Excellent Utilities is a series of cornerstone articles highlighting essential utilities. These are small, indispensable tools, useful for anyone running a Linux machine.
pastel is a command-line tool to generate, analyze, convert and manipulate colors.
This tool supports a variety of color formats and color spaces like RGB (sRGB), HSL, CIELAB, CIELCh as well as ANSI 8-bit and 24-bit representations. Colors can be specified in many different formats. There are a wide range of subcommands available.
What can we do with pastel? We can pick a color anywhere on the screen, generate a set of visually distinct colors, name a given color, convert colors from one format to another, and much more.
We tested pastel with Manjaro. There’s a package in the Official Repositories (extra) so no compilation is necessary. Install with the command:
$ sudo pacman -S pastel
Alternatively, we can install with yay, a pacman wrapper.
$ yay pastel
If you’re not running Arch or an Arch-based distro, there’s a convenient distro-agnostic snap package available. The developer also provides a .deb package for Debian/Ubuntu users for x86 and x64, and ARM architectures. The other main alternative is to install the software via cargo, a build system and package manager for Rust.
This is cross-platform software. Besides Linux, pastel runs under macOS and Windows. We tested the software in Linux only.