Obvious cousins: ethstatus, pppstatus, slurm

I have promised I would never let this blog devolve into a “cli-app-a-day” kind of website, and I really want to stick to my guns on that one.

But putting together that wiki — which is done now, and which I intend to be a sort of memory aid for software I’ve looked at or tried — has underscored one point: It’s not for a lack of material.

There is a hurricane-sized swirl of console-oriented software out there, and the sheer magnitude of it all can be dizzying. One good, popular application might list two or three lesser-known ones as influences.

Or a home page might cite other projects as counter to the developer’s goals — which could mean there are another two or three out there that do the same thing, just a little differently.

And so with every discovery I anticipate finding one, sometimes two new ones. If I’m lucky, I’ve already seen it. If not, I dutifully add it to my list, sigh deeply, and check the calendar for the next day off I have.

I make it sound terrible, but it’s not. It’s fun. And sometimes I am honestly surprised. For example, I’ve known for years about slurm.

slurm is fun to watch and sufficiently useful that I usually keep it installed. It’s not cumbersome, has a sprinkling of options and you can tweak the colors a little. I don’t ask for much more than that.

What I didn’t know until yesterday though, was slurm’s intent to port a little application called pppstatus to FreeBSD.

I learned that while digging through archive.org for slurm’s original home page. In turn, a quick glance at pppstatus reveals that it morphed again into something called ethstatus.

And ethstatus — surprise, surprise — bears a resemblance to slurm. It’s a bit droll if you ask me, and slurm does things ethstatus doesn’t, but it’s obvious that they’re cousins.

So there, in a nutshell, is the issue: Look at one, hear about two more. Pick up one, and two more are hiding underneath.

That might suggest to you Pirsig‘s difficulties with hypotheses: More than one exists to explain a phenomenon, and satisfying one only yields more.

Personally though, it reminds me of coat hangers. They’re always tangled up in threes and fours when you pull them out of the closet. 😐


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