Learn About Your Computer Thru ASCII Art

May 1, 2017
System Utilities

Solus has a number of very simple tools that enhance your desktop computing experience. One of the best is Neofetch, a program written in Bash, the basic command language interpreter used by all Linux-based operating systems. When you run Neofetch from inside a terminal, it displays two things: a list of basic information about your system, and a rendering of your operating system’s logo in ASCII art, i.e. text characters.

Neofetch readout for Solus sailboat

Obviously, I’m running Solus so Neofetch displays the classic sailboat logo. But you can actually tell Neofetch to display another Linux distribution’s logo by adding a --ascii_distro 'Distribution' flag. For example, here’s my Neofetch output with the Xubuntu mouse logo:

Neofetch readout with Xubuntu mouse

ASCII art aside, Neofetch is really about giving you a quick rundown of your computer’s vital statistics. On the hardware side it tells you the computer’s CPU and graphics card models, which can be useful when trying to diagnose a problem. It also displays software information such as the running version of the Linux kernel and the total number of packages installed.

Neofetch can be easily customized to provide additional information. In Solus the default configuration file is located at /etc/neofetch/config. Many options can be altered directly from the command line using flags such as the one described above.

Neofetch is not just for Linux either. It works on any operating system that supports the Bash shell, including macOS, Android, BSD, and even Windows. The creator and lead developer is Dylan Araps. He’s made Neofetch available under the MIT License.