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A whimsical attempt to create a 'try unix in a browser' web application, like,, and the likes. Also a good excuse to deepen my grasp of Python web programming.
branch: master

README.rst - Try Unix (in a browser)


This is a tribute to the over-eagerness, confidence, eerie clarity of mind provided by the early onset of ADHD Meds. I wish I was joking. Combine this with hyperfocus and you get a night well spent writing code you can't even wrap your head around the next day.


This is a rather sad attempt at recreating something like,, and the likes.

It is meant to be every so slightly tongue in cheek, as Unix, while all about the dirty little tools glued together with duct tape, does not exactly fit itself in the lovely, simple, pure, minimalistic philosophy of agile development and Web 2.0, at least not that directly.

I thought something completely stupid like:

"Hey! I love Unix and enjoy sharing my passion for it as well as the knowledge and tidbits I have gathered over the years, hacking at my shell! I also know some Python! I do web servers for a living, hey, I can do websites. And I know for a fact that jquery-console exists and could do this stuff! I'm not very good at JavaScript, but it must not be that hard, no? And I basically know how RESTful web services work, and could probably get away with writing a simple backend to such a console that could emulate a basic Unix system! How hard could it be? I could totally do this!"

And then, the next day the Adderall wore off and I found myself biting my lower lip, looking at the receipt for the purchase of the domain, and the very scarce documentation for WebCore (however the code is very, very readable, so that's not insurmountable). Still, I sat there with a single sentence resonating through my thoughts, as read by some aggravated deity's booming voice:


Hopefully one day, this code will be functional and I can say I'm the creative mastermind behind the piece of crud that is


So far not only is project not even close to functional, but I am pedant enough to list the requirements as they come.


  • Python 2.5+

  • virtualenv is strongly recommended

  • distribute/setuptools (should be pretty standard)

  • A decent web server supporting WSGI

    -- OR --

  • gunicorn behind something like nginx.

Python Modules:


Apart from WebCore (to be safe) there is absolutely no need to install these separately if you are going to use (most likely), as it will pull the required deps for you. I'm merely listing them for clarity's sake.

  • WebCore - Web Framework. Awesome.
  • Genshi - Templating Engine
  • Beaker - Session and Caching library (WSGI Middleware)

Very Hastily Written™ Hacker's Guide to Poking at the Source

  1. $ mkdir ~/.python-envs/
  2. $ virtualenv --distribute --no-site-packages ~/.python-envs/tryunix
  3. $ source ~/.python-envs/tryunix/bin/activate
  4. (tryunix)$ pip install WebCore
  5. (tryunix)$ git clone
  6. (tryunix)$ cd && python develop

You're set. will fetch and install dependencies for you. Run paster serve --reload dev.ini to launch the app, the point your browser at

It should work. At some point. Eventually. But you'll probably staring at broken code and the nastiest tracebacks known to man.

Feel free to fork and contribute once there's some meat there.

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