Getting more out of your Linux servers with moreutils

I accidentally came across the moreutils package a few years back and the day I did my life changed forever. This package contains some killer utilities and fill some nice gaps in the *NIX tool chain. Here is a list of the binaries in this package (descriptions taken from the man page of each utility):

chronic - runs a command quietly unless it fails
combine - combine sets of lines from two files using boolean operations
errno - look up errno names and descriptions
ifdata - get network interface info without parsing ifconfig output
ifne - Run command if the standard input is not empty
isutf8 - check whether files are valid UTF-8
lckdo - run a program with a lock held
mispipe - pipe two commands, returning the exit status of the first
pee - tee standard input to pipes
sponge - soak up standard input and write to a file
ts - timestamp input
vidir - edit directory
vipe - edit pipe
zrun - automatically uncompress arguments to command

I’m especially fond of errno, chronic and pee. But my favorite utilities have to be ifne and ts. Ifne is useful if you need to run a command if output is present. One such use is e-mailing someone if a monitoring program spits out an error:

$ hardware_monitor | mail -s "Problem detected with the hardare on $(/bin/hostname)" admins

The ts utility is just as useful. Say you have a program that randomly spits out lines of gik and you want to know when the lines of gik occurred. To get a timestamp you can pipe the programs output to ts:

$ gik_generator | ts

Nov 02 09:55:11 The world needs more cow bell!
Nov 02 09:55:12 The world needs more cow bell!
Nov 02 09:55:13 The world needs more cow bell!

I love coming across tools that make troubleshooting and shell scripting more enjoyable. Now we just need more cow bell!

This article was posted by Matty on 2016-11-09 15:35:00 -0400 -0400