The Tao of Unix Programming (Ruby-powered ANSI fortunes)
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LICENSE GPLv3 Jun 25, 2018 support Sep 9, 2018
screenshot.png Add screenshot Jul 4, 2016
taoup More Snowden Sep 16, 2018
taoup-fortune Add $@ to taoup-fortune Apr 6, 2018

TAO (The Art) of Unix Programming (and related systemic epiphanies)

This is a ruby-powered, ANSI-enabled, fortune-like program to espouse wisdom at opportune moments, such as when you log in.

It's mostly a personal collection, but contributions are welcome.

To get it running, make sure you have ruby and gem installed, then run: gem install ansi

After that, it should work fine, as long as you use a black terminal (who doesn't?).


Getting wisdom at login

To display taoup output at login, use the taoup-fortune example script or try adding something similar in your .profile.

Special modes

There are four modes other than standard invocation:

  • --help or --h shows brief command line help on invocation syntax
  • --whitetrash converts the otherwise attractive color scheme to be legible on light or white terminals
  • --machine drops any ANSI colors from the output (also respects NO_COLOR environment variable, see
  • --fortune converts the wisdom to an assumed imitation of the fortune format. To make the resulting fortune format file available to the classic fortune program (loses ANSI colors in output) you can run strfile as follows:
taoup --fortune >taoup-fortunes
strfile taoup-fortunes taoup-fortunes.dat
fortune taoup-fortunes

Praise for taoup

  • "Taoup is in my zshrc startup, it’s consistently fun/intelligent/thoughtful. Thanks for the continued maintenance 👍, cheers." @ronjouch
  • We are now the top ranked fortune implementation on Github. Spread the word!