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20 Funny Commands of Linux or Linux is Fun in Terminal

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Linux is fun! Huhhh. OK so you don’t believe me. Mind me at the end of this article you will have to believe that Linux is actually a fun box.

Linux Funny Commands

20 Linux Funny Commands

1. Command: sl (Steam Locomotive)

You might be aware of command ‘ls‘ the list command and use it frequently to view the contents of a folder but because of miss-typing sometimes you would result in ‘sl‘, how about getting a little fun in terminal and not “command not found“.

Install sl

root@tecmint:~# apt-get install sl 		(In Debian like OS)
root@tecmint:~# yum -y install sl 		(In Red Hat like OS)
root@tecmint:~# sl
sl funny command

sl command

This command works even when you type ‘LS‘ and not ‘ls‘.

2. Command: telnet

No! No!! it is not as much complex as it seems. You would be familiar with telnet. Telnet is a text-oriented bidirectional network protocol over network. Here is nothing to be installed. What you should have is a Linux box and a working Internet.

root@tecmint:~# telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl
telnet command

telnet command

3. Command: fortune

what about getting your random fortune, sometimes funny in terminal.

Install fortune

root@tecmint:~# apt-get install fortune 	(for aptitude based system)
root@tecmint:~# yum install fortune 		(for yum based system)
root@tecmint:~# fortune

You're not my type.  For that matter, you're not even my species!!!
Future looks spotty.  You will spill soup in late evening.
You worry too much about your job.  Stop it.  You are not paid enough to worry.
Your love life will be... interesting.

4. Command: rev (Reverse)

It reverse every string given to it, is not it funny.

root@tecmint:~# rev


xuniL eb ot nrob
born to be Linux

5. Command: factor

Time for some Mathematics, this command output all the possible factors of a given number.

root@tecmint:~# factor

5: 5 

12: 2 2 3 

1001: 7 11 13 

5442134: 2 2721067

6. Command: script

OK fine this is not a command and a script but it is nice.

root@tecmint:~# for i in {1..12}; do for j in $(seq 1 $i); do echo -ne $i×$j=$((i*j))\\t;done; echo;done 

2×1=2	2×2=4	
3×1=3	3×2=6	3×3=9	
4×1=4	4×2=8	4×3=12	4×4=16	
5×1=5	5×2=10	5×3=15	5×4=20	5×5=25	
6×1=6	6×2=12	6×3=18	6×4=24	6×5=30	6×6=36	
7×1=7	7×2=14	7×3=21	7×4=28	7×5=35	7×6=42	7×7=49	
8×1=8	8×2=16	8×3=24	8×4=32	8×5=40	8×6=48	8×7=56	8×8=64	
9×1=9	9×2=18	9×3=27	9×4=36	9×5=45	9×6=54	9×7=63	9×8=72	9×9=81	
10×1=10	10×2=20	10×3=30	10×4=40	10×5=50	10×6=60	10×7=70	10×8=80	10×9=90	10×10=100	
11×1=11	11×2=22	11×3=33	11×4=44	11×5=55	11×6=66	11×7=77	11×8=88	11×9=99	11×10=110	11×11=121	
12×1=12	12×2=24	12×3=36	12×4=48	12×5=60	12×6=72	12×7=84	12×8=96	12×9=108	12×10=120	12×11=132	12×12=144

7. Command: Cowsay

An ASCII cow in terminal that will say what ever you want.

Install Cowsay

root@tecmint:~# apt-get install cowsay 		(for Debian based OS)
root@tecmint:~# yum install cowsay		(for Red Hat based OS)
root@tecmint:~# cowsay I Love nix 

< I Love nix >
        \   ^__^
         \  (oo)\_______
            (__)\       )\/\
                ||----w |
                ||     ||

How about pipelineing ‘fortune command‘, described above with cowsay?

root@tecmint:~# fortune | cowsay 

/ Q: How many Oregonians does it take to  \
| screw in a light bulb? A: Three. One to |
| screw in the light bulb and two to fend |
| off all those                           |
|                                         |
| Californians trying to share the        |
\ experience.                             /
        \   ^__^
         \  (oo)\_______
            (__)\       )\/\
                ||----w |
                ||     ||

Note: ‘|‘ is called pipeline instruction and it is used where the output of one command needs to be the input of another command. In the above example the output of ‘fortune‘ command acts as an input of ‘cowsay‘ command. This pipeline instruction is frequently used in scripting and programming.

xcowsay is a graphical program which response similar to cowsay but in a graphical manner, hence it is X of cowsay.

apt-get insatll xcowsay
yum install xcowsay
root@tecmint:~# xcowsay I Love nix
install xcowsay

xcowsay command

cowthink is another command just run “cowthink Linux is sooo funny” and see the difference in output of cowsay and cowthink.

apt-get insatll cowthink
yum install cowthink
root@tecmint:~# cowthink ....Linux is sooo funny
( ....Linux is sooo funny )
        o   ^__^
         o  (oo)\_______
            (__)\       )\/\
                ||----w |
                ||     ||

8. Command: yes

It is funny but useful as well, specially in scripts and for System Administrators where an automated predefined response can be passed to terminal or generated.

root@tecmint:~# yes I Love Linux

I Love Linux
I Love Linux
I Love Linux
I Love Linux
I Love Linux
I Love Linux
I Love Linux
I Love Linux
I Love Linux
I Love Linux
I Love Linux
I Love Linux

Note: (Till you interrupt i.e ctrl+c).

9. Command: toilet

what? Are u kidding, huhh no! Definitely not, but for sure this command name itself is too funny, and I don’t know from where this command gets it’s name.

Install toilet

root@tecmint:~# apt-get install toilet 
root@tecmint:~# yum install toilet
root@tecmint:~# toilet tecmint 

mmmmmmm                        "             m                               
   #     mmm    mmm   mmmmm  mmm    m mm   mm#mm          mmm    mmm   mmmmm 
   #    #"  #  #"  "  # # #    #    #"  #    #           #"  "  #" "#  # # # 
   #    #""""  #      # # #    #    #   #    #           #      #   #  # # # 
   #    "#mm"  "#mm"  # # #  mm#mm  #   #    "mm    #    "#mm"  "#m#"  # # #

It even offers some kind of color and fonts style.

root@tecmint:~# toilet -f mono12 -F metal Tecmint.com
install toilet command

toilet command

Note: Figlet is another command that more or less provide such kind of effect in terminal.

10. Command: cmatrix

You might have seen Hollywood movie ‘matrix‘ and would be fascinated with power, Neo was provided with, to see anything and everything in matrix or you might think of an animation that looks alike Hacker‘s desktop.

Install cmatrix

root@tecmint:~# apt-get install cmatrix
root@tecmint:~# yum install cmatrix
root@tecmint:~# cmatrix
cmatrix command

cmatrix command

11. Command: oneko

OK so you believe that mouse pointer of Linux is the same silly black/white pointer where no animation lies then I fear you could be wrong. “oneko“ is a package that will attach a “Jerry“ with you mouse pointer and moves along with you pointer.

Install cmatrix

root@tecmint:~# apt-get install oneko
root@tecmint:~# yum install oneko
root@tecmint:~# oneko
install oneko

oneko command

Note: Once you close the terminal from which oneko was run, jerry will disappear, nor will start at start-up. You can add the application to start up and continue enjoying.

12. Fork Bomb

This is a very nasty piece of code. Run this at your own risk. This actually is a fork bomb which exponentially multiplies itself till all the system resource is utilized and the system hangs. (To check the power of above code you should try it once, but all at your own risk, close and save all other programs and file before running fork bomb).

root@tecmint:~# :(){ :|:& }:

13. Command: while

The below “while” command is a script which provides you with colored date and file till you interrupt (ctrl + c). Just copy and paste the below code in terminal.

root@tecmint:~# while true; do echo "$(date '+%D %T' | toilet -f term -F border --gay)"; sleep 1; done
Linux while command

Linux while command

Note: The above script when modified with following command, will gives similar output but with a little difference, check it in your terminal.

root@tecmint:~# while true; do clear; echo "$(date '+%D %T' | toilet -f term -F border --gay)"; sleep 1; done

14. Command: espeak

Just Turn the Knob of your multimedia speaker to full before pasting this command in your terminal and let us know how you felt listening the god’s voice.

Install espeak

root@tecmint:~# apt-get install espeak
root@tecmint:~# yum install espeak
root@tecmint:~# espeak "Tecmint is a very good website dedicated to Foss Community"

15. Command: aafire

How about fire in your terminal. Just type “aafire” in the terminal, without quotes and see the magic. Press any key to interrupt the program.

Install aafire

root@tecmint:~# apt-get install libaa-bin
root@tecmint:~# aafire
install aafire

aafire command

16. Command: bb

First install “apt-get insatll bb” and then, type “bb” in terminal and see what happens.

root@tecmint:~# bb
bb command

bb command

17. Command: url

Won’t it be an awesome feeling for you if you can update you twitter status from command line in front of your friend and they seems impressed. OK just replace username, password and your status message with your’s username, password and “your status message“.

root@tecmint:~# url -u YourUsername:YourPassword -d status="Your status message" http://twitter.com/statuses/update.xml

18. ASCIIquarium

How it will be to get an aquarium in terminal.

root@tecmint:~# apt-get install libcurses-perl
root@tecmint:~# cd /tmp 
root@tecmint:~# wget http://search.cpan.org/CPAN/authors/id/K/KB/KBAUCOM/Term-Animation-2.4.tar.gz
root@tecmint:~# tar -zxvf Term-Animation-2.4.tar.gz
root@tecmint:~# cd Term-Animation-2.4/
root@tecmint:~# perl Makefile.PL &&  make &&   make test
root@tecmint:~# make install
Install ASCIIquarium

Now Download and Install ASCIIquarium.

root@tecmint:~# cd /tmp
root@tecmint:~# wget http://www.robobunny.com/projects/asciiquarium/asciiquarium.tar.gz
root@tecmint:~# tar -zxvf asciiquarium.tar.gz
root@tecmint:~# cd asciiquarium_1.1/
root@tecmint:~# cp asciiquarium /usr/local/bin
root@tecmint:~# chmod 0755 /usr/local/bin/asciiquarium

And finally run “asciiquarium” or “/usr/local/bin/asciiquarium“ in terminal without quotes and be a part of magic that will be taking place in front of your eyes.

root@tecmint:~# asciiquarium
install aquarium

aquarium command

19. Command: funny manpages

First install “apt-get install funny-manpages” and then run man pages for the commands below. Some of them may be 18+, run at your own risk, they all are too funny.

grope, egrope, fgrope 
woman (undocumented)
root@tecmint:~# man baby

20. Linux Tweaks

It is time for you to have some one liner tweaks.

root@tecmint:~# world

bash: world: not found
root@tecmint:~# touch girls\ boo** 

touch: cannot touch `girls boo**': Permission denied
root@tecmint:~# nice man woman

No manual entry for woman
root@tecmint:~# ^How did the sex change operation go?^ 

bash: :s^How did the sex change operation go?^ : substitution failed
root@tecmint:~# %blow 

bash: fg: %blow: no such job
root@tecmint:~# make love 

make: *** No rule to make target `love'.  Stop.
$ [ whereis my brain?                    
sh: 2: [: missing ]
% man: why did you get a divorce? 
man:: Too many arguments.
% !:say, what is saccharine? 
Bad substitute.
server@localhost:/srv$ \(- 
bash: (-: command not found

Linux is sexy: who | grep -i blonde | date; cd ~; unzip; touch; strip; finger; mount; gasp; yes; uptime; umount; sleep (If you know what i mean)

There are certain other but these don’t work on all the system and hence not included in this article. Some of them are man dog , filter, banner, etc.

Have fun, you can say me thanks later :) yup your comment is highly appreciated which encourages us write more. Tell us which command you liked the most. Stay tuned i will be back soon with another article worth reading.

I am a major in computer science, love to research nix. I love to write codes and scripts, review distros, experiment Foss Technologies, write technical articles, Hack, of course Ethically. I am working as System Administrator (nix) for a NGO.

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82 Responses

  1. q says:

    great post, thanks! just wanted to
    hint that the forkbomb in nr. 12 got replaced by smiliefaces… ;)

  2. hadrons123 says:

    fortune and cmatrix not available in f19.

  3. Airwon says:

    Fork Bomb: (remove all spaces; but include a space in place of word space)
    : ( ) {space: | : &space} ; :

  4. John says:

    For f18, I had to use fortune-mod instead of fortune. Probably same for f19. Also yum install works for asciiquarium instead of downloading from source, however no toilet or cmatrix…

  5. miniminiyo says:

    hahaha very good collection, always glad to see the “touch girls \ boo **

  6. Obviously very good….Want to learn something more interesting….Waiting to see more interesting something.

  7. julian says:

    the url command does not work.

  8. Kevin says:

    None of the Commands work on debian… I get bash command not found…

  9. Rishi Raj says:

    i liked this the most here:

    root@tecmint:~# make love

    make: *** No rule to make target `love’. Stop.

    thanks for kicking of imagination power of us nix users.

  10. david says:

    One of the best post I have read, thanks.

  11. Peter says:

    Thank you so much for posting this!
    I had a blast:-)

  12. Nerdgurl says:

    None of these commands work!! i wasted like 2 hours trying these commands are these supposed to be done in emacs or something??

  13. Nerdgurl says:

    none of these work are these emac commands or something??

  14. jusgif says:

    @Nerdgurl, why on earth would you do this in emacs?

    They are all terminal commands, open your terminal and install the programs as instructed and then type in the command as instructed like you would run any other command in terminal and there you go… your name is rather deceiving because any nerd would know how to run a terminal command.

  15. Chethan says:

    Awesome post!

  16. ritesh kumar says:

    do you know about LEMUR(indri-5.5)

  17. Shashwat says:

    Nice and amazing post Abhishek ji .

  18. Desmond says:

    Which Linux OS did you run these commands on? ….Although I suspect Ubuntu!

  19. Allen says:

    Great post, thank you. ‘Twas a very entertaining diversion!

    Also — one of my favourites is “ddate”….not sure if it’s available on all distros?

  20. vicky says:

    Thanks man for sharing. very funny.
    In my Debian I have put cowsay+fortunes with offensive quotes :)

    # vim /etc/bash.bashrc

    and add at the end of the file.will open a new quote everytime you open terminal:

    # Random Animal Effect
    file=`/bin/ls -1 “$dir” | sort –random-sort | head -1`
    cow=$(echo “$file” | sed -e “s/\.cow//”)

    # Display quote with Random Animal
    /usr/games/fortune /usr/share/games/fortunes | cowsay -f $cow

  21. volkrad says:

    when i try asciiquarium it abords at line 42 as it cant locate Term/Animation

    dont know what i did wrong but probably my own fault :P

    further all the other stuff is awesome, thanks for sharing :)

    • warbirdnt says:

      It is a Perl script. You’re probably missing Term::Animation. You could see if your distribution has the package built for you and install it. Otherwise try the following:

      perl -MCPAN -e shell
      install Term::Animation

      That should install it. If you haven’t ran perl -MCPAN -e shell before you’ll need to go through CPAN setup. Just take the defaults and then run install Term::Animation.

  22. warbirdnt says:

    I’m assuming that the script is supposed to print a multiplication table (or at least a partial one) . This one prints a full table:

    for i in {1..12}; do for j in {1..12}; do echo -ne $i*$j=$((i*j))\\t;done; echo;done

  23. Sara says:


  24. Open Source says:

    That’s something out-of-the-box for me. :)

  25. Musab Hussain says:

    Great Great Post …. that’s why i love linux …. i love to play with linux …
    great thnx…

  26. Shoaib says:


    I am new to linux and I am using CentOS release 5.9. Can anyone pls guide me on how to make these commands work on the CentOS.

    • Avishek Kumar says:

      Dear shoaib,

      su -c ‘yum list Name_of_Package’

      to search for package cowsay

      su -c ‘yum list cowsay’

      it will list the package name that provides cowsay. Install that package and you are done.

  27. Sagar says:

    Really Funny ……. :)

  28. droope says:

    This is fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and hilarious too :)

  29. Aleksi Väisänen says:

    I use sl instead of clear, because it’s faster to write and funny.

  30. Parker says:

    For ubuntu when you want to install stuff, instead of lets say I want to install cowsay I’ll type apt-get install cowsay. In ubuntu its different. Its sudo apt-get install cowsay.

  31. super i want more in your website…

  32. TOIlet stands for “The Other Implementation’s letters”, coined after FIGlet’s “Frank, Ian and Glen’s letters”.


  33. j0k3r says:

    # aptitude install pv dialog

    # echo “Hii Guyz… Presenting a New Freak Again…” | pv -qL 10

    & to show you are busy in office try this:
    # for i in {0..600}; do echo $i; sleep 1; done | dialog –gauge “Installing Patches…” 6 40

  34. Avishek Kumar says:

    @ j0k3r,

    we have already included command ‘pv’ in one of our article. Here is the link to that article – http://www.tecmint.com/10-lesser-known-linux-commands-part-2/

    Your’s second suggestion is really very nice. we will be updating the article shortly by including both of your’s suggestion.

  35. abdulrahm112 says:

    update for utorrent fix ……

  36. mtzfamily2 says:

    Try while true; do echo “$(date | toilet -f term -F border –gay)”; sleep 1; done

    It gives you date in words and time

  37. peijie.ma says:

    only amazing i can say

  38. Emanuel Muhire says:

    Thanks alot I like most the command:URL

  39. Abdul Basit Nawab says:

    Really cool. Start loving nix

  40. nandy says:

    hey Avishek …….In between of serious complex script in Linux….these Cool interesting cmds are relaxing & fun fillled….

    Thanks for sharing…:-D

  41. Srinivas Raj.G says:

    Very easy learning and Salute for Coder’s and Thanks for Posting Admin’s..!

    Good and Thumbz up..!

  42. Ben says:

    lol if you run aafire and then leave it open go back into terminal and use the sl command a bunch of times and then close aafire a bunch of trains go by

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