The Project Aisle

A Sprinter Lighttrain (SLT) for your terminal

slt is kind of like sl, but instead of a steam locomotive it’s an NS Sprinter Lighttrain (SLT).

A Sprinter Lighttrain appearing from a terminal window
There’s a thin line between “funny” and “annoying”, and it’s serviced by SLTs.

I’ve always been sort of a train guy. As a toddler I played with wooden train sets, but so did everyone else. My parents bought me a Fleischmann H0 starter set for my tenth birthday, but 22 years later my model train collection still hasn’t grown beyond that starter set. I spent more time riding trains than most other people I know, but mostly because I lived far away from university and work, and public transportation was the only affordable option. I even worked in the public transportation sector for several years, but it wasn’t really a deliberate choice – it just happened to be an opportunity that presented itself.

I’m also sort of an ASCII art guy. I occasionally use ASCII art to draw simple diagrams for work, but only when I don’t have access to real diagramming tools. Once in a while I try to make handcrafted ASCII art, but most of the time I make my drawings using tools like CSS, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Excel.

These two sort-of-passions, trains and ASCII art, come together in slt; a command line utility that shows an ASCII art animation of a passing . It’s a spiritual successor to sl, which has likely amused (or annoyed) millions of fat-fingering sysadmins all over the world since the mid 90s.

The source code for slt can be found in the chunfeilung/slt GitHub repository, which also includes a few examples that show how slt works.