Thu February 2, 2006 10:52:29 PM EST
Big Bad, Small Good

Two pieces of software I've recently gotten running:

First, OpenOffice: This took literally days to build. OK, granted, I'm running on a laptop, and it's not always awake, but over 24 woken hours passed and fink was still building away at it. And what do I get when it's finally finished? A Microsoft Office work-alike that's actually slightly more unsightly from being written in Java. All I really needed was a program to replace Excel for the ten minutes a week it takes to do my timesheet.

Second, screen: Holy crap, I can't believe I went this long without this kick-ass little tool! Ever find yourself cursing and gnashing your teeth because when you physically get disconnected from a remote machine, you lose all your context (windows, jobs, emacs sessions)? If you run it as a screen session, you can just calmly reestablish the connection, and type 'screen -r' to resume your session, right where you left off!

And that's not even its main feature (just the one that endears it to me the most). The best description I've heard is this:

Screen is a window manager for text mode.

You can set up a bunch of different "windows", have output going to them simultaneously, switch between them in your terminal (emulator, these days), split the screen between a couple, and even detach and have the output keep going (which rocks for running server-type processes and catching the output).

Big apps: 0 Small apps: 1