Simple Terminal Hack Is Fit For Hollywood


We’ve all seen the cheesy hacker scenes in movies and on TV. Three dimensional file system browsers, computer chip cityscapes, and other ridiculous visualizations to make the dull act of sitting at a keyboard look pretty on the silver screen. While real hackers know those things are often silly and impractical, sometimes we do go out of our way to pretty things up a bit.

Hollywood might be able to learn a thing or two from this latest hack. [Yuri] modified his Linux terminal to change the color of the back lights on his laptop’s keyboard. It’s the kind of thing that actually would look good in a modern hacker movie, and [Yuri] is living proof that it’s something that a real-life hacker would actually use!

[Yuri] has been running Simple Terminal. The Simple Terminal project aims to build a replacement for the default xterm program that removes all of the unnecessary features and simplifies the source code. It also aims to make your terminal experience prettier. Part of making things prettier means that you can choose the font color for your terminals, and of course each terminal window can have its own color if you so choose.

[Yuri] happens to own an Alienware laptop. This laptop comes with RGB LEDs behind the keyboard, allowing you to light them up just about any color you could ever want. [Yuri] thought it would be cool if his keyboard color matched the font color of his terminal windows. Thanks to AlienFX, he was able to write a simple patch for Simple Terminal that does exactly this. Now whenever he selects a terminal window, the keyboard automatically switches colors to match the text in that window. Be sure to check out the video below.

21 thoughts on “Simple Terminal Hack Is Fit For Hollywood

    1. It’s that he is automatically changing his keyboard backlighting to match the terminal font color, not just changing the font color, that Rick is talking about. New fangled toys.

  1. I must say it is quite colorful….I likes the pretty colors.
    Sweet Hack although reading through it I thought that the keyboard colors might have changed based on something else…say like an error perhaps. On finishing and realising it was just based on font colors…slight withdrawal and depression kicked in. However, still a pretty cool hack.

    1. It also dynamically colors icons in the task bar and the task manager.

      The whole idea of mine was to exploit the natural ability of our brain to associate colors with different objects, therefore reminding me which widow out of many I’m currently focused in.
      The dynamic icon patch that I developed later, made it easy to quickly find the window in my taskbar, by just looking at the icon.

      I’ve been using this mod for about half a year now, unable to notice how much it helps me with the terminals, but I did miss it when booted into a virtual machine which only had konsole’s, which I kept mixing up because they were all the same color.

      This mod to me is now as useful as highlighting in my IDE.

      Thanks for sharing my invention, h@d. Peace.

  2. I have a bash prompt that shows system load and it changes color to reflect that stat. Would be neat with the keyboard. If the each key was adressable you could use the key squares like a 7-seg and that would be even cooler. lol.

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