(Last Updated On: February 19, 2019)

Everyone who is passionate and is engaged in FOSS especially Linux knows that life has never been better than being on an amazing terminal typing commands away like a boss. It is with great enthusiasm that the community, teams, and individuals have done a wonderful job in coming up with top-notch terminals for our enjoyment. Thank you all amazing people for making our terminal life worth it. This article is more of a celebration to you all. Let us now get busy.

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.”
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

rxvt-unicode

Being in the arena for quite a longtime, rxvt-unicode is a is a fast, lightweight, customizable terminal emulator forked from the old fossil rxvt. It has cool features which include the following:

  • International language support through Unicode, transparency
  • The ability to display multiple font types and support for Perl extensions.
  • Crash-free. At least I try, but rxvt-unicode certainly crashes much less often than rxvt and its many forks, and reproducible bugs get fixed immediately.
  • Completely flicker-free.
  • Re-wraps long lines instead of splitting or cutting them on resizes.
  • Full combining character support (unlike xterm :).
  • Multiple fonts supported at the same time: No need to choose between nice japanese and ugly latin, or no japanese and nice latin characters
  • Supports Xft and core fonts in any combination.
  • Can easily be embedded into other applications.
  • All documentation accessible through manpages.
  • Locale-independent XIM support.
  • Many small improvements, such as improved and corrected terminfo, improved secondary screen modes, italic and bold font support, tinting and shading.
  • Encapsulation of privileged operations in a separate process (improves security).
  • Optimised for local and remote connections.
  • Stores text in Unicode (either UCS-2 or UCS-4).
  • Uses locale-correct input, output and width: as long as your system supports the locale, rxvt-unicode will display correctly.
  • Daemon mode: one daemon can open multiple windows on multiple displays, which improves memory usage and startup time considerably.

eDEX-UI

Have you ever wished to have a terminal interface that resembles what you watch in sci-fi movies? Well, eDEX-UI is here for your service. This terminal is a fullscreen, cross-platform terminal emulator and system monitor. While keeping a futuristic look and feel, it strives to maintain a certain level of functionality and to be usable in real-life scenarios, with the larger goal of bringing science-fiction UXs to the mainstream.
The following features of eDEX-UI must be what you are looking for:

  • Fully featured terminal emulator with tabs, colors, mouse events, and support for curses and curses-like applications.
  • Real-time system (CPU, RAM, processes) and network (GeoIP, active connections, transfer rates) monitoring.
  • Full support for touch-enabled displays, including an on-screen keyboard.
  • Directory viewer that follows the CWD (current working directory) of the terminal.
  • Advanced customization using themes, on-screen keyboard layouts, CSS injections.

Tilix

From Tlix Github page, This terminal is an advanced GTK3 tiling terminal emulator that follows the Gnome Human Interface Guidelines. It is one of those tiling terminals that you will never get tired of because of the following:

  • Persistent Layouts
  • Grouping of terminals can be saved and loaded from disk.
  • Drag and Drop
  • Terminals can be re-arranged using drag and drop both within and between windows.
  • Image Support
  • Transparent background image support.
  • Custom links
  • Terminals support custom titles and custom hyperlinks.
  • Multiple Panes
  • Layout terminals in any fashion by splitting them horizontally or vertically.
  • Notifications
  • Supports notifications when processes are completed out of view.

Aminal

Aminal is a modern terminal emulator for Mac/Linux/Windows implemented in Golang and utilising OpenGL.
Let us look at the features Aminal provides to the terminal lovers out there:

  • Unicode support
  • OpenGL rendering
  • Customisation options
  • True colour support
  • Support for common ANSI escape sequences a la xterm
  • Scrollback buffer
  • Clipboard access
  • Clickable URLs
  • Multi platform support (Windows, Linux, OSX)
  • Sixel support
  • Hints/overlays
  • Built-in patched fonts for powerline
  • Retina display support

The Aminal Team say that the project is still experimental at the moment, so play around with it without solely relying on it as the main place o interact with your systems until their house is in order. Furthermore, ensure the latest graphics card drivers are installed before use.

Terminus

Terminus terminal can be best described as a cross-platform, open source, web technology whose inspiration emanated from Hyper. Hyper is a beautiful terminal built on web technologies. Terminus can be customized in a highly flexible manner with a variety of themes and all of those adorable colors for your fill. Its features include:

  • Full Unicode support including double-width characters
  • Doesn’t choke on fast-flowing outputs
  • Proper shell-like experience on Windows including tab completion (via Clink)
  • PowerShell (+Core), WSL (Bash on Windows), Git-Bash, Cygwin, Cmder and CMD support
  • Remembers your tabs
  • Integrated SSH client and connection manager

Alacritty

If you are the kind of a person who thrives on perfromance of a terminal, then stop and read about Alacritty. This is a terminal emulator with a strong focus on simplicity and performance. With such a strong focus on performance because it uses GPU for rendering hence enabling optimizations that simply aren’t possible without it. Included features are carefully considered and you can always expect Alacritty to be blazingly fast. It is fully configurable though the defaults are quite reasonable to keep.

Upterm – terminal emulator for the 21st century

We wonder how the world would be without FOSS. With the myriad of terminals out there to befit every one looking for something different or in alignment with their taste, so much more continues to be developed. Even though the lead developer of Upterm passed away, we all celebrate the kind of work he produced to the world. He did his part of making the world a better place. Upterm (formerly known as Black Screen) is an open source IDE in the world of terminals. Strictly speaking, the software is both a terminal emulator and an interactive shell based on Electron. It uses Electron, TypeScript, ReactJS, as well as the Monaco Editor – the code editor that powers Visual Studio Code.
Its top features include the following;

  • Keyboard shortcuts.
  • Increase/decrease the font size.
  • Prompt and status bar.
  • Language Server Protocol support – a widely adopted “language smartness provider” communication protocol.
  • History search.
  • Supports bash and zsh shells.
  • AppImages are provided.
  • Minimal design User Interface.
  • Smart searching.
  • git integration.
  • Auto-completion including code and parenthesis:

What is important is that Upterm is looking for maintainers. So if you have what it takes, please hop in and continue the spirit that was started before..

Termite

Termite is a minimal VTE-based terminal emulator. It is a modal application, similar to Vim, with an insert mode and selection mode where keybindings have different functions. Termite is based on the VTE library. It is one terminal you will love to interact with on a daily basis especially when it is married to i3 window manager. Its major features include:

  • Flexibility
  • Numerous Themes
  • Has many key bindings fo one to consider using for short cuts
  • Integrates with other applications e.g Oh-my-zsh
  • History search.
  • Supports bash and zsh shells.
  • AppImages are provided.
  • Minimal design User Interface.

Guide: How to install termite on Ubuntu/Debian

Hyper Terminal

Hyper is an amazing terminal that is built with nothing more than HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. it runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux distros. Its features are awesome if you like customizing your terminal to your liking. To name just a few of the features, they include:

  • Support for plugins
  • You can also find a massive list of plugins on the Awesome Hyper repo. But here are a few that I like the most!
  • Can be themed
  • You can change the style to your taste and spice it up with themes and plugins e.g oh-my-zsh
  • It is broadly customizable as it has been discussed before

Conclusions

There is so much that the FOSS community has brought into life as it can be deduced from the projects described above. Your hard work and dedication together with relentless contribution makes all the difference. Make sure to try one or two of these terminals and get a feeling of each. If you can contribute to their work, don’t hesitate. They need you. Cheers guys.

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