Fun With Cmatrix in Linux

Cmatrix is an entertaining command-line program for Linux and Unix systems. It gives a ‘Matrix’-style display, where a rain of green characters streams down the screen, just like in the iconic Matrix film series.

Fun With Cmatrix in Linux
Cmatrix Command

But other than this green streams of characters, you can do several other things with this interesting command.

Cmatrix is a CPU intensive command. So use this with caution.

Install Cmatrix in Ubuntu and Other Linux systems

Cmatrix is available in the official repositories of almost all major Linux distributions. In Ubuntu, you can install Cmatrix using the command:

sudo apt install cmatrix

Fedora users should use:

sudo dnf install cmatrix

Arch Linux user can use pacman:

sudo pacman -S cmatrix

Basic cmatrix options

The cmatrix command alone provides several options, to change the appearance of the default output, that is the green character streams.

Bold characters

You can either toggle the bold characters on using -b option, where you will find occasional bold characters,

cmatrix -b
Fun With Cmatrix in Linux
Cmatrix with Occasional Bold Characters

or, turn all the characters to bold using:

cmatrix -B
Fun With Cmatrix in Linux
All Bold Characters

Asynchronous scroll

The usual Cmatrix will create a display, where characters are falling down in a synchronous manner. In this mode, you can see a dynamic and visually engaging display, where the speed of the characters is varied.

To use Cmatrix in asynchronous scroll:

cmatrix -a

Change the speed of characters

Do you want to display the characters falling very fast, or very slow? You can do this in Cmatrix.

To make characters fall down fast, use:

cmatrix -u 2
Fun With Cmatrix in Linux
Characters Moving Fast

Here, the default value of screen update delay is 4 and if you reduce it, the speed will be increased and vice versa. So, to run a slower cmatrix, use:

cmatrix -u 9
Fun With Cmatrix in Linux
Characters Moving Slow

Use different Colors

Go green! Or perhaps go purple?

You can run Cmatrix with a different color. For this, you can use the -C option.

cmatrix -C magenta
Fun With Cmatrix in Linux
The color is Magenta

The supported colors are green, red, blue, white, yellow, cyan, magenta and black.

Other Options

cmatrix -oOld Style Scrolling
cmatrix -mLambda Mode: Every character becomes a lambda
cmatrix -sScreensaver Mode: Exits on first keystroke
cmatrix -hHelp

Cmatrix keystrokes during execution

Even if you donโ€™t provide any option in Cmatrix, you can provide some input later on during execution. Those are listed below.

Change Color

Yes, you can change the color of characters while running. But you need to remember some keys and their corresponding color. What to do is, while running Cmatrix, press these keys and the color will change.


Adjust update speed

While running, you can use the number keys from 0 through 9 to change the update speed.

There are other options also, which you can find from the man page of the command.

man cmatrix

Bonus: Cmatrix with lolcat

Cmatrix itself is CPU intensive. So use the other commands with caution.

You can use Cmatrix, in combination with the lolcat command, to make it look more interesting. In Ubuntu, you can install lolcat using:

sudo apt install lolcat

Now, just pipe Cmatrix to lolcat so that you will get a rainbow effect.

cmatrix | lolcat
Fun With Cmatrix in Linux
Cmatrix with Lolcat

Also, try all the above functions of Cmatrix, while piping into lolcat.

Or, you can use an inclined stripe for a rainbow effect, giving another type of experience.

cmatrix | lolcat -p 100

Additionally, you can just invert the background and foreground colors so that your terminal will be filled with colors.

cmatrix | lolcat -i
Fun With Cmatrix in Linux
Cmatrix with Lolcat Inverted Color Option

More fun with terminal

I know this is not the most useful Linux command but it’s fun nonetheless and you can have some fun with your Linux system sometime, right?

Cowsay is another such command:

Using Cowsay Linux Command Like a Pro
The cowsay is a fun little Linux command line utility that can be enjoyed in so many ways. Here are several examples.
Fun With Cmatrix in Linux

And even more here:

13 Amusing Funny Linux Commands
So, you think Linux terminal is all work and no fun? These funny Linux commands will prove you wrong.
Fun With Cmatrix in Linux

I let you enjoy it now, Mr. Anderson.

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