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FIGlet is a command line tool. It’s purpose is to draw nicely formatted big characters. For example, the output of command
figlet debian is:
_ _ _
__| | ___| |__ (_) __ _ _ __
/ _` |/ _ \ ‘_ \| |/ _` | ‘_ \
| (_| | __/ |_) | | (_| | | | |
To get more fancy outputs, FIGlet comes with a set of 18 fonts, and more than 400 fonts are available for download. For example, bubble font writes each character encircled in a bubble, and script font imitates handwriting. You can get the list of installed fonts, along with output samples, with command
showfigfonts. Here is output of
figlet -f script debian:
| | | o
__| _ | | __, _ _
/ | |/ |/ \_| / | / |/ |
\_/|_/|__/\_/ |_/\_/|_/ | |_/
FIGlet stands for
Frank, Ian and Glenn’s LETters, because it was inspired by Frank’s email signature, written (mostly) by Glenn, and Ian helped. First version was written in spring 1991. FIGlet has since become a well known software in (and even outside) the UNIX world, and has been declined in multiple ways, like a XChat, or an Eclipse plug-in, a PHP class, and many web based FIGlets.
People who like to write fun stuff may also be interested in command
banner from package bsdmainutils. It also outputs large characters, but unlike FIGlet, draws them vertically. It was not designed as a fun stuff, but as a way to separate printings documents from each other. Other tools have been designed specifically to write fun stuff. Among them, Cowsay is one of the most worthwhile. Toilet is very similar to FIGlet for Unicode systems. It comes with many new features, such as colour fonts, or HTML and SVG output.
So, FIGlet is a really nice software that will make your emails cool and pleasant. But please, do not overuse it in mailing lists!
FIGlet is available in both Debian and Ubuntu in all distributions.