goplay: discover interesting packages

April 12th, 2009 edited by Vicho

goplay is a package browser that lets you find interesting packages that you didn’t knew before. It uses DebTags (categories to describe Debian packages) to classify the packages. The package comes with some generic browsers:

screenshot of goplay

  • goplay Browse games.
  • goadmin Browse admin packages.
  • golearn Browse educational packages.
  • gonet Browse networking related packages.
  • gooffice Browse office packages, e.g. word processors, spreadsheets, project manager, finance managers, etc.
  • gosafe Browse security packages.
  • goweb Browse packages related with the web.

gonet looking for firewalls You can refine your search by specifying the type of package you are looking for, that is, the specific role it has. For example, gonet (the browser of networking related packages) has the following types: “Client”, “Configuration”, “Firewall”, “High Availability”, “Load Balancing”, “Routing”, “Scaning”, “Server”, “Service” and “VPN or Tunneling”. The screenshot in the right shows gonet browsing firewall packages. When you click on a package on the left pane, the right pane shows a description of the package and the DebTags (in the example, ferm, a recently featured package in this site). If a screenshot for the package is available, it is also shown.

The first and second field for classification are automatically set to “type” and “interface”, but you can change that using the options --primary and --secondary. For example, you can prune the list of packages based on the purpose of the package using the option --secondary=use. You can find more information about the predefined tags (also known as “facets”) in the Debian Wiki.

goplay is available in Debian Lenny and Ubuntu (since Hardy).

Your turn

Have you found an interesting package with goplay? Share it with the community and send us a good article! We’re running out of them!

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu | 11 Comments »

cdargs: a browser for cd

April 5th, 2009 edited by Vicho

We have run out of articles! Please submit good articles about software you like!

cdargs is a command that enhances the good old cd by adding bookmarks and a browser. Sometimes you need to work on directories that are difficult to reach, even with the help of tab-completion (e.g. /var/www/ When you are in one of such directories, just type ca wwwinc and you’ll add a bookmark of the directory with the name wwwinc. Whenever you want to go back to that directory, no matter which is your current working directory, just type cv wwwinc and you’ll be back there. cdargs has tab-completion too and understands subdirectories of bookmarks. In the previous example, typing cv wwwinc/foo will be equivalent to cd /var/www/

cdargs has a browser. Just type cv and cdargs will bring you a list of your bookmarks. You can use the arrow keys (or h, j, k and l if you are used to vim) to navigate the list. When you have selected your final directory hit enter, and you’ll return to the command line, in that directory. You can add new bookmarks by hitting ‘a’ and you can edit your list of bookmarks with your favorite editor hitting ‘e’. With ‘?’ you get a list of all of the available commands in cdargs.

cdargs browser

The bookmarks of cdargs can be extended to other commands. The distribution of cdargs provides examples for the commands cp and mv, under the aliases cpb and mvb. For example, if you want to copy the file bar to the bookmark in the previous example, a quick cpb bar wwwinc will do the trick.

cdargs needs some aliases in the shell to work correctly. If you use the bash shell, you need to add this to your ~/.bashrc:

if [ -e /usr/share/doc/cdargs/examples/ ]; then
  . /usr/share/doc/cdargs/examples/

The aliases are also available for tcsh, but not for zsh. The author is looking for someone who knows zsh shell scripting to write them.

Other alternatives

  • pushd, popd they are useful, but they are stack based and don’t provide any bookmark functionality.
  • CDPATH You can achieve a similar behavior using the shell variable CDPATH, symbolic links and aliasing cv to cd -P. However, the bookmarks are easier to maintain with cdargs and the browser is a nice way to navigate through the filesystem. Moreover, with CDPATH you can’t extend other commands as cdargs does with cp and mv.


cdargs has been in Debian since at least Sarge and in Ubuntu since at least Dapper.

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu | 9 Comments »