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What is your favourite terminal program?

Are you a xterm traditionalist or an eterm fanboy?
Do you stick with what comes with your windowing environment:
gnome-terminal, konsole, cmd.exe or
Maybe aterm is more your thing or even rxvt?

Let us know!

This is a poll, so please only one terminal per answer. Upvote your choice, tell us why in a comment.


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closed as not constructive by mgorven, Wesley, Mark Henderson Jul 6 '12 at 1:43

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Should mark this community-wiki – squillman Jun 3 '09 at 22:05

41 Answers 41

up vote 4 down vote accepted
  • I install XFCE terminal now whenever I have X, it has all the features you'd expect and it does it all well.
Chose this answer because I didn't know XFCE terminal and it is what I was looking for. The winners are Putty, and Gnome Termnial, but XFCE terminal is the insider tip. screen is great, it doesn't qualify though. – Ludwig Weinzierl Jun 7 '09 at 18:48
I think you shouldn't mark any answer as "accepted" in a poll like this. Even if it matches some criteria of what you were looking for (that was not mentioned in the question). – Jonik Jun 8 '09 at 12:54

While I am on windows I use putty.

Why? Because cmd.exe doesn't do ssh. – Bratch Jun 3 '09 at 23:50
Oh it can do that too. Without cygwin. – grawity Jun 4 '09 at 4:42 when using Mac OS X

share is alright, but the fact that it doesn't support 256 colors drives me insane. – Kamil Kisiel Jun 3 '09 at 22:58
iTerm is ways better – cljk Oct 24 '12 at 8:11

gnu screen, hands down.

i don't think this is exactly a terminal, but i upvoted you anyway cuz screen is awesome. – Roy Rico Jun 3 '09 at 22:46
Yeah, I know it's not really a terminal program, but hey, it doesn't really matter if you use rxvt, gnome-terminal, konsole, xterm, etc. Inside, you've always got screen, and that's what matters. For all intents and purposes, it is my terminal. – slacy Jun 3 '09 at 23:02

Gnome Terminal

I find gnome-terminal very useful for managing a whole pile of servers. Tabbed windows, and color coding make it nice to use this way. – Brent Jun 3 '09 at 23:34
Although I like the simplicity of xterm, sometimes I need the UTF-8 support of gnome-terminal. And I can configfure the colours! xterm's blue is horribly dark... – staticsan Jun 4 '09 at 6:39
As a note, xterm has UTF-8 support (may need recompilation), and supports configurable colors (anything in #RRGGBB format) out of the box :) – hark Jun 4 '09 at 13:30
But gnome-terminal doesn't support blinking text. – Teddy Jan 8 '10 at 12:33

iTerm on OS X.

I still use this over on Leopard because of the Cmd+1..9 shortcuts - which jumps between tabs in iTerm, but between windows in Terminal.. Also iTerm's key-remapping tools are much more flexible (for example I have ctrl+3 send # - since this keyboard doesn't have a # key, and the alt+3 shortcut doesn't work when alt is used as meta..) – dbr Jun 8 '09 at 16:19

SecureCRT (Windows).

Seconded.. Much better than putty, IMHO. Upvote for you! – Greg Meehan Jun 3 '09 at 23:14
Why is it better than PuTTY? – grawity Jun 4 '09 at 4:43
SecureCRT is not free software, right? – ipozgaj Jun 8 '09 at 15:45
No, after the 30-day evaluation period you have to buy it. – Lance Roberts Jun 8 '09 at 19:13
I'd second grawity's question: why this over putty? – Bill Weiss Aug 20 '10 at 19:32

Konsole, as I'm most of the time on KDE!


This question mistakenly labels cmd.exe as a terminal. Cmd.exe is a text-mode shell and so is powershell.exe. The "terminal" is the console window which is automagically created by csrss.exe (aka client-server runtime subsystem (aka windows subsystem)).

(More here:

The gist of all that is that there isn't really a viable terminal option for Windows other than the default magic. There is Console2 which actually works by doing voodoo with a hidden csrss console window and doesn't work on x64 windows. It is possible to do xterm with Cygwin but again doesn't work on x64. One can use xterm using the aforementioned SUA + an x-server but then only text-mode applications will work attempting to start a Windows GUI app from a pty yields an error.

To answer the original question, I'm basically a curmudgeon so I tend to use the most basic built-in option for a given system:

  • Windows: console windows
  • OS X:
  • UNIX-alike with X: xterm
Brian, thanks for your elaborate answer, I really wasn't sure about cmd.exe. – Ludwig Weinzierl Jun 4 '09 at 18:27

xterm on Linux and MSYS (for linux toolset) or Console2 on Windows. When testing stuff that will be used outside the organisation, I try to use the basic Terminal or Command Prompt.



cmd.exe, but I'm not happy with it. I just don't have an alternative.

I miss short file names and (16-bit)

cmd.exe is a shell, the actual terminal is Windows Console. – grawity Jun 4 '09 at 4:45
@grawity - For clarity sake I putted "cmd.exe" since everybody knows that, and with console there is another product with the same name. – Rook Jun 4 '09 at 10:48

Back before I switched to full-time ubuntu, I used to like Terminator on windows quite a lot- nice list of features, including unlimited scrolling, infinite scrollback buffers, multiple tabs, etc etc etc.

Typical usage - Typical usage (full size image).

Large screen usage - Large screen usage (full size image).


What about windows powershell?

That's a shell, like bash. Not a terminal. – grawity Jun 4 '09 at 4:43

PuTTY running with pageant on Windows to a Linux server running gnu screen. Nothing can touch it.


When using Windows, PuTTY is my terminal of choice.

On Mac, I just use with this modified Pro theme.

On Linux, I use rxvt-unicode-ml with the ANSI color scheme borrowed from PuTTY and some other tweaks to make it more like a normal GUI program rather than the next generation of a crotchety old X11 program.


Vanilla xterm.


I use with the Homebrew theme and antialiased Monaco 11pt text. It makes using the terminal a very comfortable and nice experience. I love Mac's font rendering.


I'm a on OSX guy too


Console2 when I'm forced to use Windows.


I used to be a 100% aterm guy, but gnome-terminal cleaned up sufficiently around 3 years ago, at which point I stopped bothering to install aterm.

I loved it because it was lightning quick, easy to read and configure.

Though it was possibly a leftover from when i was running WindowMaker primarily.


I'm accustomed to using rxvt, mostly.


I prefer gnome-terminal until it starts causing me trouble, e.g. with cut-n-paste due to the complexity of Gnome. Then I switch to xterm for the remainder of the life of that desktop environment. I actually have one system on which I've been using gnome-terminal for months! The ability to configure gnome-terminal using reasonable means instead of the completely braindamaged historical mess of X resources is a big win.

Sadly, I find myself happier using putty on Windows. I don't ever use an xterm when sitting at a Windows machine.

You should always be using screen. I'm surprised a lot of people don't know about it - it should be more prominently advertised somewhere. In the days of dialup to shell providers, everyone used it and it was just well known. You won't realize how great screen is for about a week. The ability to handle multiple 'screens', and the nice cut-n-paste are just neat features. The detach/reattach support is very nice, e.g. to go to work, reattach your home screen session and your work screen session, then go home, sit down at your desk, reattach to both, the sit on the couch and reattach to both. This is an amazing convenience. Still, you won't notice how truly great it is until your desktop crashes and you can safely reattach to everything you were in the middle of with no trouble whatsoever. You can also leave screens open as a reminder of what you were in the middle of, take a real weekend off, and reattach and need to extra reminder of what you were doing.


SecureCRT, Console - for Windows

For Linux I prefer RoxTerm because it has tabs but require only GTK libs.


No Konsole users? I am a Fedora user and have always just used Konsole, never really looked at the alternatives though as it seems to just do everything well. I'm always willing to try new things though. :)

Oh, and putty on windows, with Putty Connection Manager (tabs, baby).


I am a big fan of teraterm utf-8. I do a lot of serial console work. It does a very good job at serial stuff as well as ssh, telnet, and the ilk.

And best of all it is free. :)


iTerm on the Mac is great. It is tabbed and has a great feature - send input to all tabs. Makes working on multiple identical servers a breeze.


The real Dickie xterm:

I have to connect to a range of servers - Solaris old and new, SCO, Macs, Linux, BSD - and the real Dickie xterm gives me least problems and maximum compatibility.

Why the Dickie xterm? It's old-time standard compliant. Shift-leftclick or shift-rightclick on the Dickie xterm and you can control major facets of xterm behaviour that you will need when moving between many different Unix systems.

You can use the .Xdefaults configuration file to control your default settings (including handling those silly Solaris function key issues). You can control starting sizes and positions, colour, keystrokes, terminal settings, almost everything. You can even standardise the ancient Delete/Backspace incompatibility problem between Linux and Solaris and SCO and other systems. Copy that .Xdefaults file everywhere you go and your xterms function identically no matter what system or OS you are on.

If you find a copy of Alan Southerton book The Shell Hacker's Guide To X and Motif, despite the ancient title, you can configure your xterm to do amazing things and have wild menus and functionality and that can seriously enhance your productivity either as a programmer or a sysadmin.

The Dickie xterm is so standard that all old texts and books and hints work with it, yet it keeps up with modern practices. It just doesn't do fancy modern graphics like see-through backgrounds and other things that impede work but look pretty.



It's the only terminal emulator I've found that has good support for "regions" in addition to "tabs" ('regions' being a split window, like screen does, but terminator supports vertical partitions). Default controls bind Ctrl+Shift+(O|E) to split the current region into 2 (vertical|horizontal) regions that are simultaneously displayed.

I have two screens, and I love to fullscreen Terminator to take up both screens. I tend to keep ~4-5 copies each of tail -f and top running on different servers in different regions while I do my shell work in yet another region. It's insanely helpful to be able to see them all on the screen at the same time.


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