“Asciiquarium is an aquarium/sea animation in ASCII art.”

Being a lover of ASCII art, I was quite thrilled to have stumbled upon this wonderful little program (Asciiquarium) back in 2006/2007 or so.  At the time, after performing a very custom Gentoo build with a KDE front-end, I discovered that Asciiquarium was built into the system as a KDE screensaver.  Not being a huge fan of KDE at the time and after experimenting with other Window/Desktop managers, I found that in order to enjoy the colorful ASCII fishies, I would need to build the software from source.  At the time, there were occasional issues with installation on various systems, but now installation has become much easier…

Near the beginning of 2008, I asked if anyone knew how to port Asciiquarium to Gnome as a screensaver, but got no love in return.  I’d still like to know how to port this to Gnome, but I’d also like to make it work as a screensaver for OpenBox too, since that’s what I primarily run on my personal machines.  I always figured that if I could ever find the time that I’d start exploring how to do this on my own, as I’m sure that it would be a fun learning experience.  Still have not found or made the time for this project so I’m open to your ideas and sharing of knowledge.  For now, when I want to see my fishy friends, I simply launch them from my favorite terminal emulator with a simple command: asciiquarium

Reading the Asciiquarium-related comments in Kmandla’s post about Random Screensavers for the Console, it occurred to me that others may not know about and might benefit from the DEB packages that Dave created to make the installation a bit easier on Debian & Ubuntu systems.

For fear that one day, the things that other people have created (the things that I love most…) might disappear without warning, I sometimes tend to create archives of those things… so for our future enjoyment (yours and mine…), I have packaged Dave’s DEB files along with a README file that fills in any gaps and hopefully explains any details that you may wish to know.

When running Asciiquarium, there are no command line arguments. The, options are:

q    quit
r    redraw (will recreate all entities)
p    toggle pause

Download the tarball: http://www.hilltopyodeler.com/scripts/asciiquarium-deb.tar.gz

Open your terminal, navigate to the location where you stored the file, and extract the files by typing:

tar -xvzf asciiquarium-deb.tar.gz

First install the libterm-animation module and then install the asciiquarium module. You can open your file manager and right-click on the DEB files and select “Open with GDebi Package Installer”, or type in the following commands:

sudo gdebi libterm-animation-perl_2.4~inx3_all.deb
sudo gdebi asciiquarium_1.0~inx2_all.deb

Although I’ve been successful with installing Asciiquarium from source on a number of different Linux distributions, using the DEBs contained within this .tar archive, I have successfully installed this on the following OS’s:

  • CrunchBang Linux 9.04
  • CrunchBang Linux Statler 10, Alpha 1, 2, 20101205, 20110105, and 20110207
  • Linux Mint LMDE 201009 & 201101
  • Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope 9.04
  • Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04

Thanks goes out to Kirk Baucom for creating such a wonderful little application, to Joan Stark for creating much of the artwork, and to Dave (mystery man with no last name…) for packaging Asciiquarium for Ubuntu and Debian systems.