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Reimplementation of fortune in Nim


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A reimplementation of the Unix fortune program in Nim. Displays randomly selected quotes from files provided to it.


nfortune uses the same file formats and some of the same command line switches as fortune-mod 1.99.1. Nevertheless, it offers some extra functionality, while omitting some of the functionality present in fortune-mod. Some of the differences are:

  • It can operate without pre-generated .dat files. If they are missing, it can generate them dynamically in memory, which is fairly viable on a modern computer.
  • nfortune does not ship with a fortune database. It also does not have the -o offensive switch, as it has no offensive fortunes to pick from.
  • Fortune database path can be supplied by an environment variable (NFORTUNE_DATABASE)
  • .dat files can be generated with the same binary, using the --datfile switch.
  • Output from some of the more esoteric switches, like -f (list files), is different
  • The algorithm which randomly picks which file will be used is different
  • nfortune is (probably) slightly slower than the fortune-mod fortune command


On NixOS

If you are using the experimental Nix version with flakes support, you can use nfortune's flake at github:DeeUnderscore/nfortune.

Building locally

nfortune can be built on Linux systems using Nimble. If you've installed Nim the usual way, you should have nimble available. Simply obtain the code (such as by cloning the nfortune repository), change to its directory, and then, to compile in debug mode:

$ nimble build 

This will produce a nfortune binary in the current directory.

To compile and install (into the Nimble bin directory) in release mode:

$ nimble install 

Provided you have Nim and Nimble configured the usual way (ie, you have the Nimble bin/ directory added to PATH), you should now be able to issue nfortune on the command line.

Keep in mind that although nfortune uses the same fortune database path as fortune-mod by default, it does not ship with fortune (cookie) files. You will have to supply them yourself (you can use fortune-mod's database).

nfortune has not been tested on other operating systems.


nfortune behaves similarly but not identically to the fortune command from fortune-mod. For details, please see the manual at doc/nfortune.6.rst. This document can also be built into a manual page, using rst2man from the Docutils package.

Example usage:

$ echo 'Hello world!\n%\nGreetings!' > hello
$ nfortune hello
$ nfortune hello
Hello world!

Related projects

nfortune is inspired by fortune-mod, an updated version of which is available at


nfortune is available under the ISC license: see LICENSE.

The project Github repository is at