13 Linux Commands to Have Some Fun in the Terminal

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!

📋
I have added installation instructions for Ubuntu/Debian. Please make sure to enable universe repository as most of these commands are not in the main repository. For other distros, please use your respective package managers.

1. sl: Run a train in your 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.

Use "sl" or Steam Locomotive command to get a running train inside your terminal
sl command

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
Use "sl" command with "-F" option to get a flying train
Flying Train

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

Running a Train in the Linux Terminal With sl Command
Choo choo! All aboard the choo choo train in the Linux terminal.

2. cmatrix: 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.

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

Get a Matrix Screen using "cmatrix" Command
cmatrix command

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 the terminal:

cmatrix

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

3. aafire: Let there be fire

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

Get an ASCII Fire using the "aafire" Command
AAFire

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: 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.

See some quotes in your terminal using the Fortune Command
fortune command

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 log in.

💡
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. oneko: 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.

Change your regular cursor into a mouse and see a curious little cat chasing your cursor once you move it, using Oneko
Oneko

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
Get a dg instead of cat using "-dog" option with "oneko" command
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. xeyes: 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!

Use Xeyes Command to draw a pair of ever watching eyes! It will follow your mouse cursor constantly.
Xeyes

This command is provided by x11-apps package. You can install it using this command:

sudo apt install x11-apps

And then use it with this:

xeyes

Press Ctrl+C to stop it.

7. espeak: 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.

Toilet Command

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. cowsay: 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).

Cowsay command to get text reply from various animals
Cowsay Command

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.

Using Cowsay Linux Command Like a Pro
The cowsay is a fun little Linux command line utility that can be enjoyed in so many ways. Here are several examples.

10. banner: Whose banner is it?

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

Banner Command
Banner

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: Yes, Terminal!

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.

Use "Yes" command to loop an automated response until you terminate the command
Yes Command

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.

To terminate the yes command loop, simply press CTRL + C.

12. rig: 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.

Rig Command to generate a random fake identity
Rig Command

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.

13: Asciiquarium (An aquarium for your terminal!)

Asciiquarium can generate a beautiful colored aquarium right inside your terminal.

Asciiquarium command and get a colorful aquarium inside your terminal
Asciiquarium

On Fedora and Arch Linux based system, you can install Asciiquarium through respective package managers.

sudo dnf install asciiquarium
OR
sudo pacman -Syu asciiquarium

On Ubuntu, you can download the source package and make yourself. Or use a PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ytvwld/asciiquarium
sudo apt update
sudo apt install asciiquarium
PPA in Ubuntu Linux [Definitive Guide]
An in-depth article that covers almost all the questions around using PPA in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions.

Now, simply run:

asciiquarium
🚧
Use third-party PPA carefully.

There are more fun stuff in the terminal

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

Want to experiment more with the terminal? How about a vintage one?

Get a Vintage Linux Terminal with Cool Retro Terminal
Getting nostalgic about the old CRT monitors of the 80s? You can relive it in Linux with the Cool Retro Term application.

Or, displaying your distribution's logo in ASCII format.

Display Linux Distribution Logo in ASCII Art in Terminal
Wondering how they display Linux logo in terminal? With these tools, you can display logo of your Linux distribution in ASCII art in the Linux terminal.

If you liked that, have more fun with ASCII art in the terminal.

10 Tools to Have Fun With ASCII Art in Linux Terminal
Think Linux terminal is all about serious work? Think again. Here are a few fun things you can do with ASCII art in the terminal.

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 is 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!
The tutorial was last verified and improved by Sreenath in Oct, 2023. However, if you notice technical inaccuracy or outdated information, please let us know.
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Written by a community member, a reader who is not part of the It's FOSS writing team. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of It's FOSS.

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