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Old 06-16-2004, 06:25 AM   #1
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Germany
Distribution: Slackware 9.1
Posts: 77

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workstation without X?

I'd would like to test how far I can build a system which accomplishes the common workstation functions without going back to X-related applications at as much comfort as possible.

Do you have any experience with a projekt like that?

Which general approach would you recommend?

Which applications would you recommend?

Old 06-16-2004, 06:36 AM   #2
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Registered: Apr 2004
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i'd recommend the following applications for a textmode only workstation:

browser: lynx, links (graphical with svgalib iirc)
mail: mutt, pine
irc: bitchx, irssi
im: centericq
editor: vi
file manager, ftp client: midnight commander
other: screen

best regards
Old 06-16-2004, 06:44 AM   #3
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: --> X <-- You are here.
Distribution: Slackware
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I have a Pentium 133MHz, with 90 MB of RAM running Slackware 9.1 and it works pretty well. You actually have a ton of text-only applications that are very powerful under Slackware.

My recommendations:

1. Word Processing: Vim + TeX + ispell + enscript.
2. E-mail: mutt or pine. Of course, mutt is more powerful, but pine is easier.
3. WWW: links.
4. FTP: NcFTP.
5. File operations: mc or bash ( of course! ).
6. Programming: gcc, python, perl, etc (all work in console mode).
7. Spreadsheet: sc.
8. Audio: mpg321 or workbone.
9. News: tin or trn.
10. Graphics: seejpeg.
11. Games: the entire 'Y' group of packages.
12. Telecom/BBS: minicom (if you need to use a modem) or ssh.

Etc... etc... Check out the 'A', 'AP' and 'N' groups of packages for more ideas. Make sure you use 'screen' to manage all this, and you are all set!

Some people might even say that you only need to learn emacs and you will be able to do all this and more!

Of course, using X11 is a bit more comfortable for some of these functions, but console mode still offers a ton of functionalities, and run very well even on limited machines.

Hope this helps!
Old 06-16-2004, 07:18 AM   #4
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Germany
Distribution: Slackware 9.1
Posts: 77

Original Poster
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Thx so far!

Would you recommend using gpm?

I've heard that it is possible to play videos in text mode via ascii. This would be a nice gimmick, too!

Noryungi: What do you meant, I should use 'screen'?
Old 06-16-2004, 07:33 AM   #5
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Spijkenisse, Netherlands
Posts: 118

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screen is a program. From the package description:

screen (screen manager with VT100/ANSI terminal emulation)

Screen is a full-screen window manager that multiplexes a physical
terminal between several processes (typically interactive shells).
Each virtual terminal provides the functions of a DEC VT100 terminal
and several control functions from the ISO 6492 (ECMA 48, ANSI X3.64)
and ISO 2022 standards (e.g. insert/delete line and support for
multiple character sets). There is a scrollback history buffer for
each virtual terminal and a copy-and-paste mechanism that allows
moving text regions between windows.

Never used it... but it sounds cool :-) Think I'll try it myself as well :-)
Old 06-16-2004, 07:34 AM   #6
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Registered: Nov 2003
Location: London, England
Distribution: Ubuntu
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See - screen is a wonderful gadget that allows multiple shells to be run on one console. Plus it has the dead handy ability to be detached and re-attached.

So if you're in the middle of some convoluted task and have to log out, you detach the screen, log out, then come back, log back in, re-attach screen, and it's like you never left.

When I was at uni, I used to have screen running 24/7, as it meant I could login on any machine, re-attach my screen, and have email, MUD, lynx et al instantly accessible, just like that..
Old 06-16-2004, 11:41 PM   #7
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Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Indiana
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agree with most of the above suggestions, BUT, have to put in a plug for my favorite newsreader, slrn
Old 06-17-2004, 06:36 PM   #8
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: --> X <-- You are here.
Distribution: Slackware
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Yes, 'screen', as described, is a pretty good program that allows you to have multiple virtual consoles on one terminal. Sorry about this, I was not very clear in my original post!

As for 'gpm', I never use it, since I think it actually distracts from the console/typing itself. Besides, few console applications are 'gpm' aware. I think 'links' is one exception there.
Old 06-17-2004, 09:07 PM   #9
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Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Argentina (SR, LP)
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Actually GPM is very comfortable to copy & paste text in the console
I usually do a ls to get a package i want to install, then i just doble-click it (highlight the file) then midle click, and magic, don't have to type it :P

Forgot to say that using links with -g option (uses framebuffer) works very good too, it's almost like using a browser on X.

Last edited by gbonvehi; 06-17-2004 at 09:54 PM.
Old 06-17-2004, 09:12 PM   #10
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Registered: Jan 2004
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I have been using my laptop without any GUI for quite some time. I can do just as much as I can on my desktop.

You can also watch videos without X. Mplayer can play videos on the framebuffer.


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