Microwave Biscuit

Shame on me…

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on March 28, 2007

I have read several posts over the last few weeks about one of the new features in Feisty which is “command not found”. According to various sources if you type a command at the command prompt that isn’t found it will offer suggestions on it. For example, at a terminal I type: tilda (quake style terminal emulator). If I didn’t have it installed, normally you’d get a message saying “command not found” and that would be the end of it. However, in Feisty if I type the same thing the result is:

The program 'tilda' is currently not installed. You can install it by typing:
sudo apt-get install tilda
Make sure you have the 'universe' component enabled
bash: tilda: command not found

Very cool, however I thought it wasn’t working as advertised. You see, I typed in my first name at the command prompt: paul. I got this as a result:

The program 'paul' is currently not installed. You can install it by typing:
sudo apt-get install paul
Make sure you have the 'universe' component enabled
bash: paul: command not found

So I figured that it was just going to give me that same answer no matter what I typed and that it wasn’t really considering what packages could be installed. However, a quick look at Synaptic and sure enough there is a package named paul. Here is the package description for paul:

Yet another image viewer (displays PNG, TIFF, GIF, JPG, etc.)
paul = _P_rogram zur _A_uswertung und _U_mwandlung von _L_aserbildern
(for non German speakers: Program to evaluate and convert laser images).
Especially designed to work with gray scaled image sequences but may be
useful for any images. Using of imlib gives great flexibility of
file formats and is fast.
Features: move images until they match; cut images precisely;
create clickable HTML maps; 2D-FFT; operations onto single image or
set of images

So, shame on me for thinking this new feature was bogus. Turns out it really does know what packages are in the repository and what can be installed. If you type in something that is completely unavailable you get a plain “bash: command: command not found” with no offer to install.


10 Responses

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  1. Boni said, on March 28, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    No package for my name :-/

  2. greyspace said, on April 1, 2007 at 11:05 am

    Hmm. Not to be too much of a command-line snob — because I’m all about making Linux appealing to, and easy for, the new adopter — but I’m personally not wild about this feature and hope that it can be disabled. Wouldn’t most people understand that if a command is not found, then the program to which it refers is not present? Doesn’t Ubuntu tend to steer new users _away_ from the terminal for software search and installation in the first place?

    Yeah, I probably haven’t thought it through. Maybe it’s a necessary step to help new users feel more comfortable at the command line. Still, I hope this particular help can be turned off. Why bog the terminal down with new verbiage?

  3. diginux said, on April 1, 2007 at 11:37 am

    Tilda is awesome!

  4. Anonymous said, on April 1, 2007 at 11:43 am

    It’s just just for packages that can be installed so easily. Take emacs, for example. There is no “emacs” package, so typing “emacs” at the prompt will give you a list of all available packages that install such a binary.

  5. Daniel said, on April 1, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    I wonder how this will interact with, say, zsh’s auto-correct. Is it just in a fork of bash, or what?


  6. Top Posts « WordPress.com said, on April 1, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    […] Shame on me… I have read several posts over the last few weeks about one of the new features in Feisty which is “command not […] […]

  7. cwillu said, on April 1, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    Daniel: it’s a script called by a hook in bash. You can probably get similar behaviour out of zsh fairly easily.

  8. Coll B. Lue said, on April 2, 2007 at 9:35 am

    Never heard of Feisty so I’ll probably check it out seeing as I do my own computer software and maintenance installation – so it’s a new one on me.

  9. Ubuntu-anon said, on April 23, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    In reply to GreySpace…

    Ubuntu distro focus is all about noob-usability (I’m not using “noob” in a derogatory fashion here, just making a statement). Their first focus is making the GUI very user-friendly, and to make it where folks can do as much as possible through it.

    This is because a lot of Ubuntu users are migrating from MS Windows. So,

    1) this is their 1st taste of Linux, and Ubuntu doesn’t want to scare them off with techy “leetism”

    2) the “average” MS Windows user is pretty much a GUI slave. This is because the MS Windows command-line was rarely seen, used or powerful enough to do much faster than using GUI (unless you could make out the cryptic syntax…and this comes from a DOS .bat file scripter…lol!).

    3) Since the MS command-line was “evolved away from” when MS went from DOS to Windows, MS Windows users feel the use of a command-line in a GUI OS is a step backwards.

    Ubuntu’s trying to show folks that, while the GUI can be made very user-friendly, the command-line is very useful and powerful in Linux. Folks migrating from MS Windows GUI to Ubuntu GUI already have to get used to the change in GUI navigation and such, and all the extra options to the GUI they can now change as opposed to MS Windows (desktop, panels, etc). and then tossing the command-line at them, which doesn’t have much visual direction (just a cursor sitting there, blinking…no clue what to do with it or what to type) can be pretty intimidating. So, Ubuntu wants to make the command-line a little more friendly…add a little more “shallow water” to let folks wade in gradually instead of just tossing them in, sink or swim (because about half will sink, and get fed up easily, and simply uninstall Ubuntu and never try any Linux again thinking it’s all hard because you have to eventually wrestle with a command-line).

    I for one, was kinda annoyed by needing to use command-line for some things at first, but after I got into it, it’s really powerful and useful.

    Which brings me to my second point…

    Tilda does rock…a quake-style command-line that you can drop down with the push of a button. I love it! I think it should be a default option built into Bash.

  10. Per said, on October 19, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    Found this page while googling Make sure you have the ‘universe’ component enabled.

    To underline what you have discovered and made clear to me, I was trying to type “svn st” but hit “sv nst” and got the following:

    The program ‘sv’ is currently not installed. You can install it by typing:
    sudo apt-get install runit
    Make sure you have the ‘universe’ component enabled

    The package runit apparently contains command “sv”… clever

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