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Typewriter sounds on Linux

Sébastien Dubois / November 23, 2019

2 min read

A beautiful typewriter. Picture courtesy of Luca Onniboni: https://unsplash.com/@lucaonniboni

I might be somewhat nostalgic, but when I was a child, there was an old typewriter at home and it has always fascinated me.

I’ve spend a lot of time playing with it, trying to write faster and faster. Of course, more often than not, I ended up blocking the characters because only one of those could be used at a time. If you’ve ever used one of those, then you know what I mean ;-)

I believe that using a real typewriter is one of the things that has led me to enjoy writing. Since then, each time that I’ve decided to write a piece, I’ve always looked for a way to have the familiar typewriter sound.

It might sound stupid, but I just enjoy it; especially now that my typing speed has dramatically increased (last time I checked I wrote around 100–120 words per minute).

I’ve been using WriteMonkey (https://writemonkey.com/) for quite a long time, but recently I wrote a book using AsciiDoctor with Visual Studio Code and write my Medium articles right here within Google Chrome… Finally, my current book project will be written using either Scrivener (https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener/overview) or bibisco (https://www.bibisco.com/).

Since all of those don’t have an option for adding a nice typewriter sound, I’ve looked for alternatives…

I want to hear it!

I could not find any package providing this (awesome) feature (yet), apart from this one: https://github.com/BillBillBillBill/Tickeys-linux

Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to download the .deb file and couldn’t convince myself to just build it from source (my Gentoo days are now long gone!).

Then I found this one: https://github.com/aizquier/typewriter-sounds

It looked promising and simple enough (gotta be careful with actual key loggers! :D), but failed to run on my machine due to an issue with ALSA.

Since I really wanted this, I’ve forked the project and made the tiny tweaks necessary to get it up and running: https://github.com/dsebastien/typewriter-sounds

Now I can get my dear typewriter sound anywhereeeeeeeeeeeeeee! :D

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