Buku - Manage Browser Bookmarks from Linux Command Line

Buku is a command-line bookmark manager application. It is simple, easy to configure and lightweight tool and works perfectly fine on almost all Linux flavors. It has been developed in Python3 and SQLite3.

In this article, we will review the important features, installation, and usage process for buku tool on Ubuntu and CentOS operating system.

Important Features of Buku

Here are some of the noteworthy features of Buku tool. (Just to add a fun fact, the developer of the tool named this project after his son's nick name )

  • It has built-in encryption mechanism which lets you encrypt your bookmark database easily.
  • You can use this tool to import bookmarks exported from a different browser, i.e Bookmarks exported from chrome can be imported to firefox  and vice versa.
  • Buku's database is portable, that means if you use multiple devices and you can use the database file from one device on other one without any issues.
  • It can automatically fetch bookmark titles from world wide web.
  • It offers a great search feature; you can directly open search results in your default browser.

Installing Buku on Ubuntu 16 and CentOS 7

Let's get started on installing this tool on Ubuntu and CentOS system.  As already mentioned in the introductory paragraph of this article, this tool requires Python3 and SQLite3. Launch your Ubuntu system terminal and run the following command to install these pre-requisites.

sudo apt install python3-cryptography python3-bs4

CentOS 7 users should install these dependencies by using the following command:

sudo yum install python3-cryptography python3-bs4

We also need to have Git installed on our system, run following commands to install it on Ubuntu and CentOS systems respectively.

sudo apt-get install git

sudo yum install git

Any instructions past this step are valid for both Ubuntu and CentOS systems.

That's it, our Linux systems are all ready to install Buku now, Run following git command to clone its online repository to your Linux system.

git clone https://github.com/jarun/Buku/
Buku Clone

It should hardly take a minute to complete the clone process, go into the newly downloaded directory now.

cd buku

Here run below-mentioned command to install Buku. It will take less than 30 seconds to complete the installation process.

sudo make install
Buku Install

Congratulations ! Command line Bookmark Manager has been installed now, you can verify its installation by using "whereis" command.

whereis buku
whereis buku

Using Buku

Let's demonstrate the use of Buku with the help of few examples, we will be showing you how to add, delete, import, export, encrypt, decrypt and perform search operations using Buku command line.

Adding / Deleting / Updating Bookmarks

Let's see how to add a new URL to bookmarks from command line, here is the command syntax.

buku -a URL

E.g, to add msn.com to your bookmark, use command as:

buku -a msn.com
buku add bookmark

Similarly, to remove a bookmark you need to specify the its ID.

buku -d 16
delete bookmark

In order to update the URL in bookmark, run following command, make sure you are using correct URL ID. URL ID can be seen by opening the bookmark file.

buku -u 11
update bookmark

It will automatically search the internet for the URL referenced above and will update it accordingly.

Importing Bookmarks

First of all make sure that you have a backup file of your current bookmarks in HTML format. Let's assume that your have exported your system's firefox current bookmarks to a file named "bookmarks.html", here is the command to import this bookmark file using this utility.

buku -i bookmarks.html

Following screenshot will depict the above mentioned process. It will list all entries being imported.

import bookmarks

Exporting Bookmarks

In the above mentioned step, we learned the process to import bookmarks via command line, lets try to export the contents of our current browser bookmarks, use following command:

buku -e bookmarks.html

Here is the screenshot of the export process completed successfully.

export bookmark

Encrypting Bookmarks

If your bookmark contains sensitive data, you can easily encrypt bookmark database by using the following Buku command.  It will move the bookmark database to a locked state.

buku -l

During the encryption process, it will ask to specify password for the decryption of this file.

encrypt bookmark

Decrypting Bookmarks

Here is the command to decrypt the locked bookmark file. You need to provide correct password for decryption to take place.

buku -k
decrypt bookmark

Opening Bookmarks

You can open (search) bookmark file using following syntax, where replace "searchtext" with your actual search string.

buku -s searchtext

I.e. to search "Linoxide", type above command as:

buku -s Linoxide

Following screenshot should further clarify this process.

search bookmark

Want to learn more about Buku ?

You can use following command to view all available help and options for buku command line utility.

buku --help


In this article, we learned about the installation, features, and usage process for a command line bookmark manager application Buku. It is lightweight and not a resource-hungry application. It hardly consumes any amount of system resources. For command line Linux lovers, this utility is a must-have. It is a completely freeware application, give it a try today!

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