Tools to Help You Work


IPython is an interactive interpreter that aims to be a very convenient shell for working with Python.

Features of note:

  • Tab completion
  • ? and ?? help
  • history
  • CTRL-P search (in addition to standard CTRL-R/emacs)
  • use an editor to write stuff, and export stuff into an edtor
  • colored exception tracebacks
  • automatic function/parameter call stuff
  • auto-quoting with ‘,’
  • ‘run’ (similar to execfile) but with -n, -i

See Quick tips for even more of a laundry list!

screen and VNC

screen is a non-graphical tool for running multiple text windows in a single login session.


  • multiple windows w/hotkey switching
  • copy/paste between windows
  • detach/resume

VNC is a (free) graphical tool for persistent X Windows sessions (and Windows control, too).

To start:

% vncserver

WARNING: Running VNC on an open network is a big security risk!!


Trac is a really nice-looking and friendly project management Web site. It integrates a Wiki with a version control repository browser, a ticket management system, and some simple roadmap controls.

In particular, you can:

  • browse the source code repository
  • create tickets
  • link checkin comments to specific tickets, revisions, etc.
  • customize components, permissions, roadmaps, etc.
  • view project status

It integrates well with subversion, which is “a better CVS”.