Tool tests on the fast track

Tool Tips

Article from Issue 189/2016

We test DK Tools 4.2.2, Midnight Commander 4.8.15, Datamash 1.1.0, F3 6.0, Sauvegarde 0.0.7, and WackoWiki 5.4.3.

DK Tools 4.2.2

Function: Comprehensive tool collection


License: BSD

Alternatives: GNU Tools

Developer Dirk Krause is collecting useful aides for the Linux shell under the name "DK Tools and Libraries." The latest DK Tools 4.2.2 package contains more than 30 tools, including programs from the areas of graphics conversion, software development, file, user and directory management, word processing, database, and printer management.

The dk-t2I or dk-t2h tools provide support for converting text files into LaTeX or HTML format. dk-pwgen generates complex passwords, and dk-eradisk produces random content for overwriting a disk. The collection also includes alternatives to known shell programs with new features. The dk-cat tool normalizes the output's line length, and dk-pwd just shows the name of the current directory without the path.

An extensive man page is available for every tool. Users can find more information and an overview of all the aides included in the package on the project website. Along with a thorough description of each tool, you will also find several examples of use.

(5 Stars) The DK Tools package includes many practical tools for shell workers. The developer maintains the collection in an exemplary manner and regularly publishes new versions.

Midnight Commander 4.8.15

Function: File manager for the shell


License: GPLv3

Alternatives: Vifm, Last File Manager

Midnight Commander (MC) is the bedrock of the shell file manager. The Ncurses-based tool was written by Miguel de Icaza, who developed the free clone of the DOS program Norton Commander in 1994.

MC provides a management interface in a two-column panel layout and tools for viewing and editing files. MCedit supports comprehensive syntax highlighting and integrates external tools such as the spell checker Ispell. MCview doesn't just display plain text files, it also copes very well with man pages and HTML files. MC has supported CIFS and FTP for some time to provide access to remote directories.

Each new version provides numerous improvements. The current version fixes a segfault when using SFTP protocol. Other new features include the upgrade to version 2.26 of glibc and the display of up to nine columns – MC previously had been limited to two. Lua developers can look forward to improved MCedit highlighting.

(5 Stars) The powerful file manager for the shell doesn't need to hide behind graphics. MC is cutting edge.

Datamash 1.1.0

Function: Analyzing and processing data


License: GPLv3

Alternatives: Sed, Awk

Many users write their own scripts or put together constructions from sed, awk, and cut to evaluate and process structured program output on the shell. This work can be done more conveniently and in a one-liner with Datamash.

The tool imports the data via standard input. Parameters sort the input before processing, rearrange the headers, and define an alternate delimiter (tab is the default). Even lines with a variable number of fields don't put Datamash off its stride.

Orders such as groupby or crosstab mean that Datamash only examines certain fields or columns. The tool is also familiar with more than 10 numerical and 20 statistical functions. The extensive man page and the well-documented examples on the project site help to get you started.

(4 Stars) Datamash is a useful tool for analyzing and evaluating structured data outputs. Users can use most of the functions with clever combinations of sed, awk and cut calls. Datamash makes achieving goals more convenient and faster.

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