The sys admin's daily grind:

Charly's Column –

Article from Issue 255/2022

Instead of websites or newsfeeds, Charly prefers to use at the command line to keep up to date with what's happening around the world quickly and in a targeted way.

When I want to keep up with what's happening in the world, I can check my favorite online newspapers or, if I'm in a hurry, use a news ticker. But what if I don't want to leave the command line to do that? I use to fill this gap.

You can easily query via the web using curl. If you want to host it yourself to save data, you can find the code and installation instructions on GitHub [1]. You also need an API key from News API [2], which is free for private users, but you do need to register. News API serves as the actual data source, while acts as the CLI wrapper to operate and sort and takes care of the human-readable output.

If I call


without further parameters, I get the latest news from all over the world without further sorting. Doing this means that I have to put up with receiving news in languages I don't understand and in writing systems that mean nothing to me – Hebrew, for example (Figure 1), or Japanese kanji. I only know the kanji characters for man and woman, which I memorized in order to avoid using the wrong bathroom in my favorite sushi restaurant.

Figure 1: delivers up-to-date news in all languages and writing systems.

Fortunately, offers various approaches to organizing this chaos. For example, I can prefix the URL with a country code to get news only in English (curl or exclusively in dozens of other languages. In addition, I can select my topics of interest. If I want to see the latest sports news, I append the parameter category=sports. Besides sports, accepts the business, entertainment, general, health, science, and technology categories.

Lastly, I can specify the number of messages that I want to show me at any given time. This is done by the n=<number> parameter. To see the last two messages of the science category from the English-language news stream (Figure 2), I would use the call from Listing 1.

Figure 2: The news can be limited by language, category, and number of messages.

Listing 1

Parameterized Call

$ curl,category=science

The Author

Charly Kühnast manages Unix systems in a data center in the Lower Rhine region of Germany. His responsibilities include ensuring the security and availability of firewalls and the DMZ.

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