I don’t usually take up precious open source space here for anything other than my usual rantings and ravings. But recently I came across something so cool, I had to share it. This ultimate in coolness is shelr.tv. Essentially, this is the “Youtube” for the command line. In other words, you can show off your command line Kung Fu by recording what you’re doing on the Linux terminal and uploading that recording to your account. All of this is done from the command line (of course), so no GUI applications needed.

But why is this so cool (and/or useful)? Simple — imagine being able to record a training video from the command line and sending it to your peers, co-workers, or friends by simply issuing a few extra commands. It’s not often you hear of command line training tools, but here it is. Or… you just want to show off a little command line magic on a site you know other command line artists will be viewing.

If you’re curious, here’s a sample test I created for TechRepublic-verse to enjoy.

Now, how do you accomplish this feat? Here are the install instructions for Ubuntu, Arch Linux, Gentoo, and OS X. I want to show you some more detailed instructions to install shelr on Linux Mint 12.

Step One: Install the necessary dependencies

There’s really only one major dependency (which in and of itself has some dependencies). This dependency is rubygems. To install this piece of software, issue the following command:

sudo aptitude install rubygems

Now we’ll install shelr using the gem command like so:

sudo gem install shelr

You are now ready to begin. But before you record that first proof of your command-fu, you should create an account on shelr.tv. It’s free and you can even authenticate to shelr with your twitter account. Once you’ve done that, you will see a command on your account home page that looks like this

shelr setup 266aa53f0b4ede8ceedf3131b983456089

That string of characters associates your installed shelr tool with your account. Run the command (the one on your account page — not the above command) and you are ready to start recording and sharing.

How to record and share

This is the easy part (as if any of it was difficult).

  1. Open up a terminal window
  2. Issue the command shelr record
  3. Give your recording a title and hit Enter
  4. Start showing off your command line fu
  5. When you’re finished recording, hit Ctrl-d
  6. Once the command prompt is returned, issue the command ‘shelr play last’ (no quotes) to view your last recording
  7. To upload the last recording to your account, issue the command shelr push last

Now you can go to your account and click on the title of the recording to view it. You can share the link and even get embed code for various sites.

I love it when I find incredibly helpful tools like shelr. Not only does it help me help others, it offers yet another glimpse into a community of people with an incredible talent for making thing work for them in ways others have yet to imagine.

That’s open source for ya, folks!