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Terminal Emulators

This has taken me 34 years to finally get right!

My path to termit (OK, a crap name):

  • xterm in the eighties - it was what we had and life was good
  • rxvt in the nineties - it was lighter when it really counted
  • urxvt/mrxvt in the noughties - it was cooler and I forget why else - it's prettier (no more bitmap fonts)
  • konsole in the (what to call them?) teens - has tabs, menus, search, unlimited scrollback

So, why would I ever stray from konsole?

  • it bloats, often taking up 10% of CPU while dormant
  • it gives up focus when Alt is pressed - and my thumb can't resist the Alt key
  • it refuses to pass C-S-Left/Right to bash and I love to tie that to shell-forward-word to skip over long filenames

I started a discussion with the really cool guys at i3wm and a number of candidates came up including several that were new to me such as lilyterm and termit.

termit just sails past all of the problems with konsole (although the configuration took me a week to get just right). And sensibly, it can map C-Tab and C-S-Tab to next/prev tab - something gnome-terminal, xfce-term, lxterminal etc just cannot do.

Here's my config (put it into ~/.config/lilyterm/default.conf):


For the record I tried heaps including: gnome-terminal tilda lxterminal xfce4-terminal termit sakura roxterm others … ?

Also see this ancient 2004 article which really needs an update: The Grumpy Editor's guide to terminal emulators -

terminal.1484392137.txt.gz · Last modified: 2017/01/14 11:08 by admin