Fast, flexible, calculating from the command line

GUI calculators may be user-friendly, but they don't offer much comfort for a command-line power user. Fortunately, console-based tools such as bc, Genius, and Calc offer distinct advantages over their GUI counterparts.

Command-line calculators offer most if not all of the features GUI calculators have, and have a lot more going for them:

  • They have interactive and non-interactive usage modes.
  • They can be used in a script, as well as run their own scripts.
  • They are efficient to use -- your hands remain on the keyboard.
  • They have many built-in functions and variables.
  • They support on-the-fly definition of new functions and variables.

While Genius is the most advanced (and probably stable) of the aforementioned console calculators, Calc is the most user-friendly, and provides more capabilities than the average user will need. You can find Calc in the repositories of many distributions, and it can also run under Windows.