MDVL Basic CLI Configuration Package


Build instructions for package mdvl-conf-cli.

This package serves a similar purpose like a collection of dotfiles and includes some alias-like scripts.

To build the package, invoke

$ ant package

In addition to configuration files, some scripts which serve an alias-like function are provided. See the following sections for details.


The following scripts are part of this package:

Copies data from stdin to the clipboard using xclip. They can be pasted in some GUI applications with [CTRL]-[V].
Pastes data from the clipboard to stdout using xclip.
Special invocation of ctrlc which removes newlines from inputs and mirrors it to stdout. This is useful for copying broken URLs from e-mails.
Invokes xclock with digital time, d.m.Y H:M:S format and Terminus font.
Invokes urxvt with sane defaults.
Invokes urxvt with dark font on white background and extra-large font size (useful for presentations or working in sunlight).
Invokes rsync with useful parameters for synchronization: -vrlpEogDtS --delete --delete-after --stats -h --progress -i
Invokes rsvg-convert(1) from package librsvg2-bin to convert an SVG to PDF. – .bashrc configuration

The .bashrc is organized in multiple sections. They are explained in the following along with some excerpts from the actual code:

Run Syssheet

The first action is to invoke syssheet(11) to display system information on newly started terminals or SSH sessions. It is started first and runs asynchronously because it is one of the slowest operations from the bashrc to complete:

export LINES
export COLUMNS
if [ -z "$MAEM_RES" ]; then
        /usr/bin/syssheet -f & # Syssheet is slow => Parallelization is good

The process ID is stored to later be able to cancel syssheet processes, should they take too long to complete.

Basic Shell Settings

Configures the history and enables vi-style keybindings for commandline modification.

shopt -s histappend
shopt -s checkwinsize

set +H
set -o vi

Configure Prompt

ma_host_tmp="$(who -m | cut -d "(" -f 2 | tr -d ")" | cut -d "." -f 1)"
ma_tty_tmp="$(echo $ma_host_tmp | cut -d " " -f 2 | cut -c -3)"
if [ -e /.dockerenv ] || { [ -x /usr/bin/ischroot ] && ischroot; }; then
        # container
        export PS1='\[\033[36;40;1m\]\H:\w\$\[\033]0;\H:\w\$\007\033[00m\] '
elif [ -z "$ma_host_tmp" -o "$ma_host_tmp" = ":0" -o \
                                        "$ma_tty_tmp" = "tty" ]; then
        # local
        export PS1='\[\033[33;40;1m\]\w\$\[\033]0;\w\$\007\033[00m\] '
        # remote
        export PS1='\[\033[31;40;1m\]\H:\w\$\[\033]0;\H:\w\$\007\033[00m\] '

Here, prompt colors are set depending on the environment. The color assignment is as follows:

Color Sample Prompt Use
yellow /$ Local system login
red hostname:~$ Remote system login
cyan 3a009206af3e:/# Login inside container or chroot

The idea is to warn users with the red prompt that they are working on a remote system. Additionally, for remote and chroot/container logins, the hostname is displayed while it should be clear on the local system.

Note that the heuristics to decide between local or remote connections fails inside terminal multiplexers.

Editors, PATH, Java

These sections are not shown here. Their use is as follows


alias ls="/bin/ls --color=auto -h"
alias grep="grep --color=auto"
alias info="/usr/bin/info --vi-keys"
alias maxima="/usr/bin/maxima -q"
alias sysus="systemctl --no-pager --user"
alias journalctl="journalctl --no-pager"
alias systemctl="systemctl --no-pager -l"
alias 7z_ma="/usr/bin/7z a -t7z -m0=lzma2 -mx=9 -mfb=64 -md=64m -ms=2g -l"
alias z_cmdcolors=colortest-16b
ls and grep
Configure colorized output.
Configure vi keybindings.
Suppress version information and directly prompt for input.
Provide convenient access to user-sytemd
journalctl, systemctl
Disable systemd’s insane default-to-pager (see
Provide quick access to better compression with 7z.
Alternative name for colortest-16b. Previously, script colortools-system-gyw was available under name z_cmdcolors. However, its license seems to be unclear, thus MDVL systems will now invoke colortest-16b from package colortest (which is in Debian). See for the source code for colortools-system-gyw if interested.

MDVL Simple Login Manager

if [ -z "$DISPLAY" -a -z "$MAEMR_RES" -a "$(tty)" = "/dev/tty1" -a \
                                                        "$(id -u)" != 0 ]; then
        unset sheetpid
        unset sleeppid
        unset LINES
        unset COLUMNS
        # Prevent ck-launch blah to fail automounting when using startx...
        export GDMSESSION=masysma
        # invoke on the same VT to mitigate potential security issues
        exec /usr/bin/startx -- vt1 2> /dev/null > /dev/null
elif [ $sheetpid != -1 ]; then
        ( sleep 3 && kill $sheetpid ) 2>&1 > /dev/null & sleeppid=$!
        wait $sheetpid
        kill -s TERM $sleeppid 2> /dev/null

This part of the configuration is concerned with auto-running startx if logging into tty1. These few lines have been found to effectively replace the need for login managers.

For all other instances, syssheet is given three seconds to complete before being killed; syssheet can hang if commands like mount take too long to respond, but shell access should still be possible then, thus the timeout.

vimrc.mdvl – vimrc file

There are tons of online-resources for vimrc files. This repository provides the variant. Some excerpts are shown and explained in the following.

Basic settings and includes

The file sets the following basic options:

set nocompatible
set backspace=indent,eol,start  " more powerful backspacing
set history=400                 " keep 400 lines of command line history
set ruler                       " show the cursor position all the time
set background=dark

After that, it contains a few lines to source other VIM configuration if it is present on the system including configuration for specific formats or tetris.vim :)

A configuration snippet for hex editing is also included (copied from the VIM wiki?). After that, some more options follow – including links to interesting blog posts about vimrc files. The links seem to be down, thus links are given instead.

set printfont=courier:h9 " Smaller printing font size
set printoptions=formfeed:y,paper:a4
set hlsearch
highlight Search ctermbg=LightGreen
set title
set showcmd
" Copied from
set wildmenu
set lazyredraw
" Copied from
set noerrorbells
set tm=500
set ffs=unix,dos,mac
set laststatus=2
" disable bells
set vb t_vb=
"                                                                 performance
set nocursorcolumn
set nocursorline


If available, the last column to be usable for keeping an 80-character limit is highlighted:

if exists("+colorcolumn")
        set colorcolumn=80
        hi ColorColumn ctermbg=DarkBlue

Although somewhat historic, 80 chars is still good to allow large font sizes without breaking the lines.

It is nice to remember that the colorcolumn can be used for e-mails as well, just type :set colorcolumn=72 and it moves a little leftward to a common limit used in e-mail.

Line Numbers

The configuration of line numbers is also taking the 80 chars width into consideration: In case the terminal has 86 chars or less, nonumber will be set to avoid breaking the lines. The value for nuberwidth=6 is based on experience and works most of the times. By setting a different background color for line numbers, they are visually well-distinguishable from the actual source code.

In theory, displaying line numbers should also change as the window size changes, but despite being a good heuristics, it does not always work as expected…

set numberwidth=6
set nonumber
highlight LineNr cterm=NONE ctermbg=DarkGray ctermfg=White

"                                                         based-on-window-size
function MaAutomaticLineNumbers()
        if winwidth(0) > 86
                set number
                set nonumber

The remainder of the file (not shown) is concerned with some GUI options to make terminal and gvim behave similarly (in case gvim is accidentally invoked).

vifmrc – File Manager Configuration

The configuration for vifmrc changes the original two-pane logic towards a slightly different model of use:

Combining these features allows starting with a single instance and then opening and closing new instances as one continues the file management process. This variant blends well with the quick startup time of vifm and the capabilities of (tiling) window managers to allow keeping track of many windows.

Unlike two-pane workflows, there is no need to strictly have at most two panes at the same time – three windows may be open and copying across all three can happen as needed. Additionally, unlike tab-based workflows windows are only hidden if the window manager commands it. Bonus: Sometimes one wants to just quick and dirty switch to a different directory, be it for pasting or for checking something different than the current work was about. In this case, the second pane of the originally two-pane file manager is still active (although hidden) and can be switched to at any time using the [TAB] key.

To summarize: A lot of flexiblity by using a probably uncommon configuration. Some excerpts with details of the configuration file follow:

General Settings

set sortnumbers
set timefmt=%d.%m.%y\ %H:%M:%S
set wildmenu
set hlsearch
set scrolloff=4
set sort=+fileext
set tuioptions=p
set confirm=permdelete
set dotdirs=
set iec
set vifminfo=bookmarks,bmarks,registers
set syncregs=syncregs

if has('unix')
        set trashdir=$HOME/ranger_trash

Enables some sane configuration defaults like date and time format, default sorting order, units to use, and configures a directory for deleted files $HOME/ranger_trash. The name is due to the fact that previously, systems used ranger(1) instead of vifm.


Screeshot of an unmodified/default vifm configuration

Screeshot of the vifm configuration presented here

The colorscheme is configured by the following settings:

highlight Border ctermbg=black
highlight StatusLine cterm=none ctermfg=white ctermbg=17
highlight TopLine cterm=none ctermfg=lightwhite ctermbg=17
highlight TopLineSel cterm=none ctermfg=lightwhite ctermbg=17

Check the screenshots to see the difference between the default colorscheme and configuration vs. the changes by the vifmrc.

File Types

filetype *.html,*.xhtml,*.xml,*.svg firefox %c 2>&1 > /dev/null &
filetype *.xcf,*.dds gimp %c 2>&1 > /dev/null &
filetype *.pcap,*.eth wireshark %c &
filetype *.uxf umlet %c 2>&1 > /dev/null &
filetype *.odf,*.odg,*.odx,*.doc,*.docx,*.doc,*.xls,*.xlsx,*.ppt,*.pptx,*.ods,*.odt libreoffice %c &
if has('unix')
        filetype *.sc sc-im %c
        filetype *.ppm,*.png,*.jpg,*.tiff,*.ico,*.gif,*.svg,*.xpm,*.jpeg,*.pnm,*.bmp,*.tga ma_plan_view_feh %c 2>&1 > /dev/null &
        filetype *.webm,*.mov,*.flv,*.3gp,*.ogv,*.mp4 /usr/bin/mpv %c 2>&1 > /dev/null &
        filetype *.mp3,*.wav,*.ogg /usr/bin/mocp %c
        filetype *.rpm,*.gz,*.bz2,*.txz,*.tgz,*.bz2,*.7z,*.zip,*.tar,*.jar,*.rar,*.deb,*.iso,*.xz xarchiver %c 2>&1 > /dev/null &
        filetype *.pdf,*.ps,*.eps,*.pdf.gz zathura %c 2>&1 > /dev/null &

Configures typical MDVL applications to open files of various types. The first part of the definitions is intended to also work on Windows systems if the respective applications are in %PATH%.

Custom Commands

command make !make
if has('unix')
        command thunar !thunar &
        command extract !atool -x %c &
        command mount !/usr/bin/ mount
        command umount !/usr/bin/ umount %c

The commands integrate shortcuts for make, thunar and archive extraction alongside with a link to a terminal user interface to ma_mount. See vifm-ext(32) for details on ma_mount.

Custom Mappings

nmap ö0 :!tmux splitw -h -c %d vim\ %f<cr>
nmap ö1 :!materm -e vim %f &<cr>
nmap öc :!tmux new-window -c %d bash<cr>
nmap öd :!materm -e dhex %f &<cr>
nmap öf :!tmux new-window -c %d vim\ %f<cr>
nmap öj :!jedit %f &<cr>
nmap öm :!mousepad %f &<cr>
nmap ön :!ma_new_file<cr>
nmap öp :! &<cr>
nmap öq :!ma_plan_view_feh 2>&1 > /dev/null &<cr>
nmap öt :!materm &<cr>
nmap öv :!tmux splitw -h -c %d bash<cr>
nmap öw :!materm -e /usr/bin/vifm &<cr>

The mappings provide quick access to various applications:

Applications Run on GUI Run on tmux
vim ö1 ö0, öf
Terminal öt öc, öv
GUI Editors öj, öm
dhex (Hex Editor) öd
Image Viewers öp, öq

Shortcut öw “duplicates” the current vifm instance to support the workflow described in the introduction. ön integrates with ma_new_file, see templates(32) for details

htoprc – Process Viewer Configuration

The two major changes of the htoprc vs. the default configuraiton are as follows:

  1. Threads are no longer displayed as indivdual entries. This greatly simplifies the list.
  2. The initial view shows the process tree rather than table.

Default htop configuration

Htop configuration provided here

System-Wide Configuration

Custom Login Screen

Files 90-masysma.conf and helpful_issue customize the Linux console login screen to look similar to the following screenshot:

Screenshot of the Linux console login as configured by this package

Intel Virtualization

File masysma-intel-virtualization.conf enables nested virtualization for KVM on Intel processors.

APT Progress Bar and Colors

File 99masysma.conf enables colorized progress bars in all APT programs (most notably: aptitude).


All SysRq features are enabled (file masysma.conf). Check the Kernel Documentation on SysRq for details on what this is about.

Miscellaneous application-specific Configuration Website 5 (1.0.2) – no Flash, no JavaScript, no Webfont, no Copy Protection, no Mobile First. No bullshit. No GUI needed. Works with any browser.

Created: 2020/08/23 00:46:15 | Revised: 2022/09/18 21:17:44 | Tags: mdvl, conf, dotfiles, cli, package | Version: 1.0.2 | SRC (Pandoc MD) | GPL

Copyright (c) 2020, 2021 For further info send an e-mail to

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see <>.