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The 7 Best Linux Terminal Emulators

  • The 7 Best Linux Terminal Emulators

    The 7 Best Linux Terminal Emulators
    These Linux terminal emulators are robust enough for any needs, including business applications.
  • Xterm Terminal Emulator

    Xterm Terminal Emulator

    We're going to start off with xterm for the first terminal emulator. The reason behind this is a simple one. Xterm is available on any Linux distro you can think of. Additionally, it's light weight, desktop environment independent and you can get a lot of work done with it. To run xterm, you only need the X Window system installed. Nothing fancy, you can even run it with the most minimal of desktops.

    Xterm also has some nice customization features. For example, you can change locale, setup your TERM variables from ~/.Xdefaults, setup different keys as modifiers and define specific key bindings. This functionality is helpful if you plan on making xterm your daily terminal emulator.

  • Terminator Terminal Emulator

    Terminator Terminal Emulator

    If you're a sysadmin looking for the best terminal experience possible, odds are pretty good that Terminator is the terminal emulator you're looking for. It's especially powerful if you need to work with multiple instances at the same time.

    Features that make it great include the ability to arrange the terminal windows into a tightly control grid pattern, tabs, drag/drop arranging, keyboard shortcuts and easily customizable appearance for your Terminator installation.

    Did I mention you can install it just about anywhere? Even Mac users can run it using "fink" if they wanted to.

  • Guake Terminal Emulator

    Guake Terminal Emulator

    For the past few years, drop down terminal emulators have been growing in popularity. One of the more popular options in this space is a terminal emulator known as Guake. Unlike other terminals, this one drops down from the top of your screen when a preset key is used to activate it.

    On Ubuntu based installations, Guake is available in two parts. The first is the indicator used to activate Guake when the right key is pressed. The second part is the "preferences" option. This is used to customize and configure your Guake sessions.

    Guake is a useful option for those users who need to have quick access to a terminal, but would prefer to keep it hidden some of the time. For example, if I needed to ssh into a remote server to run updates, I might use Guake to do so and then "hide" the terminal while the remote updates were taking place.

  • Tilda Terminal Emulator

    Tilda Terminal Emulator

    As great as Guake is, Tilda is perhaps better as it offers the same functionality without the bloat. This super lightweight terminal emulator runs exactly the same way as other drop down terminals...with one simple exception – it's light on resource usage.

    Tilda isn't as customizable as Guake happens to be, however you can define the custom launch keys or transparency like you can in other terminal emulators. And let's be honest, setting up the scheme, launch keys and opacity are the most important features for a drop down terminal.

    Tilda is my personal drop down terminal of choice. It's easy to use, stays out of my way and allows me to manage remote servers using Tilda's tabs so that I can manage multiple ssh instances with great ease.

  • GNOME Terminal Emulator

    GNOME Terminal Emulator

    On any system using the GNOME desktop environment, you'll find that the GNOME terminal is provided as the default terminal emulator. GNOME terminal offers its users the ability to setup multiple user profiles, and can be customized to show off background images in the terminal if the user so desires. Plus, you can also set the opacity of the terminal if you want as well.

    One of the features that can be useful in the GNOME terminal is the ability to setup colored text of your own choosing. I've found this to be useful for my eyes as I sometimes find darker colors to be easier on my eyes than those provided by default with GNOME terminal.

    Another useful feature is the text wrapping when you resize the GNOME terminal. Bundle this with tab support and url detection which allows you to click through to open the address in a browser...it's safe to say that GNOME terminal is a solid option for GNOME users.

  • Konsole Terminal Emulator

    Konsole Terminal Emulator

    For those of you who run KDE Plasma, you've likely found yourself using Konsole. Like GNOME's offering, KDE's Konsole offers tight integration while providing the customization features you'd expect from a desktop specific terminal emulator.

    Konsole boasts the same functionality found above with GNOME. However it also provides you with features like terminal split view, notifications, incremental search and a bi-directional text display. I also like the fact that Konsole provides ssh bookmarking. This can be a real time saver when you need to get work done quickly and would rather reduce the keystrokes needed to jump from task to task.

  • Terminology Terminal Emulator

    Terminology Terminal Emulator

    If you've ever found yourself considering the Enlightenment window manager for your workstation, you might want to keep reading. Enlightenment users have access to an interesting terminal emulator called Terminology. Aside from Terminology looking polished, it also follows the Enlightenment work flow in terms of accessing its features. Right click on the Terminology terminal window and your options are immediately presented to you. The terminal is bright, offers two types of split view and if you spend some time learning the advanced features of it – can display images and even play some videos inside of its borders.

    When you setup a split view with Terminology, you'll notice that the border between the spaces is quite faint until your roll your mouse over the separator. This is by design and a welcome option used by myself and other terminal users.

    The settings for Terminology are quite robust. You can select fonts, themes, wallpapers, video, colors, key bindings and a toolkit config to extend the terminal's functionality. Perhaps the most important element of this terminal is the fact it offers so many "helpers" to ensure the right applications are activated when working with email, images, and other items.

  • Best Linux Terminal Emulator For You

    Best Linux Terminal Emulator For You

    It's at this point some of you may feel overwhelmed. After all, there are lot of different options to choose from. To help make this easier, consider the following. If you run a terminal often, then a pull-down terminal might be the best option. However if you spend most of your day in a terminal, then you'd be better off with something like Terminator.

    For everyone else, just use the terminal that comes with your desktop. MATE, XFCE and others all come with their own terminal emulators just as GNOME and KDE do. So if you really don't require one all that often, these are absolutely safe options to use as needed.

    What say you? Have a favorite terminal emulator? Hit the comments, I'd be interested in hearing what your favorite happens to be.

  • 1 of

The 7 Best Linux Terminal Emulators

  • 1 of
  • The 7 Best Linux Terminal Emulators

    The 7 Best Linux Terminal Emulators

    These Linux terminal emulators are robust enough for any needs, including business applications.
  • Xterm Terminal Emulator

    Xterm Terminal Emulator

    We're going to start off with xterm for the first terminal emulator. The reason behind this is a simple one. Xterm is available on any Linux distro you can think of. Additionally, it's light weight, desktop environment independent and you can get a lot of work done with it. To run xterm, you only need the X Window system installed. Nothing fancy, you can even run it with the most minimal of desktops.

    Xterm also has some nice customization features. For example, you can change locale, setup your TERM variables from ~/.Xdefaults, setup different keys as modifiers and define specific key bindings. This functionality is helpful if you plan on making xterm your daily terminal emulator.

  • Terminator Terminal Emulator

    Terminator Terminal Emulator

    If you're a sysadmin looking for the best terminal experience possible, odds are pretty good that Terminator is the terminal emulator you're looking for. It's especially powerful if you need to work with multiple instances at the same time.

    Features that make it great include the ability to arrange the terminal windows into a tightly control grid pattern, tabs, drag/drop arranging, keyboard shortcuts and easily customizable appearance for your Terminator installation.

    Did I mention you can install it just about anywhere? Even Mac users can run it using "fink" if they wanted to.

  • Guake Terminal Emulator

    Guake Terminal Emulator

    For the past few years, drop down terminal emulators have been growing in popularity. One of the more popular options in this space is a terminal emulator known as Guake. Unlike other terminals, this one drops down from the top of your screen when a preset key is used to activate it.

    On Ubuntu based installations, Guake is available in two parts. The first is the indicator used to activate Guake when the right key is pressed. The second part is the "preferences" option. This is used to customize and configure your Guake sessions.

    Guake is a useful option for those users who need to have quick access to a terminal, but would prefer to keep it hidden some of the time. For example, if I needed to ssh into a remote server to run updates, I might use Guake to do so and then "hide" the terminal while the remote updates were taking place.

  • Tilda Terminal Emulator

    Tilda Terminal Emulator

    As great as Guake is, Tilda is perhaps better as it offers the same functionality without the bloat. This super lightweight terminal emulator runs exactly the same way as other drop down terminals...with one simple exception – it's light on resource usage.

    Tilda isn't as customizable as Guake happens to be, however you can define the custom launch keys or transparency like you can in other terminal emulators. And let's be honest, setting up the scheme, launch keys and opacity are the most important features for a drop down terminal.

    Tilda is my personal drop down terminal of choice. It's easy to use, stays out of my way and allows me to manage remote servers using Tilda's tabs so that I can manage multiple ssh instances with great ease.

  • GNOME Terminal Emulator

    GNOME Terminal Emulator

    On any system using the GNOME desktop environment, you'll find that the GNOME terminal is provided as the default terminal emulator. GNOME terminal offers its users the ability to setup multiple user profiles, and can be customized to show off background images in the terminal if the user so desires. Plus, you can also set the opacity of the terminal if you want as well.

    One of the features that can be useful in the GNOME terminal is the ability to setup colored text of your own choosing. I've found this to be useful for my eyes as I sometimes find darker colors to be easier on my eyes than those provided by default with GNOME terminal.

    Another useful feature is the text wrapping when you resize the GNOME terminal. Bundle this with tab support and url detection which allows you to click through to open the address in a browser...it's safe to say that GNOME terminal is a solid option for GNOME users.

  • Konsole Terminal Emulator

    Konsole Terminal Emulator

    For those of you who run KDE Plasma, you've likely found yourself using Konsole. Like GNOME's offering, KDE's Konsole offers tight integration while providing the customization features you'd expect from a desktop specific terminal emulator.

    Konsole boasts the same functionality found above with GNOME. However it also provides you with features like terminal split view, notifications, incremental search and a bi-directional text display. I also like the fact that Konsole provides ssh bookmarking. This can be a real time saver when you need to get work done quickly and would rather reduce the keystrokes needed to jump from task to task.

  • Terminology Terminal Emulator

    Terminology Terminal Emulator

    If you've ever found yourself considering the Enlightenment window manager for your workstation, you might want to keep reading. Enlightenment users have access to an interesting terminal emulator called Terminology. Aside from Terminology looking polished, it also follows the Enlightenment work flow in terms of accessing its features. Right click on the Terminology terminal window and your options are immediately presented to you. The terminal is bright, offers two types of split view and if you spend some time learning the advanced features of it – can display images and even play some videos inside of its borders.

    When you setup a split view with Terminology, you'll notice that the border between the spaces is quite faint until your roll your mouse over the separator. This is by design and a welcome option used by myself and other terminal users.

    The settings for Terminology are quite robust. You can select fonts, themes, wallpapers, video, colors, key bindings and a toolkit config to extend the terminal's functionality. Perhaps the most important element of this terminal is the fact it offers so many "helpers" to ensure the right applications are activated when working with email, images, and other items.

  • Best Linux Terminal Emulator For You

    Best Linux Terminal Emulator For You

    It's at this point some of you may feel overwhelmed. After all, there are lot of different options to choose from. To help make this easier, consider the following. If you run a terminal often, then a pull-down terminal might be the best option. However if you spend most of your day in a terminal, then you'd be better off with something like Terminator.

    For everyone else, just use the terminal that comes with your desktop. MATE, XFCE and others all come with their own terminal emulators just as GNOME and KDE do. So if you really don't require one all that often, these are absolutely safe options to use as needed.

    What say you? Have a favorite terminal emulator? Hit the comments, I'd be interested in hearing what your favorite happens to be.

If you run Linux for any length of time, eventually you're going to figure out that doing some things from the terminal is not only fast but often easier than trying to do the same task from a GUI. This article will provide you with some of the best Linux terminal emulators for those of you needing reliable options for business environments.

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