Tag Archives: internet

pjsua: Looks good, sounds … well …

This will be short: I have a screenshot for pjsua, but I think that might be all I can offer on it.


pjsua is a command-line SIP client — in other words, a software phone.

Personally I put things like this in the same mental box with Skype or Ekiga or linphone. I’m ashamed to say that Skype is the only one of those three I have used beyond a cursory startup, and I quit it not long after the Microsoft takeover. Not that my decision was related, but. …

Anyway, pjsua appears to have plenty of options to run your online phone needs. I have to say “appears” because I don’t have a SIP number that I know of, except perhaps via my GMail account, and I thought that was only available to U.S. residents. Or at least that’s what it told me last time I checked.

I can’t say if this is better than linphone, but suspect pjsua is a little more technical than linphone. Of course, to be honest, I’ve used both linphone and pjsua about the same amount of time, so what do I know … ? 😕

Regardless, I’m betting either one is better than Skype.

So my unfortunate brief encounter with pjsua boils down to, “Looks good, probably sounds good too.” 😐

ysm: At the end of the day

Believe it or not, ysm is at the end of my list for the Y section, meaning there are only a handful of programs left from my original list, collected so many years ago.

Unfortunately, the Y section was a hit-or-miss affair, with some real winners, but with some who failed to show. ysm is unfortunately going to fall into that bracket.

I did the best I could with it — I even signed on for a new ICQ number, just to be sure I wasn’t dragging along any baggage from previous accounts — but this was the best I saw.


Two or three times it halted in exactly the same place, which leads me to believe there is some sort of technical inconsistency at work here. If you can clue me in, please do.

ysm has a shortlist of features to boast of, but I can’t vouch for any of them. Personally, considering that the newest source bundle has internal timestamps of 2007, I have a feeling it has just fallen away, and lacking attention has gone stale. We all get old and then we can’t hack it any more. That’s your theory.

And that’s where the Y section comes to a close. No recap post this time; I gave every title I had the best attention I could afford, and nothing fell into the aforementioned automatic dismissals. Rare, that is.

Still, a rash of less-than-performing titles were in this section. At the end of the day, Y titles were no more promising than other sections. :\

xaric: The simple client with pretty colors

xaric won my heart as soon as I read the first paragraph of the home page — where the author describes it as a simple client with pretty colors.


That wouldn’t really do any justice to xaric though. For what I’ve seen of the dozens and dozens of text-based chat clients available, xaric has a few noteworthy points.

For one thing, I notice that xaric allows you to set quite a few environment variables — most notably IRCSERVER, IRCNICK and IRCHOST — as a means of controlling your nickname, default server and so forth. I don’t know why that strikes me as unusual, but I liked it.

And of course you can set some of those as command line flags when you invoke xaric, but it also makes things like randomizing your nickname a little easier.

The home page also insists that xaric is a fork (blend?) of both bitchx and ircii, which might account for its simplicity as well as its colorfulness. I can’t tell you exactly what was inherited from either; I don’t use IRC enough to know what to look for.

But I’m willing to take it on its word. It has pretty colors. It seems fairly simple. And the man page gives just enough information to be helpful, without becoming an obstacle. (Sometimes I think man page writers enjoy reading their own work. 🙄 )

So I can recommend xaric on the same grounds it was referred to me — it’s a simple client, with pretty colors. For some of us, that might be more than enough. 😉

netrik: Almost the ultralight-est

The words “light” and “browser” usually don’t go together, but in the case of netrik, they certainly do.


netrik might be the least intrusive and quickest text-based browser out there. If it didn’t offer to move between pages by “clicking” links, I’d think it was a pager.

Color is good, although not necessarily true to the original page design … as you can see.

Character support might be where it falls short; as you can also see, curly quotes and similar glyphs are rendered as numbered sequences. Not a dealbreaker, but somewhat annoying. It does that for me in X too.

I can see where, on extremely low-end hardware, netrik would be an ideal browser solution — even perhaps better than something more full-featured, like elinks.

Given the fact that it can apparently be assembled with little more than readline as a dependency, it’s in the running for ultralight-est text-based browser.

It’s got tough competition in this though:

curl inconsolation.wordpress.com | dehtml -p -s | less

If you can call that a browser, I guess. … 🙄

links and lynx: Do things your way

I won’t spend too much time with links or lynx, mostly because I think most people know about them. But also because I’ve been through them several times before.

2013-12-25-lv-r1fz6-links 2013-12-25-lv-r1fz6-lynx

The choice is purely your own; if you want to browse text-only, you have a lot of options available to you. links and lynx are just two of them.

Each has its own style and presentation; lynx appears to handle colors well, but links is not trapped in black-and-white, either.

Each one is speedy and faithful to text displays, and if that’s what you need from a text-based browser, your life might be complete on that note.

Web jockeys in the post-2.0 era will insist that very little gets done without AJAX or Flash 10.X or embedded 1080p video playback, but at the risk of mincing words, I think that’s a load of crap.

Use whatever gets the job done for you. I can breeze through my GMail accounts in a third of the time with either links or lynx, as it takes with Firefox 26.0011, a/k/a Firefox The Pudge.

Point being, don’t let any screwball Internet pundit tell you text-based browsing is passé. Being a screwball Internet pundit is passé, if anything is. 😈

linphone: Deserving of more attention

Another one for the category of “must try later:” linphone.


I believe this is primarily a graphical program, but as you can see it does have a console-only mode.

I can’t vouch for sound quality at all; in fact, I can’t even vouch that it works.

Call it a logistical issue, but I don’t have a second person online that I can test it with, in the immediate future. 😕

So it may be a few weeks before I can actually try it out fully. But I intend to.

At present, if I need Skype-like services, I unfortunately use Skype. And while it is more or less the gold standard for Internet voice, I am not a huge fan.

If linphone can provide a similar function at or around the same quality, I’d be overjoyed to switch. More news at 11.

ircII: The classic, as advertised

ircII is a name that keeps echoing around every time I install an IRC client. Invariably something claims its heritage as, or compares itself to, ircII.

Which made me rather curious to put it to work.


And it’s … well, just as I expected, I suppose. If I stripped away the visual elements of something like epic4/5 or erc, or the colorized arrangements of irssi, or just about any other frill from something like bitchx or frequency or what have you … well, I suppose I’d end up with ircII.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. ircII starts up fine, has most of the command-line options you’d expect, and as advertised, jumps straight into irc.debian.org, and starts spilling the beans.

ircII seems to have a few derivatives available, as evidenced by a quick AUR search. I doubt that list is comprehensive.

A small measure of irony again though: My efforts to build straight ircII in Arch were met with errors. Perhaps one of the offshoots would fare better.

Beyond that, there’s not much I can offer in advice for ircII. It is, as advertised, the classic. Perhaps that’s enough.

erc: Depends on what you already use

Not being a fervent emacs or vim fan, I find things like erc quite entertaining.


“From deep within the gurgling maw of emacs, comes … an embedded IRC client!” Nifty.

I can’t say I’m going to rush out and convert to the Evangelical Church of Emacs as a result, but it’s clever to think you can watch an IRC channel from within a text editor.

erc, by all rights, seems to behave like most other IRC clients, whether that’s irssi or epic* or bitchx or what have you.

And I suppose I should expect that. Client aside, the underlying arrangements for relay chat services are mostly the same, for what I’ve seen.

So the real benefit in using erc over any of the others, is probably that it’s meshed with emacs. Which will save you a terminal window or an extra shell process, if you’re already running it.

Of course, if you’re not a regular emacs user, erc is probably the least appealing of IRC clients, for a similar reason: It will require running an extra application in the background, just to get to erc.

So really, it depends on what you’re already using, doesn’t it? 😉