Quick Way to Get Random Sentences for Seed-Data on Linux

When working on a Laravel project, I needed a quick way to seed in some random (but still coherent) sentences.

The ultimate for PHP/Laravel projects is fzaninotto’s Faker, which can generate everything, from addresses to credit cards.

If you’re in need of something quick or less elaborate, then consider using linux’s fortune.

Grab a short sentence/paragraph:

fortune -s

Grab a longer paragraph:

fortune -l

Here’s the man page for fortune.

If you want to process these manually, the text sources can be found in: /usr/share/games/fortunes.

And if you just need a random word, check the /usr/share/dict dir for a bunch of word files.

Random word (Bash script) (source):

WORDLINE=$((($RANDOM * $RANDOM) % $(wc -w /usr/share/dict/words | awk '{print $1}')))"p" && sed -n $WORDLINE /usr/share/dict/words

Random word (PHP script) (source):

$f_contents = file("/usr/share/dict/words");
$line = $f_contents[rand(0, count($f_contents) - 1)];