For folks familiar with Autonomy / Verity K2 there is a command line / console based tool for searching collections called rcvdk (and rck2, for socket based vs. file system based)
If you're accessing a Lucene system via SSH or Telnet, you might like a similar tool. There are at least 4 or 5 options (well... one of them is a workaround). Disclaimer / TODO: I would be much more helpful if I would actually provide details/examples of any of these methods...
1: Use LucLi, which is a Lucene command line class. It reads from standard in and writes to standard out. So far I haven't found a good exmple of it yet. Lots of hits on Google, but all of them non-narrative.
2: Use the Java "bean shell", which lets you interact with Java Beans, I found several copies of Andrzej Bialecki's post:
...you can use BeanShell - just put the bsh*.jar in lib/, and then do:
# bin/nutch bsh.Interpreter
BeanShell 2.0b4 - by Pat Niemeyer ...
bsh % import org.apache.lucene.index.*;
bsh % import org.apache.lucene.document.*;
bsh % ir = IndexReader.open("indexes/part-00001");
bsh % print(ir.numDocs());
3: (the workaround) Use the graphic tool Luke via SSH tunneling of X-Windows. This is where you redirect a TCP/IP port over an SSH login. Luke is a popular graphical based Java utility for looking at Lucene indices; I believe it's implemented in Java Swing (so it therefore requires a local graphical context to display the UI)
4: Write a small Hello World style Java program. I actually do this quite a bit, to get exactly what I want.
5: In theory, use Python as a front end, and use the interactive nature of Python's command prompt. There are likely at least 4 ways this could be done: a) the old Lupy distribution, b & c) one of the two PyLucene distributions, or d) via Jython (java based Python, which can call Java classes)
I hope to update this post if I get more details. Feel free to ping us if you're reading this months from now and feeling stuck...