How to Simulate “The Matrix” Screen Display in Ubuntu 20.04

Last updated: July 22, 2020

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Want to display a scrolling “The Matrix” like screen in Ubuntu desktop? You can do the job easily via a command line tool called cmatrix.

CMatrix is based on the screensaver from The Matrix website. It shows text flying in and out in a terminal like as seen in “The Matrix” movie. It can scroll lines all at the same rate or asynchronously and at a user-defined speed.

1. To install cmatrix, simply open terminal from application launcher and run command:

sudo apt install cmatrix

2. Once installed, run cmatrix command to start the display:


You can press F11 to toggle on (off) terminal FULL-SCREEN mode. And press Ctrl+C (or q) to stop the process.

3. (Optional) There are some command line options. You can get them by running command:

cmatrix -h

Note to use the Linux mode -l option, you need to switch to TTY console (Ctrl+Alt+F3).


I'm a freelance blogger who started using Ubuntu in 2007 and wishes to share my experiences and some useful tips with Ubuntu beginners and lovers. Please comment to let me know if the tutorial is outdated! And, notify me if you find any typo/grammar/language mistakes. English is not my native language. Contact me via Buy me a coffee:

10 responses to How to Simulate “The Matrix” Screen Display in Ubuntu 20.04

  1. Hello Ji m,

    I am also a ubuntu fan, since 2010 and I’ve read, and benefited, from several of your posts and I decided it was time to reply. Firstly to say thanks but also, you ask to be notified of grammatical errors, so

    either: I’m a freelance blogger who started using Ubuntu in 2007 and wish to share my experiences…

    or: I’m a freelance blogger who has been using Ubuntu since 2007 and wish to share my experiences…

    or: I’m a free lance blogger who wishes to share his experiences…..etc……

    I only point this out because you asked – you write more clearly than most English bloggers!

    Keep up the good work.

  2. And what makes it to an autostarting screensaver :)

    • #!/bin/bash

      # chmod to 744 then to run script use ./ it tell the shell to run from current working directory.

      cmatrix -nsr

      # NOTE: # type nano in cli to start text editor. copy and paste script above. to save press ctrl o. Name file press enter then press ctrl x to exit. do a ls to see you have it saved. type chmod 744

      # It should turn green if you run ls again. if it is type ./ which tells terminal to run script from the current directory you in.

      # you can automate it to by find other one liner scripts. The simple the better unless you really bored then make it complicated. Its plenty of Youtube videos that can get you going with bash scripting

  3. Anyone get cmatrix -c to work. I install Japenese langauge pack and no dice.

  4. I am having troubles getting the Japanese letters to work.

  5. When I use cmatrix in full screen, it crashes after a couple of minutes. Otherwise, it runs good if the terminal window is anything but full screen.

  6. In my opinion, “tmatrix” is a lot better and visually more realistic :-)