[ UPFRONT ]
Playterm, Platform of the Gurus
Did you learn all your
Linux console skills
from books or from
forums? Or, did you
peek over someone’s
shoulder to see the
real action? Once in
a while, we stumble upon new projects
that deserve some attention, like
Playterm ( www.playterm.org).
What’s the reason for this command-line “peep show”? To spread GNU
Linux command-line knowledge.
You will see a fair amount of on-line
terminal recordings when you enter this
site. The recordings cover several topics
performed in the shell: tricks, one-liners,
guided tutorials and handy utilities.
Personally, I found them quite entertaining to watch, and it brought me
back to the BBS days. It can be educational, and also quite hilarious to see
people making typos and mistakes.
Another interesting Playterm feature
is the embed facility. You can upload
terminal recordings on this site, which
you then can embed and play on your
blog or Web site. Optionally, you can
allow commenting on your recordings,
which, of course, will provide interesting
hints and tips and other improvements.
The Coder of Salvation (Leon van
Kammen) created Playterm because he
was just too curious about what people
were doing in their
terminals. He used
to work for a company where he did
extreme programming sessions with
through the GNU screen -x utility. In
his experience, it is extremely educational when you work together in one
terminal (and also entertaining). In his
opinion, console-related books and
articles are great, but sometimes it can
be more helpful to see gurus at work.
If it were up to him, more command-line projects should feature a terminal
player on their sites: “Why not? Why
have only a tar archive on a site?
Developers should make more demos
to show the world how cool their
utilities are! It hurts me to see so many
great utilities being overseen by the
masses.” Obviously, these are the
words of a true terminal evangelist.
Before the big Internet boom, people
used BBSes a lot ( en.wikipedia.org/
called to other people’s BBSes via
their phone line. The cool thing about
running your own BBS was that you
could create an console “intervention”.
By doing this, you could “take over”
the terminal session of a given user.
In those days, a lot of teaching and