My cool linux console box


This is bubblehead. It’s an AMD Easy Now PC that was sold in the mid to late 90’s. It’s maxed out with an AMD K6 processor and 256mb of RAM. I really like this little collector peice so I decided to make it as useful as possible. I was inspired by a small linux distro named INX. I like INX but it is geared towards being instructional, or as a tutorial and I wanted a more useable and functional box. So I stole a bunch of scripts and ideas from INX and built this box. I loaded a basic installation of debian etch on it and a bunch of useful console apps like mplayer-nogui, calcurse, links2, sc, mutt, and a bunch of other stuff. The drab black background on a linux console was annoying me so I went out and swiped the latest Morphix kernel and installed it and bootsplash. Now my linux console has a nifty wallpaper (that I also snargled from the web). Oh sure, I could have compiled a kernel and enabled splash image support, but why go to all that trouble when you can just download and install one and change the graphic. 🙂


I installed screen and dvtm so I could run virtual terminals. I always like to keep my IM client going when I’m online so I installed naim. BTW, you can click on any of these thumbnails to get a bigger picture. Here’s a screenshot of dvtm running 3 virtual terminals. In the upper left I’m streaming nasa tv, in the upper right is the IM client and in the bottom terminal is links2 with titan tv loaded so I can check out what’s on tv.


Contrary to popular belief, you can watch movies and display graphics in the linux console without x windows. you can see in the screenshot above, I’m streaming nasa tv using mplayer-nogui. Here’s a shot of links2 doing a google search for sailboat sunsets.


I wouldn’t want to have to use this box as my main PC. Links2 is a good console browser, but I need flash and all that other good stuff to make my websurfing experience more enjoyable. This is a great little box for what I use it for though. I have a cron job set up on it so that it fires up a playlist of some good salsa music at full volume every weekday morning at 6:45, so it’s my alarm clock too. It also opens a “good morning” script that I wrote that opens a few virtual terminals in screen with my IM client, stock quotes, the dow futures, alsa mixer, a radio script that I stole and modified from INX to stream different radio stations, and my mail (via mutt). The screenshot below is that “good morning” screen that opens. You can see that it is a split screen with my IM on the bottom and my stock quotes in the top screen. The other terminals that are open are listed at the very bottom of the screen and can be accessed by typing crtl+a and the number of the terminal. Whatever I choose is then displayed in the top section.


All in all, I am happy with bubblehead. It’s a very capable box, and pretty speedy since it’s not having to labor under x windows. I like the transparancy with the background image showing through in all of my applications and it does everything that I need that computer to do. I’ll leave you with a few more screenshots of Mutt (mail), calcurse (a calendar/appointment application) and a shot of the bootup/login screen.


One Response to “My cool linux console box”

  1. hi there, i would like to set something similar up on my linux box and have been having trouble finding info. i can find lots on enabling framebuffer support, but nothing on actually using it. my distro comes with the framebuffer already enabled, so i just need to know how to use it. any chance of putting a few tips on your blog? how do i set a background image on my console?

    – thanks

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