command line

Split a spreadsheet into multiple files with the GNU/Linux command line

Have you ever wanted to split a spreadsheet into several spreadsheets according to the contents of a particular field? For example, you might have a music tracks spreadsheet with an 'artist name' field, and you want separate spreadsheets for each artist, with the usual field names along the top of each new spreadsheet.

You can split a spreadsheet by copying and pasting the different sections into new spreadsheets if there aren't many records. If there are lots of records, this manual approach can be pretty tiring. For splitting very large spreadsheets, most users turn to special stand-alone programs (in the Excel world) or fairly complicated macros (Excel, Open/LibreOffice Calc).

I split my spreadsheets using the GNU/Linux command line, as explained in this article. It's another of my trademark ugly hacks, but it works well and the command line steps can be combined into a script which runs fast and reliably.

A spreadsheet jukebox

My wife has a huge collection of Scottish country dancing music on her Linux laptop – more than 2000 dance tracks. Details of all tracks are recorded in an OpenOffice Calc spreadsheet.

She asked me, "Could you make the spreadsheet into a jukebox, so that I could do a filtered search for a suitable track, then just click on the track to have it play?" The answer was yes, but it took a while to get there!

Measures on the command line

In an earlier article I promised to demonstrate more 'magic words' for the command line. All you do is open a terminal, enter the magic word, hit Enter – and cool things happen! The magic word this time is units. The GNU Units program isn't installed by default in most Linux distributions, so you'll probably need to install it from your distribution's repository. Also, until you get to know GNU Units, I recommend that you enter units -v (v for verbose) on the command line. This makes the output a little more easy to understand.

The GNU Units program converts quantities from one unit system to another.

Webmin: can a graphical front end for system administration replace the command line?

This article will tell you how to install and use Webmin, a web user interface mainly used for administering servers. If you are not a sysadmin, don't run away: Webmin can also be used on a single desktop too. You may struggle to remember all the command line operations to manage, say, run levels or various daemons and prefer to do it the GUI way. One of the best reasons for using Webmin is to circumvent the sheer number of command line variations from distro to distro and the different locations for configuration files that you would otherwise require to memorize (manpages notwithstanding).

How to completely ditch GUI internet applications for the command line

Today, terminal-based programs have almost disappeared. GUIs are taking over, whether we like it or not. However, there is still a place for the old command line. Take the internet as an example: everyone’s using Firefox, Thunderbird, and Pidgin for their internet activities. Even though these are great, quality, free software apps, they tend to be bloated. That’s where the terminal comes in.

Introduction

The "alias" command

You almost certainly have speed dial set up on your home, office and mobile phone. It saves time, ensures against a failing memory and allows you to work smarter.

Devotees of the command line don’t have to be left out in the cold. One of the crown jewels of GNU/Linux is that every user, be he ne’er so base, has at his or her fingertips the kind of power of which even Caligula could not dream. Alright, I’m exaggerating—a little.

How to take screenshots with Scrot

Screenshots. Where would the internet be without them? They are ubiquitous and when you are researching that latest piece of cool software or the latest ISO of your favourite GNU/Linux distro they are an opportunity to preview the eye candy. There are many ways to make those screenshots and most KDE and Gnome users will be familiar with the GUI tools bundled with them: Ksnapshot for KDE and Take Screenshot for Gnome. They are good at what they do. However, sometimes you just need to take screenshots quick and dirty without the overheads (especially if you are using a lightweight windows manager on a relatively low-spec machine). If that's your case, you can use “Scrot”.

A beginner’s introduction to the GNU/Linux command line, Part II—Managing processes

Your GNU/Linux computer is an amazing machine. It can display images. It can run programs. It can perform dozens of functions all at the same time. How can you keep track of all this activity? By monitoring the processes that your computer runs, and one of the best ways to monitor and control processes is by using the command line.

Learn some command line: using du, df, file, find to make your life easier

I love the command line. If the command line were a dog, it would be a hard-headed labrador: big and somewhat intimidating, but really kind of even-tempered and friendly once she gets to know you.

I just compared the command line to my dog Roscoe. I love them both, and they both frustrate me.

I can't do much with Roscoe, but I can help out a bit with the command line. And so allow me to introduce four of my favorite utilities: df, du, file, and find.

Command line media editing

This last week I've been trying my hand at a bit of DVD authoring and I thought I'd pass on everything that I've found out! A couple of the most useful tools are command line based, hence the title, but I'm also going to talk about a fantastic GUI that brings these bits and pieces together. To my horror, just as I sat down to write this I discovered Mitch Meyran had just posted a very similar blog entry! This post, however, is a bit more command line based and HOWTO-like in structure.

Who needs the command line? (Well, actually, we all do)

As you might have guessed this is going to be a brazen and shameless plug for the command line. I write it to throw in my tuppence-worth after my own Linux experiences. I am also concerned about a new generation of users coming to GNU/Linux without a proper understanding of the underlying reasons for its superiority over Windows but this not a blow by blow comparison.

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