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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Install Nu Shell on Ubuntu 20.04

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If there is one thing we can reproach Linux every time it is the lack of variety in the programs. Every day there are more and better that cover all areas of computer science. It also includes terminal emulators. Today, we will tell you about a new one called Nu shell. This terminal for Linux is also fast and with important improvements.

Nu shell?

Let’s start with the basics. What is Nu Shell? Well, Nu shell is a new terminal, released under the MIT license and created in Rust with a different paradigm than others. According to its official documentation the goal of this project is “to take the Unix philosophy of shells, where pipes connect simple commands together, and bring it to the modern style of development”.

So, we can say with these objectives that Nu Shell intends to modernize the output of some commands in the terminal. Adapting them to situations less complex to understand and ideal for developers or sysadmin.

Install it on Ubuntu 20.04

Nu Shell is created in Rust. For tango we can use the Rust package manager called cargo. However, obviously the first step is to install Rust on Linux.

How to install Rust on Ubuntu 20.04 / Debian 10?

Then, you have to install some dependencies. If you use Debian, Ubuntu or one of their dervidas, just use this command:

:~$ sudo apt install pkg-config libssl-dev libxcb-composite0-dev libx11-dev

And then, if we can start the installation.

:~$ cargo install nu --all-features

1.- Installing Nu Shell on Ubuntu 20.04
1.- Installing Nu Shell on Ubuntu 20.04

And we wait for the process to end.

Using Nu Shell

The first thing to say is that the official documentation of the project is quite good. And we will use it for some illustrative examples.

To start the program just use the following command:

:~$ nu

2.- Launch Nu Shell
2.- Launch Nu Shell

And to exit the application, just run exit.

To see a sample of the potential of the application, let’s use the command ls in any directory. Remember that the command ls shows the files in a directory.

3.- Using Nu Shell - The ls command
3.- Using Nu Shell – The ls command

As we can see that is the content of the carptea Music of my system. But what stands out is the way in which the command is presented to us, different from the typical Linux terminal.

Easily and quickly we can have information about the files in a folder. But the strength of the application are the pipes and the filters. What if we want to show only the folders?

I will go back to my personal folder and from there I will illustrate the example.

Just, run:

:~$ ls | where type == Directory

4.- Using filters on the terminal
4.- Using filters on the terminal

And that’s how fast and easy we can use the ls command.

Let’s see what the date command looks like.

5.- The date command
5.- The date command

If you use a lot of Linux, you will know that the ps command lists the active processes of our computer.

6.- The ps command
6.- The ps command

Of course there are many more utilities that are available in the official project documentation.

Over time they will improve and incorporate others. In addition to polishing others.

So, enjoy it.


Nu shell is profiled as a revolutionary terminal that wants to adapt the shell to today’s needs without many problems. If you are sysadmin or work a lot with the terminal thank applications like this.

It still has a long way to go but thanks to the official documentation it is possible to get a lot out of it.

One last detail that I forgot to mention is that the application has autocomplete that makes the job even easier.

The Nu Shell official documentation

GitHub site.

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