily in and out of sockets.

socat screenshot

iftop, iptraf & nethogs

To see where your traffic goes.

iftop screenshot

siege & tsung

Command line load test tools.

siege screenshot


Terminal-based accounting package.

ledger screenshot


Todo management in the terminal.

taskwarrior screenshot


Everybody's favorite HTTP toolbox.

curl screenshot

rtorrent & aria2

Command line torrent downloaders.

rtorrent screenshot

ttytter & earthquake

Nice trendy Twitter clients :)

ttytter screenshot

vifm & ranger

Alternatives to the midnight commander.

vifm screenshot

cowsay & sl

I just couldn't resist. :o)

cowsay screenshot


Counts lines of code.

cloc screenshot


For network assignments.

ipcalc screenshot

Discussion of this post on Hacker News - that's the place to get into nice old-school FidoNet-style flame wars about the important things in life, like whether or not tmux is better than screen, is parallel better than xargs, whether or not ifconfig is a power tool, or should this list include somebody's once-used tool for converting old Pascal code to C or something. :o)

Shameless plug: I'm a freelance software architect (resume), have a look at my services!

Got some other command line tool you love? Send me a message!

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