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  1. #1

    Terminal only?

    Just curious about some stuff. I'm just learning Linux the last month or two, and doing a bit of shell scripting.
    Anyways, I was curious if anyone runs just the terminal, with no Gnome, KDE, etc. Can you use Firefox without an X interface? Is there a terminal-only distro that comes loaded with all the Perl, Python, and C++ programs? Or is there an easy way to just add in Pythontk, etc, from terminal only?

    I've been kicking around going terminal-only just so that I can force myself to learn Linux more quickly, and have the computer as a programming tool only. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Linux User nalg0rath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    I usually run terminal only. Since it is on OpenBSD I only have the option to run with 80x25 or a 80x50 characters on the screen so I sometimes use ratpoison window manager on X (for example on my laptop).

    If you run Linux you are probably able to use Framebuffer which makes the terminal-only computer more capable of doing what the general user might expect. With framebuffer you can run your TTY-shell with a higher resolution with colors. It can even display pictures, and if you need to view movies mplayer works perfectly on framebuffer only.

    You can not run firefox without X. There are some other browser that you can use though. You can use Lynx which is my favourite browser, a problem with Lynx is that it does not support frames. Instead you could use Links that supports frames. Links2 even supports a basic graphical interface on framebuffer, which is great if you want to see images when browsing.

    There is some difficulities though with viewing online videos, there are no plugins for Links2 that are capable of video playback. If you are somewhat familiar with JavaScript and HTML you could probably find out what the adress for the stream is and play it with mplayer. You cannot do this with Flash-based videos such as the ones you find on YouTube. This can be a bit more difficult to get passed. There are fortunatly online converters/rippers for the most popular video-sites (see: : Online FLV Converter : Download online videos direct to PC / iPod / PSP. It's free!).

    You will be able to write, compile and run Perl, Python and C++-programs without X. You will maybe have to get used to not using the most popular programs but instead alternatives to them because the most popular requires X. There are tons of programs out there that does not require any GUI. Many of them uses Ncurses to create user interfaces that are much more manageable.

    I'm sorry to say that you will not be able to use pythontk, or any TK implementation. For TK you will need X. I do not know of any way you can run TK-programs in framebuffer.

    There are several distros that does not require you to install a GUI. Such as Gentoo, Slackware, Debian and a lot more. Out of those my favourite is Slackware. Since you want to learn I should maybe also recommend Gentoo since you learn a bit about Linux when you install it.

    There are also the option of using a window manager that is very small and similar to using terminal only. One of these window managers is ratpoison that you might want to take a look at. With ratpoison you will even be able to use Firefox.

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