inxi FAQs:

Page Version: 2.3
Page Updated: 2023-01-14

Some things are not obvious, so here's a few questions and answers.

List of Frequently Asked (or 'Could be Asked') Questions

  1. I want to update to latest git inxi version but I get an error message saying updates have been disabled
  2. inxi output piped to 'more' looks weird
  3. The inxi help menu shoots off the screen when I run it.
  4. How to use the json/xml output.
  5. Does inxi support BSDs?

Q: I want to update to latest git inxi version but I get an error message saying updates have been disabled

A: That's right, if you installed inxi using a Debian / Ubuntu package, and maybe other repositories too, some distributions have a rule that things like -U should not exist because the package manager should always do the updating. This is a fine rule, but sometimes you really just need or want a newer inxi version, either for testing, or because of a new feature, or a fixed bug. (NOTE: 2015-08-22 inxi source control was moved to github. The latest inxi from googlecode and all current versions of inxi now have the updated paths for github branches).

Open /etc/inxi.conf (check first to see if it exists with cat /etc/inxi.conf). If you see the variable there, then do the following, using sudo or root to edit the file:

## to

Alternately, you can just create a new entry in the config file:

touch /etc/inxi.conf && echo 'B_ALLOW_UPDATE=true' >> /etc/inxi.conf

# if your system requires sudo (root disabled), then do this:
sudo touch /etc/inxi.conf && sudo echo 'B_ALLOW_UPDATE=true' >> /etc/inxi.conf

What this does is create the /etc/inxi.conf file if it's not present, though it probably is, then add as the last line the reset of the variable.

Now, when you try to update inxi with: inxi -U as root or sudo, everything will be fine. You also get a new man page with this update.

NOTE: remember, however, that the package management system does NOT know about this change, so next time you upgrade your system, whatever current inxi version is in the repo if it's been updated since your last upgrade will replace your existing one, which you can tell because the inxi version number will change.

But this edit will stay 'sticky', and you can then just update inxi as usual, the preference set here will not be replaced, at least not usually.


Q: inxi output piped to 'more' looks weird

NOTE: this problem only exists in legacy inxi, 2.3.56 and older. New inxi will remove the color codes automatically when you pipe or redirect inxi output. This includes less/more.

If I use more to give convenient screen height blocks of output

inxi <options> | more

the lines don't wrap correctly, long lines get shoved to the next line the terminal/console output, but it's messy.

A: That's correct, I noticed this recently when testing long line output in shell. There is nothing I know of that can fix this for 'more', what is happening, I think, is that "more" is ignoring the color code characters when calculating the line width, instead of just using the width of the actual text as it handles the length of each line. In other words, if the output is 100 characters, more thinks that the output is actually 100+all the characters of the color code variables, which will then make the bad wraps as more tries to handle that. I had no idea more could create this type of issue, but apparently it can.

The solution in this case is to set the inxi colors to -c 0, for example:

inxi -v7 -c 0

Then the output will wrap neatly as intended since there are no longer any color code characters in the physical string. This is useful to remember if you are out of X, in a terminal with very narrow width, for example default 80 columns.


Q: The inxi help menu shoots off the screen when I run it.

Yes, it's long. Not as long as the man page, but it's long. If you are out of X and can't scroll your terminal client (like Konsole, Xterm, Aterm, Gnome-terminal), all you have to do is use the more command, like so:

inxi -Fxx -fr | more

As you read down the screen, you'll note the help output stopped at exactly one screen height. To get to the next screen, just hit your space bar, and it will show the next screen of output. Or to move down one line at a time, use your enter key, that moves it one line at a time.

Now you can scroll down at your own pace.

They claim more allows scrolling up again, but it doesn't work on my installs.

If you want to go up and down the menu, use less. The scroll down options are the same as more, but the up options also work.

inxi -Fxx -fr | less

To scroll back up, hit the b key, or ctrl + b - u or ctrl + u goes up half a screen. You can also use a number for u, like: 5u

If you use a number, that will become the new default up count of lines to go up with each u.

See: man less for more information.

To get out of less, hit the q key.

Now you know.


Q: Does inxi support BSDs?

A: Yes, sort of. FreeBSD support is decent though incomplete. OpenBSD support is weaker, because each BSD insists on using its own set of tools, that have different syntaxes, so trying to actually support the BSDs completely is essentially impossible, at least if you want a life.

To see what works in your BSD flavor, just run (using the latest inxi from github):

inxi -v8

This triggers almost everything in inxi. Then you can see what is supported, what needs root, and what is not supported in your BSD flavor. Each line should tell you if it supports BSD or not.

I spent quite a while working on BSD support but in the end, I decided I'd just try to make sure basic functionality works on FreeBSD and OpenBSD, and after that, it takes too much time to deal with the other BSDs. The user base for each is simply too small and fragmented to warrant any more dev time. The core functions do more or less work in some cases. For example, -R works for zfs raid, quite well. But some things you just can't get easily from BSDs at all as regular user, and I don't like adding too many things that require root to get data for.

As of 2018-05 -s lm-sensors based data does not work, OpenBSD will work soon since that data is available (ipmi sensors will work with BSDs if you have current inxi and the ipmi sensors tool), -o does not work. -M works with dmidecode as root, or with OpenBSD.

In general inxi is not going to get as much dev time for BSDs because the programming man-hours vs users helped math just doesn't work out very well, but I will keep trying to expand support over time since it's an interesting challenge to try to assemble data without a lot of tools.

Patches are accepted as long as they are coherent.