Sparkling gems and new releases from the world of Free and Open Source Software


Woob is an acronym for "web outside of browsers," and its mission is to provide access to specific websites without requiring a web browser. It does this by being a command-driven front end to a module-driven back end, with each module targeting a specific kind of web service. Type woob followed by bank, for example, and you're presented with a huge list of modules designed to work with online banks. What's most surprising is that while the project is young and relatively niche, there's already a huge number of modules to support each of its capabilities, with more being added all the time. There's support for 88 banks, for example, from Barclays to Swiss Life. Selecting one of these will walk you through configuring the module with your own credentials so you can access whatever capabilities the module supports. For the bank module, these capabilities include viewing your interest rate, the ability to transfer funds, and retrieving your balance.

Of course, you might wisely not trust woob to negotiate your bank account without some kind of audit of its code, but woob also supports many less crucial services. The cinema capability lets you interact with film metadata grabbers and local download services. The gallery module does the same for picture services, while parcel helps you access tracking information from companies such as DHL and DPD. There are many more, including those that deal with local Linux command-line tools and sensors, remote web services such as weather and bug tracking, and even cooking recipes and music lyrics. You don't even need to use the command line because many are accompanied by a Qt-based graphical front end, which can be used instead of the command line. These have the added advantage of showing images such as movie posters, album covers, or recipe photographs. It can take some effort to get started, but after you've used a couple of modules you realize it offers a better user experience than many of the web services it hopes to replace, and that's definitely a good thing.

Project Website

Access some of your favorite web services from the command line – without a web browser – with woob.

Cat clone


The Unix philosophy of having one simple tool to do one simple task is still alive and well on the command line, and the cat command is one of its best exemplars. It's a command so venerable that it was included in the original first edition of "Research Unix," developed by Ken Thompson and Dennis Richie in 1971 (though the term "Research Unix" was first used in 1978). As everyone knows, cat will print the contents of a text file to the standard command-line output, letting you easily see its contents. If more than one file is listed, it will concatenate the output of each in turn (the task that gives it its name) and let you view the contents as a whole or pipe them back into a new, single file. It can optionally display line numbers, or highlight tabs or the end of a line, but it can't do much more. It's a simple tool for a simple job, and it works brilliantly.

But there are times when you sometimes need a little more from the humble cat, especially when rummaging through source code or text files with a specific format. This is where the equally zoomorphic bat can help. It extends cat's simple premise with a few extra modern essentials, including syntax highlighting, built-in paging, and even git integration that can show only the modifications in a file after comparing it with the Git index. All of this happens when you simply replace your cat invocation with bat, but there are further options to customize the output too, including options to specify when to disable the pager, when to display only the differences, and how one file type maps to another. It's fast, looks beautiful, and can be themed, while still remaining completely compatible with cat's original basic output, making it just as useful for previewing fzf or finding results as it is previewing the contents of main.cpp.

Project Website

bat is one of those rare commands that makes you wonder how you ever lived without after you start using it.

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