Cowsay is a fun and quirky program that generates ASCII pictures of a cow with a message. It can be used in your terminal or in your scripts to display information in a more engaging way. In this article, we’ll delve into how to configure Cowsay, set custom texts, and even change the character that delivers your message.
To configure Cowsay and set custom texts and talks, you can use the
-f option to choose different characters, create your own custom cowfiles, and integrate with other programs like
Before we can start configuring Cowsay, we first need to install it. On a Debian-based system like Ubuntu, you can install Cowsay by running the following command:
sudo apt-get install cowsay
For other operating systems, you can check out the official Cowsay GitHub page for installation instructions.
Basic Usage of Cowsay
To use Cowsay, simply type
cowsay followed by your message in quotes:
cowsay "Hello, world!"
This will display an ASCII cow saying “Hello, world!”.
Changing the Cowfile
Cowsay comes with a variety of “cowfiles”, which are files that define different characters that can deliver your message. To use a different cowfile, use the
-f option followed by the name of the cowfile:
cowsay -f tux "Hello, world!"
This command will display Tux, the Linux penguin, saying “Hello, world!”. To see a list of all available cowfiles, use the
Creating Custom Cowfiles
You can also create your own custom cowfiles. A cowfile is simply a text file that defines the ASCII art for the character. Cowfiles should be placed in the
/usr/share/cowsay/cows directory. For more information on creating custom cowfiles, you can check out this detailed guide.
Using Fortune with Cowsay
For a more dynamic message, you can use the
fortune program in conjunction with Cowsay.
fortune generates random epigrams from a database of quotations. First, you’ll need to install
sudo apt-get install fortune-mod
Then, you can pipe the output of
fortune into Cowsay:
fortune | cowsay
This will display a cow saying a random quote.
Displaying Cowsay Messages at Terminal Startup
If you want to display a Cowsay message every time you start your terminal, you can add a Cowsay command to your terminal’s configuration file. For
bash, this file is
~/.bashrc, and for
~/.zshrc. You can open this file in a text editor with the following command:
Then, add your Cowsay command at the end of the file. For example, to display a random quote with Cowsay at startup, you can add:
fortune | cowsay
Save the file and exit the text editor. The next time you open your terminal, you’ll be greeted with a random Cowsay message.
Cowsay is a fun and versatile tool that can add some personality to your terminal or scripts. With the ability to use different characters and create your own, as well as integrate with other programs like
fortune, the possibilities are endless. Happy configuring!
To change the default cowfile used by Cowsay, you can set the
COWPATH environment variable to the directory containing your desired cowfiles. For example, if you have your custom cowfiles in the directory
~/my-cowfiles, you can run the command
export COWPATH=~/my-cowfiles to set the
COWPATH variable. This will make Cowsay use your custom cowfiles by default.
Yes, you can set a specific cowfile for a single message without changing the default. Simply use the
-f option followed by the name of the cowfile, like this:
cowsay -f tux "Hello, world!". This will make Cowsay use the
tux cowfile to deliver the message "Hello, world!". This way, you can have different characters delivering different messages without modifying the default cowfile.