Ternimal – Show Animated Lifeform in Your Linux Terminal

Ternimal (not terminal, yes, we also read it as terminal the first time) is a simple, very flexible program that simulates an animated lifeform in your terminal using Unicode block symbols. It simply colors distance fields from a segment of a meandering path.

It works in most Linux terminal emulators and with most monospaced fonts, and has been tested on Linux (almost all terminal emulators render ternimal flawlessly), Mac OS as well as Windows.

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Install Ternimal in Linux Systems

Ternimal has no dependencies apart from the Rust Standard Library (>= 1.20) must be installed, at which point Ternimal can be built with as shown.

$ git clone https://github.com/p-e-w/ternimal.git
$ cd ternimal
$ rustc -O ternimal.rs

After building it, you can start using ternimal to display different colored animated lifeforms such as snakes, the rainbow, multiple disconnected entities moving in a coordinated fashion and more.

Next, to run ternimal like any other command on your system, move the executable built above, into a directory in your PATH environment variable (for example ~/bin/).

$ mkdir ~/bin #create bin in your home folder if it doesn’t exist.
$ cp ternimal ~/bin 

The following are just a few examples of what ternimal can do.


The following command will display a swarm, you can terminate it by pressing [Ctrl+C].

$ ternimal length=600 thickness=0,4,19,0,0

Animated Swarm in Linux Terminal


This command will display an animated snake.

$ ternimal length=100 thickness=1,4,1,0,0 radius=6,12 gradient=0:#666600,0.5:#00ff00,1:#003300

Animated Snake in Linux Terminal


And the following command will display a thick rainbow.

$ ternimal length=20 thickness=70,15,0,1,0 padding=10 radius=5 gradient=0.03:#ffff00,0.15:#0000ff,0.3:#ff0000,0.5:#00ff00

Animated Rainbow in Linux Terminal

As the developer put it right, “from a practical perspective, the program is not very useful. It does, however, contain quite a bit of cool technology and math”.

Ternimal Github repository: https://github.com/p-e-w/ternimal

Ternimal is just one of those Linux fun terminal programs for exercising your brain (or possibly eyes); after working on a command-line for a long period of time, you can call up one of those ternimals (especially a swarm) and just gaze at it. Use the feedback form below to share your thoughts about it.