12 Funny Linux Commands to Spice Up Your Terminal (2023)

So, you think Linux terminal is all work and no fun? These funny Linux commands will prove you wrong.

The Linux terminal is the place to get serious work done. We have plenty of useful linux command tips and tricks to help you with that.

But, did you know that you can have a lot of fun using the terminal? Well, if you did not, then you are not alone. Most Linux users see the terminal as an interface that is designed and built for system management and development tasks.

However, you will be surprised to know that there are tons of terminal based games and ASCII games that you can play in the terminal.

And, in this article, I’m going to explore some interesting, some funny and some ridiculous commands that you can type into the terminal on Linux and have fun!

Have some fun in Linux terminal with these commands

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You’ll find a lot of these commands ridiculous or useless but some of them could actually be put to some good use.

I have added installation instructions for Ubuntu/Debian. If you are using Ubuntu-based distribution, please make sure to enable universe repository as most of these commands are not in the main repository.

If you are using Arch, Fedora, SUSE, Solus or any other non-Ubuntu distributions, please use your distribution’s package manager to install these funny Linux commands.

1. Run a train in the terminal

Let’s take a ride in the locomotive and begin our auspicious journey. And I mean it literally!

The sl command allows you to run a train in your terminal.

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Here’s how to install the command:

 sudo apt install sl

Once done, you can simply type in the following in the terminal to get started:

sl

Impressive, isn’t it? But, hold on. We are not done yet! Apparently, you can fly your locomotive. Just add the option -F, Mr. Potter:

sl -F

This should make the locomotive get wings to fly off from the terminal window!

2. Add the Matrix effect to your Linux terminal

Remember the iconic sci-fi movie The Matrix? The green text falling down on the terminal became an identity of Matrix.

(Video) Top 12 Funny Linux Commands to Spice Up Your Terminal

You can have this Matrix digital rain on your Linux box as well! You just need to install cmatrix and type it in the terminal.

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Installing cmatrix on Debian/Ubuntu Linux:

sudo apt install cmatrix

Now, all you have to do is type the following to get the matrix screen on terminal:

cmatrix

Press Ctrl+C to stop it, Mr. Anderson.

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3. Let there be fire

Keep your fire extinguisher handy because now you are going to start a fire in your terminal!

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To get it installed, here’s what you have to type:

sudo apt install libaa-bin

Once done start a fire in your terminal by entering:

aafire

Press Ctrl+C to stop it.

4. Fortune Cookie Command

Want to know your fortune but there are no fortune cookies around you?

Not to worry, you just need to type “fortune” on your terminal and press enter. The terminal will display a random sentence just like you usually get in fortune cookies.

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Install it with:

sudo apt install fortune

Once done, simply type in the command below to know your fortune:

fortune

Now this is one of the commands here that you could actually use. You can use it as message of the day so that in a multi-user environment, all the users will see a random fortune cookie when they login.

You may also add it to your bashrc file so that it shows you a random message as soon as you log in to the terminal.

5. Pet lover? This is for you

Oneko is a little fun command that will change your regular cursor into a mouse and creates a curious little cat who will chase your cursor once you move it. It’s not limited to just the terminal. You can keep on working while the cat chases the cursor.

Now, that’s something fun to do specially if you have kids at home.

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Install Oneko with this command:

sudo apt install oneko

Run it with this command:

oneko

In case you want a dog instead of a cat, type:

oneko -dog

There are a few more types of cats available. You can get that information by using oneko –help. To stop it, use Ctrl+C.

6. Little brother is watching you

Xeyes is a tiny gui program that let the user draws a pair of ever watching eyes! It will follow your mouse cursor constantly. Run the command and see it yourself!

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You can install it using this command:

sudo apt install xeyes

And then use it with this:

xeyes

Press Ctrl+C to stop it.

7. Let the terminal speak for you

To try out this command, make sure you have turned on your speakers. eSpeak is a fun command that gives your terminal a voice. Yes, you heard that right.

Install the package first:

sudo apt install espeak

Next, you need to simply type in the command along with a text that you want to listen as audio:

espeak "Type what your computer says"

Whatever you place in the double quotes, your computer is obligated to say! It’s like echo command in Linux. But instead of printing, it speaks.

8. Toilet (but it has nothing to do with a washroom)

This sounds weird, yes. But, it’s just a command that transforms a text into large ASCII characters.

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Install toilet with this command:

sudo apt install toilet

Once done, you just need to type in:

toilet sample text you want

I don’t know why this little program is called toilet.

9. What does the fox cow say?

Cowsay is a command that displays a cow using ASCII characters in the terminal. And by using this command you can instruct the cow to say anything you want.

Not to be confused with any audio – it will just display a text (like you usually see in a comic book).

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Install cowsay:

sudo apt install cowsay

Once you have it installed, you just need to type in:

cowsay "your text"

Whatever you place in the double quotes, your cow is obligated to say! I have seen a few sysadmins using it to display the message of the day. Maybe you can do the same. You may even combine it with fortune command.

10. Banner Command

The banner command works just like the toilet command but it is limited to print only 10 characters at most.

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You can install banner command like this:

sudo apt install sysvbanner

Then use it in the following way:

banner "Welcome"

Replace content in the double quotes and you shall have your desired text displayed.

11. Yes command

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The “yes” command helps you to loop an automated response until you terminate the command. This command will print the exact same thing indefinitely. If you want to produce huge amounts of junk text fast, then this command will work like a charm.

You may also use it to provide a yes to a command (if it prompts for it). For example, the apt upgrade command asks for your confirmation, you can use it like this:

yes | sudo apt upgrade

You don’t need to install any package for it. Yes command is already available.

Terminate the yes command loop, simply press CTRL + C.

12. Get a new identity, well, sort of

Want to generate a random fake identity? I give you the command “rig”. Once you place this in the terminal, it will generate a fake identity.

12 Funny Linux Commands to Spice Up Your Terminal (13)

Install rig with this command:

sudo apt install rig

Then simply type this:

rig

It may be used in scripts or web-apps that displays random information but I haven’t done anything of that sort on my own.

Wrapping Up

I hope you liked this list of fun Linux commands. Which command do you like the most here? Do you know some other such amusing commands? Do share it with us in the comment section.

Srimanta Koley

A passionate writer, a distrohopper and an open source enthusiast, Srimanta is extremely fond of everything related to technology. He loves to read books and has an unhealthy addiction to the 90s!

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    FAQs

    What does '$' mean in Linux? ›

    Syntax for this manual. Remember the UNIX/LINUX command line is case sensitive! "$" indicates start of command. "#" indicates end of command and start of comment.

    What is the most powerful command in Linux? ›

    This is the most important command. sudo is actually a “Super User DO” command in Linux.

    What is Ctrl Z in Linux? ›

    ctrl+z stops the process and returns you to the current shell. You can now type fg to continue process, or type bg to continue the process in the background.

    What is $() called in bash? ›

    It turns out, $() is called a command substitution. The command in between $() or backticks (“) is run and the output replaces $() . It can also be described as executing a command inside of another command.

    What is $_ in Linux? ›

    $_ (dollar underscore) is another special bash parameter and used to reference the absolute file name of the shell or bash script which is being executed as specified in the argument list. This bash parameter is also used to hold the name of mail file while checking emails. $@

    What is $1 and $2 in shell script? ›

    These are positional arguments of the script. Executing ./script.sh Hello World. Will make $0 = ./script.sh $1 = Hello $2 = World. Note. If you execute ./script.sh , $0 will give output ./script.sh but if you execute it with bash script.sh it will give output script.sh .

    What does rm RF /* do? ›

    In a nutshell, the rm -rf / command completely wipes out your system resulting in a broken and unrecoverable system. The some of options used with the rm command are. rm command in Linux is used to delete files. rm -r command deletes the folder recursively, even the empty folder.

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    What does Ctrl ZDO? ›

    CTRL+Z. To reverse your last action, press CTRL+Z. You can reverse more than one action. Redo. CTRL+Y.

    What is Ctrl D Linux? ›

    In the Linux command-line shell, pressing Ctrl + D logs out of the interface. If you used the sudo command to execute commands as another user, pressing Ctrl + D exits out of that other user and puts you back as the user you originally logged into.

    What is Ctrl h in Linux? ›

    The ctrl-h, ctrl-w and ctrl-u sequences erase (i.e., back over) the last letter you just typed, the last word that you just typed, or the entire line. The ctrl-a and ctrl-e will move your cursor to the beginning or end of the text you have just typed.

    What does $? Mean in bash? ›

    $? - It gives the value stored in the variable "?". Some similar special parameters in BASH are 1,2,*,# ( Normally seen in echo command as $1 ,$2 , $* , $# , etc., ) . Follow this answer to receive notifications. edited Jun 20, 2020 at 9:12. CommunityBot.

    What does F mean in bash? ›

    The “[ -f ~/. bashrc]” is known as a test command in bash. This command, which includes the “-f” expression, will check if the ~/. bashrc file exists (i.e. the file . bashrc is in your home directory) and is a regular file (i.e. is not a directory).

    What is $? In shell script? ›

    • $? - exit status of command. • $$ - Check PID of current shell. • $! - check PID of last background Job. Below is an example.

    What does '!' Mean in Linux? ›

    In Bash, the exclamation mark (!) is used with the pound (#) symbol to specify the interpreter path. This usage is called “shebang” and is denoted as: #!interpreter [arguments] In shell scripts, we can use it to specify bash as an interpreter: $ cat welcome.sh #!/usr/bin/bash echo "Welcome !!!"

    What does $? Means in shell script? ›

    $? The exit status of the last command executed. 7. $$ The process number of the current shell.

    What does #! Mean in Bash? ›

    #!/bin/bash

    The most common shebang is the one referring to the bash executable: #!/bin/bash. Essentially it tells your terminal that when you run the script it should use bash to execute it.

    What are 5 Linux commands? ›

    Here are 12 Linux commands I find most useful.
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    • Make directory (mkdir) ...
    • List (ls) ...
    • Change directory (cd) ...
    • Remove a file (rm) ...
    • Copy a file (cp) ...
    • Move and rename a file (mv) ...
    • Create an empty file (touch)
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