I just gotten into the mood of trying out firmwares for the ESP8266. There is one that behaves similar to a busybox command line tool. Download the binary from here, flash it to the ESP8266 and connect to it over the serial channel: https://github.com/nekromant/esp8266-frankenstein
So far I’ve used the serial console built into the Arduino IDE. But that’s not always a compelling choice. On a Unix/Posix system you also can use:
screen /dev/tty.usbserial 115200
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