This is a series highlighting best-of-breed utilities. We cover a wide range of utilities including tools that boost your productivity, help you manage your workflow, and lots more besides. There’s a complete list of the tools in this series in the Summary section.
The Command Line Interface (CLI) is a way of interacting with your computer. To harness all the power of Linux, it’s highly recommended mastering the interface. It’s true the CLI is often perceived as a barrier for users migrating to Linux, particularly if they’re grown up using GUI software exclusively. While Linux rarely forces anyone to use the CLI, some tasks are better suited to this method of interaction, offering inducements like superior scripting opportunities, remote access, and being far more frugal with a computer’s resources.
starship and ripgrep are examples of free and open source software that are written in the Rust programming language. There’s lots of other useful Rust-based utility software. One that is particularly notable is exa. It’s a modern replacement for ls, a venerable command-line program that’s an integral part of any Linux distribution.
exa sports more features and arguably better defaults than ls. It uses colours to distinguish file types and metadata. The tool recognizes symlinks, extended attributes, and Git. It’s compact, fast, and a single binary.
There’s multiple ways to install the software. I’m only going to detail the steps I followed on my Arch distribution.
As I was installing the software on a fresh Arch installation, I installed Cargo, and then used Cargo to install exa. Cargo is the Rust package manager.
$ cargo install exa
You’ll need to ensure ~/.cargo/bin is in your PATH. The variable $PATH is set by your shell every time it launches, but you can set it so that it always includes your new path with every new shell you open. The exact way to do this depends on which shell you’re running.
I followed these steps for the bash shell:
- Open the .bashrc file in my home directory (/home/sde/.bashrc) in a text editor.
- Add export PATH=”~/.cargo/bin:$PATH” to the last line of the file.
- Save the .bashrc file.
- Restart my terminal (or run the command source .bashrc)
Complete list of articles in this series:
|tmux||A terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow|
|lnav||Advanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting|
|Paperwork||Designed to simplify the management of your paperwork|
|Abricotine||Markdown editor with inline preview functionality|
|mdless||Formatted and highlighted view of Markdown files|
|fkill||Kill processes quick and easy|
|Tusk||An unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential|
|Ulauncher||Sublime application launcher|
|McFly||Navigate through your bash shell history|
|LanguageTool||Style and grammar checker for 30+ languages|
|peco||Simple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful|
|Liquid Prompt||Adaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh|
|Ananicy||Shell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities|
|cheat.sh||Community driven unified cheat sheet|
|ripgrep||Recursively search directories for a regex pattern|
|exa||A turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command|
|OCRmyPDF||Add OCR text layer to scanned PDFs|
|Watson||Track the time spent on projects|
|fontpreview||Quickly search and preview fonts|
|fd||Wonderful alternative to the venerable find|