View and Render .nfo files correctly in Ubuntu with NFO Viewer

Posted by on Nov 23, 2008 in Linux, Ubuntu4 comments

aXXo NFO FileIf you regularly explore the more nefarious side of the internet, you’ll be familiar with .nfo files. NFO files are ASCII Art in the CP437 codepage, and used by various  distribution groups to mark the fact that they released this particular file – like a label or logo. Being an Ubuntu user you’re probably also aware that .nfo files are opened in the text editor by default, which, while may suffice to view the information, it doesn’t render the file fully.

Please note: I couldn’t possibly advocate visiting websites such as, or to acquire your favourite films, music, etc. but I hear both sites have much to offer… although I must admit, I have accidentally clicked on a link in the past which happened to download a “torrent” file, which then inadvertently opened a program called “Deluge” (I found this purely by accident, of course, when I was idly tapping keys in the terminal, and just so happened to type: sudo apt-get install deluge-torrent). To my surprise, this download contained amongst others, an .nfo file, which I really really wanted to render properly (I deleted all other files, of course – although it was approximately 2 hours after I downloaded them, since I couldn’t work out why, after accidentally double clicking one of the other files, Ubuntu opened up mplayer and began displaying moving pictures… must be a bug).

Anyway, I digress – There are of course, many legitimate .nfo files, since there is a whole culture dedicated to ASCII Art. This is how to view the .nfo files in all their glory:

NFO Viewer is a simple tool for, well, viewing NFO files. It requires Python, python-gtk2, intltool and gettext, so if you don’t have them open a Terminal (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal) and run:

sudo apt-get install python python-gtk2 intltool gettext

Once the prerequisites are installed, you can download the tarball from the NFO Viewer site. As usual, everything I download ends up on my Desktop (I really must do something about that…), so from a Terminal, I ran:

cd ~/Desktop
tar -zxvf nfoview-1.2.1.tar.gz
cd nfoview-1.2.1

Installing is pretty simple:

sudo ./ install

If you have any problems installing, you may also need python-dev (I don’t have this, and it installed fine):

sudo apt-get install python-dev

The recommended font for NFO Viewer is “Terminus”, although the link on the NFO Viewer website seems to be dead, so here’s another link to Terminus. It can be downloaded and installed directly from the Terminal:

cd ~/.fonts

Remember to refresh the font cache:

sudo fc-cache -fv

NFO Viewer can be run from the Terminal:


but of course, file association is set up automatically, so NFO files will open by default in NFO Viewer, and the Terminus font is also used by default.

Dunno how it got here guv, I swear!

Dunno how it got here guv, I swear!

Tags: ,