The cowsay command on Linux is a fine example of interactive coding while having fun. Here’s everything you need to know about the cowsay command and some fun ones for you to try out right now.
The cowsay is a program (in our case, is a command) that generates ASCII art pictures of a cow with a given message. You heard it right, it’s a fun command that accepts a text string and outputs a graphical text on Linux of cow talking.
This command also generates talking of any animal if you provide a premade picture, and the program is written in Perl. A cowfile is the main file executed by the program. It is made up of a simple block of Perl code, which automatically assigns a picture of a cow to the variable [$the_cow].
For this command to run, you need a Linux-based OS. That’s it.
Installing cowsay command on Linux
You can easily install cowsay package on Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, and many other Linux OS with the following command:
$ sudo apt install cowsay
As always, you are required to have sudo privileges to install any package. So make sure you have one.
Listing Art Types Available
There are different art types other than a cow, like a dragon, penguin, duck, etc. You can use the following command with the
Output may look like this:
As you can see, there are many options available like bunny, dragon, dragon-and-cow, and elephant.
Choose an Art Type
Above, we listed out all the possible art types. To select and use one, you can use
-f option followed by the art name and message.
$ cowsay -f [art_type] “<message>”
$ cowsay -f turkey “Hi, I am talking turkey :)”
You can use any of the available art in your inventory.
Choosing Different Mind States
As we can see in the above example, the cow says any message we give. However, you can add other states to make it more entertaining. There are in total eight states of mind you can use and we’ve listed them all here.
1. Paranoia (Paranoid)
In this mode, “@@” replaced the normal cow eye. The normal cow has “OO” in the eye, as you can see above. To achieve this mode, you can use the
$ cowsay -p [message]
$ cowsay -p “My paranoia mode”
In this mode, the eyes of the cow are replaced with “xx” and its tongue sticking out with the “U” keyword. To achieve this, you can use the
$ cowsay -d “[message]”
$ cowsay -d “Not okay”
3. Borg Mode
This mode is also a fun one. In this mode, normal cow eyes are replaced with “==” sign. You can use the
-b flag followed by a message you want to display.
$ cowsay -b “[message]”
$ cowsay -b “borg mode”
4. Wired Mode
Here, “OO” is used as cow eyes. You can use the
-w flag to achieve this mode.
$ cowsay -w “[message]”
$ cowsay -w “wired me”
5. Youthful Mode
This mode tries to show the youthful mind of a cow by replacing normal eyes with the “..” keyword. That kinda looks funny. You can achieve this using the
$ cowsay -y “[message]”
$cowsay -y “I feel good”
6. Tired Mode
This mode tries to mimic a tired cow with the “- -” keyword in the eye. You can achieve this using the
$ cowsay -t “[message]”
$ cowsay -t “Today I am tired”
7. Greedy Mode
This mode shows how a cow can be greedy too. It uses “$$” in the cow eyes and you can do this too using the
-g flag followed by a greedy message.
$ cowsay -g “ [message] ”
$cowsay -g “Money is good”
8. Stoned Mode
This funky mode uses “**” in the cow’s eyes and “U” as the cow’s tongue to show that it is stoned. You can use the
-s flag to achieve this mode.
$ cowsay -s “[message]”
$ cowsay -s “Stoned mode”
Setting the Eye Symbol Manually
You can also specify which type of symbol to use in cowsay command, and it can replace default eyes with the kind you specify manually. All you need to do is use the
-e flag followed by eye type.
$ cowsay -e [eye_type]
$cowsay -e ^ ^
Setting the Tongue Shape Manually
As we did above with the eyes, we can also manually set tongue shape with the
-T flag followed by tongue string.
$ cowsay -T [tounge_string]
$ cowsay -T \(\)
Don’t Wrap Word
This command disables the wrapping of words. If you type long texts with a cowsay command, they can be wrapped if they are long. With this
-n flag, line break does not happen.
$ cowsay -n [text]
Example with Different Art Types
First list all the available art types like this:
$ cowsay -l
Now we’ve chosen something random, Vader. Come to the dark side and try out this code, which is a lot of fun too.
$ cowsay -f vader [your_message]
Let’s try one more, the dragon breathing fire, all in code!
$ fortune | cowsay -f dragon
It is very similar to cowsay but this command tries to mimic that a cow or any other art type is thinking something.
A bubble leading towards a cloud-shaped message looks fun.
$ cowthink [message]
$ cowthink hi, This is cowthink
Now, you have a cow giving everything hard thinking with a cloud bubble right over it.
Going on and on with coding on Linux can be stressful, which is where the cowsay command brings you a sigh of relief, while still sharpening your coding skills! All the art types and modes mentioned above are also supported in cowthink command.
If this guide helped you, please share it.