After booting linux in purely command line mode how can I open an application eg web browser or Libre Office?

For example if I use the command "play" with any audio file it starts to play it. I want to know commands for other applications.


you find all "possible" commands by taking a look into the folder your PATH includes...

Type "ls echo $PATH | tr ':' '\n'" to get a list of ALL commands that your PATH includes...

if you want to execute something special you should think about the name of the binary, for example: firefox

type "which firefox" to see where it is stored...: /usr/bin/firefox

and if an application is NOT in the PATH you can execute it with the full command: /path/to/your/binary if it has the execution flag ('x')

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Text-based web browsers:

There are some text based web browsers that you can use to browse the web and view the offline web pages. e.g.

  • links2


    sudo apt-get install links2

    (before installation make sure Universe repo is allowed.)

  • lynx


    sudo apt-get install lynx
  • w3m


    sudo apt-get install w3m

You can use the document to text or HTML conversion utilities to convert the document files and view with CLI text editors or web browsers.

Document to text/html conversion tools:

  • catdoc converts *.doc document files to text files.


    sudo apt-get install catdoc

    This program extracts text from MS-Word files, trying to preserve as many special printable characters as possible. catdoc supports everything up to Word-97.

  • poppler-utils provides various CLI tools to manipulate PDF documents, some of which are pdftohtml - PDF to HTML converter, pdftotext - text extraction.


    sudo apt-get install poppler-utils

But if you have LibreOffice installed to your system, you can use it for file conversion (format export) too. For this use:

libreoffice --invisible output_file_extension[:output_filter_name] [--outdir output_dir] file...

(the parameters within square brackets [...] are optional)


Conversion to text file:

libreoffice --invisible --convert-to txt:Text --outdir /home/hash/Desktop /home/hash/Documents/hashDoc.odt

Conversion to HTML file:

libreoffice --invisible --convert-to html --outdir /home/hash/Desktop /home/hash/Documents/hashDoc.odt

Conversion to PDF file:

libreoffice --invisible --convert-to pdf --outdir /home/hash/Desktop /home/hash/Documents/hashDoc.odt

(plug-ins should be pre-installed.)

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  • ..for more information about usage of a command you can use the commandname --help or view manpage documentation with man commandname – precise Feb 9 '14 at 18:56

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