Posted on dev.
Originally published at deepu.tech.
Rust is taking over the terminal. Rust is a general-purpose programming language that is blazing fast and memory safe. It is the fastest-growing and most loved programming language in the world. It is used to build everything from operating systems to web servers to command-line tools. Recently there has been a surge of command line tools and utilities written in Rust, and many of them are intended to replace standard Unix commands. They are faster, more user-friendly, and have more features than their standard Unix counterparts. In this post, I will cover some of the best Rust command line tools I have used for a while. You can also use these to supercharge your terminal.
These tools are available for both Linux and macOS. I have not tested them on Windows, but most should also work on Windows. I recommend aliasing the commands to replace the standard commands based on your preferences. If you have Cargo, the rust package manager, you can install all these using Cargo.
Let us start with the terminal itself. Alacritty is a cross-platform modern terminal emulator with sensible defaults. It is GPU accelerated, super fast, and highly configurable. You can use it on Linux, macOS, and Windows. It doesn’t have much in terms of a UI, and hence all configurations are done through YAML files. I don’t use it as my primary terminal as I love Yakuake too much for all its cool features. We can get most of those features (tabs, split panes, dropdown mode) using tmux and tdrop if really needed. I use Alacrity when I need speed and GPU acceleration. There is an excellent tutorial on using Alacritty with tmux. You could also use Zellij, a modern terminal multiplexer written in Rust, with Alacritty.
There is also the Warp terminal, but it is not open source. It is a great terminal, but I prefer open source software. Thanks to Fran Sancisco for the suggestion.
# Arch Linux yay -S alacritty # Fedora/CentOS dnf copr enable atim/alacritty dnf install alacritty # Debian/Ubuntu add-apt-repository ppa:aslatter/ppa apt install alacritty # macOS Homebrew brew install --cask alacritty # Windows Scoop scoop bucket add extras scoop install alacritty # Cargo on any cargo install alacritty
Starship is the best terminal prompt I have ever used. Forget Oh My Zsh and stuff like that. Starship is fast, highly customizable, and has a great default theme and settings. I didn’t even change most of the default settings, as things were perfect as it is. Starship works on shells like zsh, fish, and bash and can also work alongside other prompts like Oh My Zsh, in case you still want to use Oh My Zsh for other plugins like autosuggestions and so on. Starship works best with a Nerd Font as it can show icons and ligatures based on context. I used Oh My Zsh for many years with the powerlevel10k theme, but the prompt was a bit slow. Starship is blazing fast with more features and an excellent UX.
# Arch Linux yay -S starship # Fedora/CentOS dnf install starship # Debian/Ubuntu curl -sS https://starship.rs/install.sh | sh # macOS/Linux Homebrew brew install starship # macOS MacPorts port install starship # Windows Scoop scoop install starship # Cargo cargo install starship --locked
bat is one of my favorite tools from this list. It’s a replacement for
cat, and once you have used
bat, you will never go back. It provides features like syntax highlight, line numbers, Git change highlight, shows special chars, paging, and so on. It is super fast and looks beautiful. I have aliased
bat immediately after trying it for the first time. By default, bat behaves similarly to
less by paging large output, but that can be disabled to make it work precisely like
cat. It can be used as a drop-in replacement for
cat even in scripts.
bat can also be used as a previewer for fzf. It can also be combined with many other commands and tools like
git, among others, to add syntax highlighting to outputs. Syntax highlighting themes are configurable.
# Arch Linux yay -S bat # Fedora/CentOS dnf install bat # Debian/Ubuntu apt install bat # macOS/Linux Homebrew brew install bat # macOS MacPorts port install bat # Windows Scoop scoop install bat # Cargo cargo install bat --locked
LSD and exa
Both LSD and exa are replacements for the
ls command. They both look gorgeous with nice colors and icons and have features like headers, sorting, tree views, and so on. Exa is a bit faster than LSD for tree views and can show the Git status of files and folders. I prefer exa due to the Git support and faster tree views. I have set up my
ls alias to use exa by default. Both can be configured to show custom columns and sorting behaviors.
# Arch Linux yay -S exa # Fedora/CentOS dnf install exa # Debian/Ubuntu apt install exa # macOS Homebrew brew install exa # Cargo cargo install exa # Alias ls to exa alias ls='exa --git --icons --color=always --group-directories-first'
# Arch Linux yay -S lsd # Fedora/CentOS dnf install lsd # Debian/Ubuntu dpkg -i lsd_0.23.1_amd64.deb # get .deb file from https://github.com/Peltoche/lsd/releases # macOS Homebrew brew install lsd # macOS MacPorts port install lsd # Windows Scoop scop install lsd # Cargo cargo install lsd # Alias ls to lsd alias ls='lsd --header --color=always --group-directories-first'
rip is an improved version of the
rm command. It is faster, safer, and user-friendly. rip sends deleted files to a temp location so they can be recovered using
rip -u. I really like the simplicity and the revert feature, as I don’t have to worry about accidentally deleting something using
rm. While rip can be aliased to replace
rm, the creators advise not doing that as you might get used to it and do
rm on other systems where you cannot revert the delete.
# Arch Linux yay -S rm-improved # Fedora/CentOS/Debian/Ubuntu # Install from binary or build locally using Cargo # macOS Homebrew brew install rm-improved # Cargo cargo install rm-improved
xcp is a partial clone of the
cp command. It is faster and more user-friendly with progress bars, parallel copying,
.gitignore support, and so on. I like its simplicity and developer experience, especially the progress bars. I have aliased
xcp so I can use it everywhere.
# Arch Linux yay -S xcp # Fedora/CentOS/Debian/Ubuntu/macOS # Install from binary or build locally using Cargo # Cargo cargo install xcp # Alias cp to xcp alias cp='xcp'
zoxide is a smarter
cd replacement. It remembers the directories you visit, and you can jump to them without providing a full path. You can provide partial paths or even a word from the path. When there are similar paths, zoxide offers an interactive selection using fzf. It is super fast and works with all major shells. I like how it works, and I have aliased
z so I can use it everywhere.
# Arch Linux yay -S zoxide # Fedora/CentOS dnf install zoxide # Debian/Ubuntu apt install zoxide # macOS/Linux Homebrew brew install zoxide # macOS MacPorts port install zoxide # Windows Scoop scoop install zoxide # Cargo cargo install zoxide --locked
Once installed, you must add the following to your shell config file. For other shells, refer the docs
# bash (~/.bashrc) eval "$(zoxide init bash)" # zsh (~/.zshrc) eval "$(zoxide init zsh)" # fish (~/.config/fish/config.fish) zoxide init fish | source # Alias cd to z alias cd='z'
Dust is an alternative for the
du command. It is fast and has a better UX with nice visualization for disk usage.
# Arch Linux yay -S dust # Fedora/CentOS # Install binary from https://github.com/bootandy/dust/releases # Debian/Ubuntu deb-get install du-dust # macOS Homebrew brew install dust # macOS MacPorts port install dust # Windows Scoop scoop install dust # Cargo cargo install du-dust
ripgrep (rg) is a line-oriented search tool that recursively searches your current directory for a regex pattern. It is faster than
grep and has many features like compressed files search, colorized output, smart case, file type filtering, multi-threading, and so on. It understands
.gitignore files and skips hidden and ignored files. Here is a feature comparison with other similar tools, and yes, it is faster than all the other tools in the list.
# Arch Linux yay -S ripgrep # Fedora/CentOS dnf install ripgrep # Debian/Ubuntu apt-get install ripgrep # macOS/Linux Homebrew brew install ripgrep # macOS MacPorts port install ripgrep # Windows Scoop scoop install ripgrep # Cargo cargo install ripgrep
fd is a simpler alternative to
find. It is more intuitive to use and comes with sensible defaults. It is extremely fast due to parallel traversing and shows a modern colorized output and supports patterns and regex, parallel commands, smart case, understands
.gitignore files, and so on. I have aliased
fd as I could never remember what options to pass to get a basic find command working.
# Arch Linux yay -S fd # Fedora/CentOS dnf install fd-find # Debian/Ubuntu apt install fd-find # macOS Homebrew brew install fd # macOS MacPorts port install fd # Windows Scoop scoop install fd # Cargo cargo install fd-find
sd is a find-and-replace CLI, and you can use it as a replacement for
awk. It is way more user-friendly and modern. It is also magnitudes faster than
# Arch Linux yay -S sd # Fedora/CentOS dnf install sd # Debian/Ubuntu # Install binary from the release page # macOS Homebrew brew install sd # Windows Scoop choco install sd-cli # Cargo cargo install sd
procs is a
ps replacement. It provides colorized human-readable output, multi-column search, more information than
ps, docker support, paging, watch mode, and tree view. It is a much more user-friendly and modern alternative to
ps. You can filter by name and PID and use logical and/or operators to combine multiple filters. It also has a tree view which is very useful for seeing the process hierarchy. It can also show docker container names for the process running docker containers.
# Arch Linux yay -S procs # Fedora/CentOS dnf install procs # Debian/Ubuntu # Install binary from the release page # macOS Homebrew brew install procs # macOS MacPorts port install procs # Windows Scoop scoop install procs # Cargo cargo install procs
bottom is a
top replacement with a nice terminal UI. It’s quite feature-rich and customizable.
# Arch Linux yay -S bottom # Fedora/CentOS dnf copr enable atim/bottom -y dnf install bottom # Debian/Ubuntu dpkg -i bottom_0.6.8_amd64.deb # macOS Homebrew brew install bottom # macOS MacPorts port install bottom # Windows Scoop scoop install bottom # Cargo cargo install bottom --locked
Topgrade is a fantastic utility if you prefer to keep your system up-to-date, like me. It detects most of the package managers on your system and triggers updates. It is configurable, so you can configure it to ignore certain package managers. On my system, it detected pacman, SDKMAN, Flatpak, snap, Homebrew, rustup, Linux firmware, Pip, and so on. Topgrade is cross-platform; you can use it on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
# Arch Linux yay -S topgrade # Fedora/CentOS/Debian/Ubuntu/Windows # Install binary from the release page # macOS Homebrew brew install topgrade # macOS MacPorts port install topgrade # Cargo cargo install topgrade --locked
Broot is a
tree alternative with a better user experience, and you can use it to navigate a file structure. It’s fast and respects
.gitignore. You can cd into a directory from the tree view, open sub-directories in a panel, and even preview files. It has excellent keyboard navigation as well. It has many more features.
# Arch Linux yay -S broot # Fedora/CentOS/Debian/Ubuntu/Windows # Install binary from release page https://dystroy.org/broot/install/ # macOS Homebrew brew install broot # macOS MacPorts port install broot # Cargo cargo install broot --locked
Tokei is a nice utility to count lines and stats of code. It is very fast, accurate, and has a nice output. It supports over 150 languages and can output in JSON, YAML, CBOR, and human-readable tables.
# Arch Linux yay -S tokei # Fedora/CentOS dnf install tokei # Debian/Ubuntu # Install binary from the release page # macOS Homebrew brew install tokei # macOS MacPorts port install tokei # Windows Scoop scoop install tokei # Cargo cargo install tokei
Other notable tools
- kdash: A fast and simple dashboard for Kubernetes. Its created by me 🙂
- Zellij: A feature rich modern terminal multiplexer with batteries included.
- Nushell: A modern shell written in Rust. Looks quite promising.
- xh: A HTTPie alternative with better performance.
- monolith: Convert any webpage into a single HTML file with all assets inlined.
- delta: A syntax-highlighting pager for git, diff, and grep output.
- ripsecrets: Find secret keys in your code before committing them to git.
- eva: A CLI REPL calculator.
- You can find a list of other Rust CLI tools here