Fortune-TV - fortune files full of TV quotes

Published: 01 Nov 2014

Tags: github, internet, linux, television

There are many things I like about using Linux/UNIX, but one of my favorite things to play around with is a little program known as fortune. It’s very simple (I get along well with very simple programs), the purpose of fortune is to spit out a randomly selected strings from a list of strings (a fortune file in our case), like a Magic 8-Ball or a fortune cookie (except funnier and less edible).

There are about 20 fortune files that come with the base package fortune-mod. Some of them are humorous, some of them are pretty obscure, some of them are down right bizarre, but fortune provides a little character in an otherwise dreary (or not so dreary) UNIX environment. A few years ago I had compiled a handful of my own fortune files from a couple of television shows I liked, copy/pasted from IMDB, screened and sorted by hand. For a guy who runs conky with a fortune output refreshing every minute I was desperate to find fresh and funny material.

The original collection was something like: Arrested Development, Home Movies, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Futurama, and Sealab 2021. These sat in my /usr/share/games/fortune directory for a while and provide a good laugh every so often. I had always intended to add a few more shows here and there but other projects eventually took priority and this idea sat on the back burner for a while.

Whereas I had been using IMDB in the past for gathering quotations, I recently took a look at and found it to be a pretty extensive resource and easy to work with web content-wise. So now, thanks to some inspiration, a free weekend, and a big pot of coffee, I’ve compiled an even larger archive of TV-centric fortune files: fortune-tv. Shows include:

Pick and choose your favorites! If you’re using these in your bash profile remember to have fortune trim the length of selected quotes (-n to set length) since many of these files contain longer chunks of dialog. There are a couple of formatting issues here and there that I’m finding (also some of the punctuation is not standard which bothers me, these were parsed after all from a wiki) but otherwise I’m very happy with the new collection. Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your greybeards, fortune-tv is out now!