Sep 092013

Cheat allows you to create and view interactive cheatsheets on the command-line. It was designed to help remind *nix system administrators of options for commands that they use frequently, but not frequently enough to remember. *Depends only on python.



The next time you’re forced to disarm a nuclear weapon without consulting Google, you may run:

cheat tar

You will be presented with a cheatsheet resembling:

# To extract an uncompressed archive:
tar -xvf /path/to/foo.tar

# To extract a .gz archive:
tar -xzvf /path/to/foo.tgz

# To create a .gz archive:
tar -czvf /path/to/foo.tgz /path/to/foo/

# To extract a .bz2 archive:
tar -xjvf /path/to/foo.tgz

# To create a .bz2 archive:
tar -cjvf /path/to/foo.tgz /path/to/foo/

To see what cheatsheets are availble, run cheat with no arguments.

Note that, while cheat was designed primarily for *nix system administrators, it is agnostic as to what content it stores. If you would like to use cheat to store notes on your favorite cookie recipes, feel free.
Installing Python for all users (requires root)

# apt-get install Python (On Debian based Systems)
# yum install python (On RedHat based Systems)

Install Pip

# apt-get install python-pip (On Debian based Systems)
# yum install python-pip (On RedHat based Systems)

Installing in your home directory

Download and Install Cheat
We will be downloading ‘cheat’ from Git. Make sure you have package ‘git’ installed, if not better install this first.

# apt-get install git (On Debian based Systems)
# yum install git (On RedHat based Systems)

Next, install the required python dependencies by running following command.

# pip install docopt pygments

Now, clone the Git repository of cheat.

# git clone

Move to the cheat directory and run ‘‘ (a python script).

# cd cheat
# python install

If installation goes smoothly, you should be able to see a cheat version installed on the system.

# cheat -v
cheat 2.0.9

(This was installed to my/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/cheat directory )

Here are the currently installed commands for Cheat: (ignore the & __init__.pyc files)

$ls cheatsheets/
7z         bash      diff    history       ls           od       screen       strace     wget
ab         chmod     distcc  ifconfig      lsof         openssl  sed          systemctl  xargs
apk        chown     emacs   indent        markdown     pacman   shred        tail       yaourt
apparmor   convert   find   mkdir        pdftk    sockstat     tar        youtube-dl
apt-cache  crontab   gcc     __init__.pyc  mount        php      sort         tcpdump    yum
apt-get    curl      gdb     iptables      mysql        ps       split        tee
aptitude   cut       git     irssi         mysqldump    python   sqlmap       tmux
asciiart   date      gpg     iwconfig      ncat         rm       ssh          top
asterisk   dd        grep    journalctl    netstat      rsync    ssh-copy-id  truncate
at         df        gs      less          nmap         sam2p    ssh-keygen   uname
awk        dhclient  head    ln            notify-send  scp      stdout       vim


Required Configuration for Cheat

You must have an ‘EDITOR‘ environment variable set in ‘~/.bashrc’ file. Open the user ‘.bashrc‘ file and add the following line to it.

export EDITOR =/usr/bin/nano

You can use your favourite editor here in place of ‘nano‘. Save the file and logout. Again Login to make the changes taken into effect.

Next, add the cheat autocompletion feature to enable command-line autocompletion for different shells. To enable autocompletion, simply clone the ‘cheat.bash‘ script and copy the script to the appropriate path in your system.

# wget 
# mv cheat.bash /etc/bash_completion.d/

NOTE: The team has uploaded other shell’s auto completion scrip to Git, which may be cloned and used in case of respective Shell. Use the following link for other shell’s auto completion script.

  1. Auto Completion Script for Various Shells

Optionally, you can also enable syntax highlighting, if desired. To active syntax highlighting feature, add a CHEATCOLORS environment variable in your ‘.bashrc‘ file.

export CHEATCOLORS=true

The Cheat application default program only serves the basic and most used commands. The content of cheat-sheet resides at location ~/.cheat/. Manual Cheatsheets can be added to this location to make the application rich.

# cheat -e xyz

This will open xyz cheat-sheet if available. If not it will create one. The cheat-sheet will be opened in the default EDITOR, we set in .bashrc in the configuration stage, above.

Usage of Cheat with Some Commands

A tarball may be *.gz or *.bz2 or *.zip or *.xz. So, what option to be used where?

Linux Tar Command

I never run dd command, no matter how much sure I am about the command before consulting and cross checking it at more than one location. The things seems to be easy now.

Linux dd Command

A ‘uname‘ command help.

Linux uname Command

A short ifconfig command line tutorial, in action.

Linux ifconfig Command

A ‘top‘ command, one of the most important command for Admin and Normal User.

Linux top Command

How about Cheating the cheat command (though the other sense)? Get a list of available commands, the cheat-sheet of which is installed in the System.

List All Linux Commands

Search Cheat-sheet with specific keyword.

Search Cheat Sheet

See the location of built-in cheat-sheets for all the commands.

$ cheat -d 


Copy the in-built cheat-sheet to your native directory.

# cp /usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/cheat/cheatsheets/* /home/avi/.cheat/


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