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fortune is a simple program that displays random poignant, inspirational, silly or snide phrase from a database of quotations. The fortune command-line utility is part of the fortune-mod package.


Install fortune-mod or fortune-mod-gitAUR.

  • Meta packages which provide quotes from specific sources are available in the AUR under the prefix "fortune-mod-". For example, fortune-mod-archlinuxAUR contains Arch-related quotes.
  • You can use wikiquote-fortuneAUR to generate fortune files from wikiquote pages, using the syntax wikiquote-fortune X, where X is the page's name. To use these files, run $ fortune /path/to/quote.


  • Command-line in a terminal:
$ fortune
It is Texas law that when two trains meet each other at a railroad crossing,
each shall come to a full stop, and neither shall proceed until the other has gone.
  • To display a random quote when launching an interactive terminal, add the fortune command to the rc configuration file of your preferred shell:
# ~/.bashrc
# ~/.dashrc
  • To display a random quote when logging into a login terminal, add the fortune command to the profile configuration file of your preferred shell:
# ~/.profile
Note: fortune displays quotes and phrases deemed by its maintainer to be non-offensive. Aphorisms can be enabled as a mix of offensive/non-offensive or as potentially offensive output only. See fortune(6) for more information.

Creating custom files

In order to create a custom file, you must first create a file containing the quotes. Between each quote you must add a line containing only the % character. Save this file using whatever name you want, for example myquotes. Then, run strfile myquotes in a terminal, in order to enable random access of the quotes. You can now access the quotes by executing fortune myquotes in a terminal. For this command to work you must be on the same directory as the myquotes and myquotes.dat files. If you want your quotes to be accessible by just running the fortune command, you must move both files into the /usr/share/fortune/ directory. If you want to make any changes to your file, repeat from the start.


See ASCII art#Cowsay.


See ASCII art#Ponysay.

See also