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.\" cowsay.1
.\" $Id: cowsay.1,v 1.4 1999/11/04 19:50:40 tony Exp $
.\" This file is part of cowsay. (c) 1999 Tony Monroe.
.ds Nm Cowsay
.ds nm cowsay
.ds Vn 3.02
.TH \*(nm 1 "$Date: 1999/11/04 19:50:40 $"
\*(nm/cowthink \- configurable speaking/thinking cow (and a bit more)
.RB [ \-e
.IR eye_string ]
.RB [ \-f
.IR cowfile ]
.RB [ \-h ]
.RB [ \-l ]
.RB [ \-n ]
.RB [ \-T
.IR tongue_string ]
.RB [ \-W
.IR column ]
.RB [ \-bdgpstwy ]
.I Cowsay
generates an ASCII picture of a cow saying something provided by the
user. If run with no arguments, it accepts standard input, word-wraps
the message given at about 40 columns, and prints the cow saying the
given message on standard output.
To aid in the use of arbitrary messages with arbitrary whitespace,
use the
.B \-n
option. If it is specified, the given message will not be
word-wrapped. This is possibly useful if you want to make the cow
think or speak in figlet(6). If
.B \-n
is specified, there must not be any command-line arguments left
after all the switches have been processed.
.B \-W
specifies roughly (where the message should be wrapped. The default
is equivalent to
.B \-W 40
i.e. wrap words at or before the 40th column.
If any command-line arguments are left over after all switches have
been processed, they become the cow's message. The program will not
accept standard input for a message in this case.
There are several provided modes which change the appearance of the
cow depending on its particular emotional/physical state. The
.B \-b
option initiates Borg mode;
.B \-d
causes the cow to appear dead;
.B \-g
invokes greedy mode;
.B \-p
causes a state of paranoia to come over the cow;
.B \-s
makes the cow appear thoroughly stoned;
.B \-t
yields a tired cow;
.B \-w
is somewhat the opposite of
.BR \-t ,
and initiates wired mode;
.B \-y
brings on the cow's youthful appearance.
The user may specify the
.B \-e
option to select the appearance of the cow's eyes, in which case
the first two characters of the argument string
.I eye_string
will be used. The default eyes are 'oo'. The tongue is similarly
configurable through
.B \-T
.IR tongue_string ;
it must be two characters and does not appear by default. However,
it does appear in the 'dead' and 'stoned' modes. Any configuration
done by
.B \-e
.B \-T
will be lost if one of the provided modes is used.
.B \-f
option specifies a particular cow picture file (``cowfile'') to
use. If the cowfile spec contains '/' then it will be interpreted
as a path relative to the current directory. Otherwise, cowsay
will search the path specified in the
environment variable.
To list all cowfiles on the current
.B \*(nm
with the
.B \-l
If the program is invoked as
.B cowthink
then the cow will think its message instead of saying it.
A cowfile is made up of a simple block of
.BR perl (1)
code, which assigns a picture of a cow to the variable
.BR $the_cow .
Should you wish to customize the eyes or the tongue of the cow,
then the variables
.B $eyes
.B $tongue
may be used. The trail leading up to the cow's message balloon is
composed of the character(s) in the
.B $thoughts
variable. Any backslashes must be reduplicated to prevent
interpolation. The name of a cowfile should end with
.BR .cow ,
otherwise it is assumed not to be a cowfile. Also, at-signs (``@'')
must be backslashed because that is what Perl 5 expects.
What older versions? :-)
Version 3.x is fully backward-compatible with 2.x versions. If
you're still using a 1.x version, consider upgrading. And tell me
where you got the older versions, since I didn't exactly put them
up for world-wide access.
Oh, just so you know, this manual page documents version \*(Vn of
The COWPATH environment variable, if present, will be used to search
for cowfiles. It contains a colon-separated list of directories,
much like
.B PATH or
It should always contain the
.B /usr/local/share/cows
directory, or at least a directory with a file called
.B default.cow
in it.
.B %PREFIX%/share/cows
holds a sample set of cowfiles. If your
is not explicitly set, it automatically contains this directory.
If there are any, please notify the author at the address below.
Tony Monroe (, with suggestions from Shannon
Appel (appel@CSUA.Berkeley.EDU) and contributions from Anthony Polito
perl(1), wall(1), nwrite(1), figlet(6)