st and st: One for numbers, one for … numbers and letters?

I’ve got two programs named “st” on the list, which caused no end of confusion for about an hour today. Oddly, I can’t show much of either one.

The first one comes, yet again, from the suckless.org gang, because everything in the suckless stable starts with the letter S.

Just kidding. In this case st is a simple terminal and unfortunately every rendition — which is quite a few according to the AUR — failed to build for me. Most of those seemed to be from git, so maybe I just grabbed it at the wrong time.

I’m going to keep trying though, mostly because suckless.org usually does things right, and I plan on trying out some of their other toys too.

The other st is a miniature statistics tool, capable of skimming through numbers in a text file and providing some fundamental statistical information — a minimum, maximum, mean, standard deviation and a few other things.

I could build st but I’m not a perl pro, and it only gave me error messages when I tried to kick it into action. I have a feeling I hadn’t put all st’s little important parts in the right places.

The second st isn’t in AUR or Debian, so if you decide to try it out, there might be a little work involved. Not that a little work ever hurt anybody. … 😉

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10 thoughts on “st and st: One for numbers, one for … numbers and letters?

  1. Theodore

    st v0.4.1 works fine on my uglyuntu. Built from source downloaded from suckless.org. Afaik, tho’, it’s a terminal emulator for X11. It’s graphical. Thus, maybe, wasn’t meant to be shared here, even if I run every console-something on it, except for w3m that works for me only on xterm, urxvt or qterminal (maybe it works even on gtk terms, but I have particular needs and I try the least gtk applications as possible 😀 )

    1. Theodore

      (for my statement “w3m works”, imply that w3mimgdisplay has to display things too in the terminal)

    2. K.Mandla Post author

      True, it’s graphical, but I thought I might as well include it since that and its namesake consumed an hour of my day today. And because suckless.org tools are usually quite good.

      I’m surprised that yours built in *buntu but not mine in Arch. I’ll give it another try and see if I’m just missing something important. Cheers. 🙂

  2. blernsballowl

    Curious that it doesn’t build for you. Got an Arch box that builds the latest st from git just fine here. I’ve had the opportunity of building st on a multitude of distros due to a rather intense distro-hopping spree last week (Alpine-edge w/ musl, Bedrock, it goes on and on) – even with musl + tcc, st builds just fine, with no hacks needed. It really doesn’t take much to build it at all.

    The combination of st + tmux has pretty much supplanted every other terminal emulator for me as of late. I remember back when Xft wasn’t so hot on there, way, way back, which was good enough reason to use termite and/or other vte3 things (that pulls in the entirety of GTK3…but that’s another story for another day) with their fancy font rendering via pango. That was in late 2012, and things are much better now, to where I’m comfortable having st replace everything that isn’t doing pure fb + fbterm instead.

    There’s only a couple of pieces of software that *really* gets me excited about using it on a day-to-day basis, and this is definitely one of them. Bloody elegant and simple. All the fluff like scrollback, etc, can be patched in, but tmux seems to do those jobs all too well – I even have it handle clipboard things instead.

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      Something must be screwy in my setup then. None of the versions in AUR got very far before erroring out when compiling. I’ll keep trying and see if I can figure out what is holding me back.

      1. blernsballowl

        Perhaps grabbing it straight from git and running a good old make will do the trick. The great thing about st (and most things suckless) is that they don’t do/need autotools or anything convoluted, so sane people can actually find out why things screw up during build without tearing their hair out within the first hour.

        Although, the PKGBUILDs in the AUR don’t really do anything too different, apart from setting the font to SemiCondensed (which is the default font on xterm) but that should just come with Xorg I believe – the font that is. Apart from that, if you have fontconfig, libxft, libxext, you should be set in terms of libraries.

        In regards to the displaying inline image thing with w3m a couple of comments up, It’s been a hit or miss with st on this end as well. Seems to never work apart from ranger’s image preview sometimes pulling it off properly. I tried everything in order to fix it and the conclusion was that my system must have been haunted by violent poltergeists.

        (In all seriousness, I think the general consensus on the interwebs was that inline images on w3m had always been a terrible hack. )

      2. Theodore

        It depends on your point of view. Clearly sucks less to have a terminal application that uses a text UI and thus displays only text for the UI, and, then, to have this w3m that spawns this subprog that if you’re on the xterm behaves like a X cli and spits out images as xpm, and if you’re in the framebuffer spits out… i don’t even remember… it’s a contradiction and a headache cause.
        Technically speaking, on the other hand, terminals tried to abstractify the graphic specs of an hardware output device, so if your terminal now is enabled to view images rasterized and not, say, converted in ascii coloured chars, then it’s a hack but has its reason to live, because noone has done a VT-something, even if not sold to be dumb terminals, to handle graphics. I don’t remember if terminology did, nor I care, ’cause its “tabs” system uses opengl. LOL
        I use w3m, said this, only because mutt is my fav client and I don’t like neither to switch windows for reading a html email, nor to read it through htmlfmt or html2text (I need, for some of those mails, to acceed comfortably to links or look at images or browse decently tables…).

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  4. usul

    In Debian, st is packaged as “stterm”. I used to use it, but found the lack of scrollback… disturbing. On Debian, I installed st’s dependencies first with “apt-get build-dep st”, and then built it from the suckless.org source code. Hope that helps, and thanks for the great blog!

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