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Simple Tools

Curl logo Even though I’ve been using UNIX for over 20 years, there are some simple, elegant, tools that I’m really now coming to appreciate:

  • cron and crontab for automatically running things at scheduled times, especially the GNU extension that supports @reboot allowing normal users to run scripts at machine startup
  • logrotate lets me keep dumping data into a single file, but break it into smaller, more manageable chunks. Combined with crontab I can easily collect gigabytes of data in a straightforward manner, but have the results in well organized, compressed multi-megabyte units. That expedition with Python and argparse? That was driven by usage of logrotate.
  • curl for grabbing anything off the Web. Okay, it’s simple and elegant like a Swiss Army Chainsaw, but it always works, never crashes, and can be configured six ways to Sunday.

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