Linux/Unix desktop fun: Simulates the display from “The Matrix”

in Categories Command Line Hacks, Howto last updated January 3, 2018

The Matrix is a science fiction action movie from 1999. It was written and directed by the Wachowski Brothers. The film has falling green characters on screen. The digital rain is representing the activity of the virtual reality in “The Matrix.” You can now have Matrix digital rain with CMatrix on a Linux or Unix terminal too.

Install cmatrix

Install and setup CMatrix as per your Linux/Unix version.

How to install cmatrix on a Debian/Ubuntu Linux

Type the following apt-get command/apt command on a Debian/Ubuntu/Mint Linux:
$ sudo apt install cmatrix
Sample outputs:

[sudo] password for vivek: 
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Suggested packages:
  cmatrix-xfont
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  cmatrix
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 15.8 kB of archives.
After this operation, 50.2 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 http://in.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu artful/universe amd64 cmatrix amd64 1.2a-5build2 [15.8 kB]
Fetched 15.8 kB in 0s (19.7 kB/s)
Selecting previously unselected package cmatrix.
(Reading database ... 205388 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../cmatrix_1.2a-5build2_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking cmatrix (1.2a-5build2) ...
Setting up cmatrix (1.2a-5build2) ...
Processing triggers for man-db (2.7.6.1-2) ...

How to install cmatrix on an Arch Linux

Type the following pacman command:
$ sudo pacman -S cmatrix

How to install cmatrix on a FreeBSD system

To install the port run:
# cd /usr/ports/misc/cmatrix/ && make install clean
OR add the binary package using the pkg command
# pkg install cmatrix

How to install cmatrix on a macOS Unix

Type the following brew command:
$ brew install cmatrix

How to install cmatrix on a OpenBSD

Type the following pkg_add command:
# pkg_add cmatrix

Using cmatrix

Simply type the command:
$ cmatrix

cmtarix in action
cmtarix in action

Using keyboard

The following keystrokes are available during execution (unavailable in -s mode):

KEYSTROKESDescription
a Toggle asynchronous scroll
b Random bold characters
B All bold characters
n Turn off bold characters
0-9 Adjust update speed
! @ # $ % ^ & ) Change the color of the matrix to the corresponding color: ! – red, @ –
green, # – yellow, $ – blue, % – magenta, ^ – cyan, & – white, ) – black.
q Quit the program

You can pass the following option to the cmatrix command:
$ cmatrix -h
Sample outputs:

-a: Asynchronous scroll
 -b: Bold characters on
 -B: All bold characters (overrides -b)
 -f: Force the linux $TERM type to be on
 -l: Linux mode (uses matrix console font)
 -o: Use old-style scrolling
 -h: Print usage and exit
 -n: No bold characters (overrides -b and -B, default)
 -s: "Screensaver" mode, exits on first keystroke
 -x: X window mode, use if your xterm is using mtx.pcf
 -V: Print version information and exit
 -u delay (0 - 10, default 4): Screen update delay
 -C [color]: Use this color for matrix (default green)

You now have the coolest terminal app!

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

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