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 at the bottom of each page of this article.
One of the tools we routinely install on a fresh Linux system is exa. It’s a modern replacement for ls. Why the recommendation? Mainly it’s because exa offers more features and better defaults than the venerable ls command. exa uses colours to distinguish file types and metadata. The tool recognizes symlinks, extended attributes, and Git. It’s compact, fast, and a single binary.
Sadly, there hasn’t been a new release of exa since April 2021. Benjamin Sago, the lead developer of exa, hasn’t been contactable for many months, and there doesn’t appear to have been any code contributions to any of his GitHub repositories for more than a year.
If exa had been proprietary software, that would probably have been the end of exa. But exa was published under an open source license. And with open source software, there’s always the possibility that other developers passionate about the software fork the project. And that’s what happened in the guise of eza.
eza is a modern, maintained replacement for ls, built on exa. It has some new features such as hyperlink support. Let’s check out eza.
eza is tested on Ubuntu 23.10. Before installing any software, it’s good practice to perform an update.
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt upgrade
Our test system already has gpg installed. But if it’s not present on your system, issue the command:
$ sudo apt install gpg
We followed eza’s installation instructions.
$ sudo mkdir -p /etc/apt/keyrings
$ wget -qO- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/eza-community/eza/main/deb.asc | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /etc/apt/keyrings/gierens.gpg
echo "deb [signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/gierens.gpg] http://deb.gierens.de stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/gierens.list
$ sudo chmod 644 /etc/apt/keyrings/gierens.gpg /etc/apt/sources.list.d/gierens.list
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install eza
Everything proceeded smoothly.
Complete list of articles in this series:
|Encrypt files using the Advanced Encryption Standard
|Shell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities
|Next gen tree explorer and customizable launcher
|Fast application launcher
|Community driven unified cheat sheet
|Advanced clipboard manager
|Securely transfer files and folders from the command-line
|Live streaming your desktop to a web browser
|Disk usage utility with more polished presentation than the classic df
|A turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command
|Browse, install and manage GNOME Shell Extensions
|Wonderful alternative to the venerable find
|Kill processes quick and easy
|Quickly search and preview fonts
|File splitter with encryption and redundancy
|Simple screen recorder
|Document viewer for a wide variety of file formats
|A simple yet effective image optimization tool
|Style and grammar checker for 30+ languages
|Adaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
|Advanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting
|Like exa, lsd is a turbo-charged alternative to ls
|Simple and elegant Markdown editor
|Navigate through your bash shell history
|Formatted and highlighted view of Markdown files
|Monitors a command or process and triggers a notification
|Flexible cross-platform shell with a modern feel
|GPU process management for NVIDIA graphics cards
|Add OCR text layer to scanned PDFs
|Oh My Zsh
|Framework to manage your Zsh configuration
|Designed to simplify the management of your paperwork
|Generate, analyze, convert and manipulate colors
|PDF Mix Tool
|Perform common editing operations on PDF files
|Simple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful
|Recursively search directories for a regex pattern
|Sketch and take handwritten notes
|Display and control Android devices
|Simulates the traditional “sticky note” style stationery on your desktop
|Simplified and community-driven man pages
|A terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow
|An unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential
|Sublime application launcher
|Track the time spent on projects
|Self-hosted and privacy-focused metasearch engine
|Terminal workspace with batteries included