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Posts tagged xcowsay

xcowsay 1.2

January 5th, 2010

After nearly 18 months I’m releasing a new version of xcowsay! Release 1.2 doesn’t contain any new major features but it does contain a number of bug fixes and small improvements requested by 1.1 users. These include:

  • Fixed bugs relating to multiple monitors: the cow will no longer be spliced across two screens and a new --monitor option forces the cow to appear on a particular monitor.
  • A new --image option allows you to use your own images instead of the cow, letting you do things like this.
  • New --at and --bubble-at options let you change the default position of cow and bubble. Useful if you’re using your own images.
  • The DBus daemon now supports `think’ and `dream’ modes.
  • Supports an XDG compliant config file location, and a new --config option lets you specify additional config files.
  • Lots of minor bug fixes.

Download the source code: xcowsay-1.2.tar.gz.

Did you know xcowsay is now available in Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and several BSD variants? I won’t be providing any distribution-specific packages for this release as yours should hopefully update it soon. You can always build it from source though!

Someone asked if xcowsay could have a --theme option to bundle a custom image with a custom bubble location, etc. This is possible with the new --config option. E.g. create a file my_theme.cfg with your customisations:

alt_image = /path/to/image.png
bubble_x = 5

And run xcowsay with xcowsay --config=my_theme.cfg message.

A couple of bug fixes and improvements didn’t make it into 1.2. These include:

  • The cow and speech bubble have jagged edges which would be improved by
  • Very long strings will disappear off the right-hand side of the
    screen. This could be fixed e.g. by using Pango’s word wrapping.

UPDATE: Now with an updated Portuguese translation!

An alternative application of xcowsay

October 31st, 2009

Recently I had a flirtation with removing all the non-free software from my Debian installs. This didn’t last very long: I got annoyed that I couldn’t watch iplayer with gnash, and blodgett reminded me that I had a copy of Vista running in VirtualBox. Ooops.

However, upon reinstating the non-free repository I installed the vrms package to remind me of my failings. Blodgett suggested vrms might be better implemented as a popup character like clippy. But wait! Doesn’t xcowsay do something very similar?!

Well, xcowsay has a --cow-size option that lets you select from small, medium, and large cow images. This actually just looks for a cow_*.png file, so if we created a cow_rms.png


Here we see Richard Stallman arising from the Humber like some terrible sea monster about to wreak destruction on the propriety software industry of Hull.

If you want to use this yourself just install xcowsay, vrms, and grab these files:

  • cow_rms.png – save this in /usr/share/xcowsay or wherever xcowsay is installed.
  • vrms-xcowsay – a script to invoke xcowsay with the output of vrms. Don’t forget to chmod +x it!

The script is very simple and looks like this:

(printf "I SEE UR USIN NON-FREE SOFTWARES :-(;\n\n"; vrms) \
   | xcowsay --font=monospace --cow-size=rms $*

I’m thinking of adding a --image option to xcowsay 1.2 to make things like this easier.


UPDATE: xcowsay 1.2 now supports this via the --image option.

Minor xcowsay update

October 23rd, 2009

I’ve just uploaded a minor update to xcowsay: xcowsay-1.1.1. This version removes the debian/ package directory as I will no longer be distributed Debian/Ubuntu packages for future versions. This is because xcowsay will hopefully soon be packaged in Debian, and therefore Ubuntu, and they don’t like the debian/ directory in upstream packages. I don’t distribute RPMs either, but you can get these from Mandriva or Fedora if you weren’t aware. Thanks to everyone who’s packaged xcowsay so far!

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since the last xcowsay release! I’m planning to release a 1.2 version sometime in the next few months. This will contain some bug fixes (such as the multi-monitored cow splitting problem), and a few new features (such as word-wrapping text so the speech bubble fits on the screen). Any suggestions for minor improvements appreciated!

UPDATE: Now in OpenBSD too!