ncurses-examples: Hidden gems

A few weeks ago when I spun past bs, a rendition of the classic pen-and-paper Battleship game for the console, I learned that bs is occasionally included as part of the keystone ncurses package.

I have yet to see a distro that didn’t have ncurses at least available, and yet if you install ncurses as a library — ncurses in Arch, libncurses5 in Debian — you don’t get bs. In fact, there’s a lot you don’t get. For example, blue, which is short for Blue Moon:


Which is a rather unusual solitaire game, which deviates from the classic vertical arrangement you might know. (There are so many solitaire variants it could take a whole blog to learn and look through them.)

And here’s gdc, the Great Digital Clock:


That’s not an artifact; gdc scrolls its numbers into place, which is a neat effect. I better tell the tty-clock gang about that.

There’s a Towers of Hanoi game.


And a digital puzzle of the Knight’s Tour.


And there’s a fullscreen analog clock called tclock, which would be a worthy addition to the screensaver arsenal if it didn’t occasionally flash from black to blue. 😕


And a couple of utilities, including view, which works like a pager crossed with a magnifying tool.


You can also find color versions of worms, which you might remember from a few months ago, and rain, which we talked about at the start of spring. If you’re into fireworks, there is a very rudimentary firework program, and even an old, old digital Christmas card. O_o 😐

The majority of what you’ll find in ncurses-examples is really just tools for testing or demonstrating the package. I was able to compile this from scratch in Arch with no problems; I expect it’s even easier with Debian’s prepackaged version.

Probably a number of these titles were worthy of including individually, but nothing here is particularly new, and some of it has dates as far back as the 1990s. So while bs got special attention, you should probably pick around in that package and see what is available. There’s no telling what hidden gems you’ll find. 😉