pv: Why won’t you talk to me?

One of the things that I remember being excited about when I started tinkering with Ubuntu all those years ago, was the sheer volume of new, free toys to play with.

There are, after all, some amazing, amazing tools available in Linux, and not just at the command line. Some of them just make your heart leap with joy as soon as you try them out.

Others … well, they’re useful, but they’re far from electrifying. For example:

kmandla@lv-r1fz6: ~/temp$ ls -lha
total 4.1G
drwxr-xr-x  2 kmandla users 4.0K Mar 19 14:25 .
drwxr-xr-x 27 kmandla users 4.0K Mar 19 15:07 ..
-rw-r--r--  1 kmandla users 4.0G Mar 19 13:15 sample-01.txt

kmandla@lv-r1fz6: ~/temp$ cp sample-01.txt /dev/null

And it sits there. And sits there. And sits there. With no clue as to what’s going on or what is happening, as if suddenly stricken dumb.

Now this on the other hand, is much better:


See that? Why is it so hard for cp or one of the other core Unix-ish tools to just tell me what the heck is going on? I’m looking at you, dd. And mv.

This is not a new complaint. I have mentioned this before, with things like AdvancedCopy. Just a little clue as to what is going on in your head, computer. That’s all I want.

The beauty of pv, which is what’s working in the screenshot, is that it is very flexible. You can use it for progress bars on compression or decompression, network transfers, erasing floppy disks, spilling files into /dev/null … you name it.

You can even dump it into dialog, and give yourself a proper screenful of blue-and-red progress indicators … a la MS-DOS6.22 or something. 😉

You’ll have to take a look at the help pages to see how the finer points are worked, but I’m sure you can handle it in its basic form. My best advice is to think of pv like cat, but smarter.

Now if only I could get a petition signed to have pv incorporated into the standard tools. … Ha! 😆

2 thoughts on “pv: Why won’t you talk to me?

  1. Pingback: pydf: Disk space, in color | Inconsolation

  2. Pingback: cv: The coreutils viewer | Inconsolation

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