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#1 2012-02-07 22:58:59

sas
Member
Registered: 2009-11-24
Posts: 153

Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

Hey all,

I'm currently using KDE's Konsole as my main terminal emulator, but was wondering if there is a more lightweight one, and which would fit a little nicer with tiling window managers.

With light-weight I mean that it should have a minimalistic user interface, start fast and be economical with system resources, and not drag in tons of large runtime dependencies.

However, I would prefer not to give up on the awesome usability features Konsole provides in terms of the actual shell handling.
(Notably, xterm is out out the question since it is in my opinion a usability nightmare.)

Here are some of the usability features I hold dear:

  • don't loose scrollback position when new shell output appears
    In xterm, when I have scrolled upwards in the scrollback buffer to look at some previous shell output, I find it very annoying that when new shell output appears in the meantime (from the currently running command), the view will automatically jump to the bottom of the buffer to show the new output.
    In Konsole, new output will only cause the view to automatically scroll downwards to show the new output, if the view was already at the very bottom of the buffer at the time when the new output appeared - a very sensible behavior which I think increases usability greatly.

  • context-sensitive mouse-wheel scrolling
    Normally, scrolling with the mouse-wheel should scroll up and down the shell's scrollback buffer.
    However, if a "full window" command like less or nano is currently running in the shell, mouse-wheel scrolling should map to that command's internal scrolling functionality instead (e.g. UP / DOWN keys in case of less).
    Konsole supports this, but xterm always scrolls through the shell's scrollback buffer (which for "full window" shell commands is pretty useless and counter-intuitive).

  • URL launching
    Ability to conveniently launch any http:// URLs that appear in shell output, using an external browser.

In addition, Unicode support would be nice to have, but not a show-stopper.
Support for background transparency would be nice as well (fake transparency should suffice).

Does anyone know a light-weight, modern terminal emulator that can do these things?


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#2 2012-02-07 23:16:23

Army
Member
Registered: 2007-12-07
Posts: 1,784

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

I think rxvt-unicode can do all you want. It's very lightweight if you start a daemon on boot (urxvtd) and start the clients with urxvtc. Check the wiki, everything's explained there.
You'll need to configure the stuff, but once it's done it's done! I don't know how to do your first point, just google for it (I know it's possible).
About the second point, this should be what you are looking for.
Actually, plugins are one of rxvt-unicode's strengths, so for your third point there's something really nice, check out urxvt-url-select from [community], it's awesome! It's also described in the wiki.

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#3 2012-02-07 23:21:57

karol
Archivist
Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 25,428

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

I'm not sure you're doing things right. Why not use multiple terminals (urxvt client/daemon is very cool) instead of trying not to lose scrollback position when new shell output appears? I'm using the tabbed extension and I can switch between the tabs easily, I'm also notified if some output appears in other tabs.

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#4 2012-02-08 00:05:14

Trilby
Forum Moderator
From: Massachusetts, USA
Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 13,843
Website

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

I'd second the recommendation for urxvt - but if you don't like xterm you probably wont like urxvt (unless Karol's point changes things).

For what I'd call the gui-ified terminal emulator there are two that stand out as something you may like: 1) LXterminal is probably a lot like Konsole, but I suspect lighter weight.  2) Terminator is an extremely customizable yet 'user-friendly' (read, preference and settings windows) with loads of features that still manages to be fairly lightweight.


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#5 2012-02-08 05:34:05

anonymous_user
Member
Registered: 2009-08-28
Posts: 3,058

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

@Army - Thanks for the tip about urxvt-vtwheel. I wish a separate package wasn't needed though.

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#6 2012-02-08 07:44:58

rz
Member
From: Jita
Registered: 2012-01-11
Posts: 17
Website

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

If you want light it's st.  It is not user friendly though.


There's 52 ways to murder anyone. One and two are the same and they both work as well.

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#7 2012-02-08 10:36:36

Blµb
Member
Registered: 2008-02-10
Posts: 223

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

I see urxvt has been suggested a few times, and I want to second that.
However, I also want to note, that it is much more comfortable to simply use the standard package, without tabbing or anything, and here's why:
Tabbing requires the mouse, whereas tmux and screen give you the same behaviour with keyboard-navigation, which, when you're already working inside a terminal, is much faster.
Using neither screen nor tmux is a bit risky: kill the terminal emulator, and the shell's dead. Whereas you can reattach to it later had you used screen/tmux.

Back to topic: ANY lightweight terminal emulator will do. And me (and from the looks of it: many others) really like urxvt.
As for the  usability features you mentioned:

Scrollback position:
No need to have that as feature of the TE, because:
screen/tmux provide a "copy" mode which allows you to walk through the current buffer (and select+copy parts of it)
when using with urxvt (not sure if other terminals do the same): You can box select with ctrl+alt+leftmousedrag

Context sensitive wheel scrolling:
Not an actual part of the TE itself, I can scroll and select in vim in urxvt, by having `set mouse=a` in my ~/.vimrc
For any other tools there are probably similar settings.
Thing is, some TEs handle this stuff differently than others, so your tools need to understand how to talk to the TE.
For me, default urxvt+tmux settings pass things properly over to vim smile

URL launching:
There are probably several ways to do that, at least I recently saw an arch wiki entry with some strange additional packages used... can't remember which.
I simply have in my ~/.Xdefaults:

urxvt*urlLauncher: chromium

What you LACK with URXVT is: a GUI to configure it.

But hey, get Konsole, gnome-terminal and urxvt, do `pacman -S words` and in each terminal type:
cat /usr/share/dict/words
and see how gnome-terminal (and probably Konsole) struggle for multiple seconds while urxvt handles it in one second flat tongue

Only xterm can beat urxvt in terms of speed and ligthweightness wink


You know you're paranoid when you start thinking random letters while typing a password.
A good post about vim
Python has no multithreading.

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#8 2012-02-08 13:47:08

karol
Archivist
Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 25,428

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

You can use urxvt's tabs w/o a mouse.
xterm is heavier (memory-consumption-wise) than urxvt because it lacks the daemon. https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php … 8#p1043098

Last edited by karol (2012-02-08 13:47:49)

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#9 2012-02-08 14:36:54

sitquietly
Member
From: Moscow, Tennessee
Registered: 2010-07-12
Posts: 216

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

sas wrote:

I'm currently using KDE's Konsole as my main terminal emulator, but was wondering if there is a more lightweight one, and which would fit a little nicer with tiling window managers.....

  • don't loose scrollback position when new shell output appears
    .....

  • context-sensitive mouse-wheel scrolling
    .....

  • URL launching
    .....

In addition, Unicode support would be nice to have, but not a show-stopper.
Support for background transparency would be nice as well (fake transparency should suffice).

Does anyone know a light-weight, modern terminal emulator that can do these things?

It seems from all of the posts, if I read correctly, that the answer to the OP is "no, there is no lightweight alternative to konsole with it's nice features."   I agree.  Several kde apps are indispensible and best in class -- k3b and okular and krita and gwenview and digikam come to mind -- so I have kdelibs and kdebase installed anyway; konsole comes along for the ride.

I don't understand the OP question about konsole fitting in with tiling wm.  Turn off the menubar and the scroll bars and konsole appears perfectly plain like xterm (with nice features).

I've seen performance tests and konsole is very efficient with the cpu.

+1 for keeping konsole

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#10 2012-03-05 21:16:29

NOTtheMessiah
Member
Registered: 2011-12-11
Posts: 5

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

rxvt I don't think is that user-friendly, you have to look into documentation and set config files. I've been using lilyterm (http://lilyterm.luna.com.tw/en/features.html). It's very lightweight, supports tabbing from the go, everything is configurable in a right-click menu, and I use it on my netbook with wmii (has pseudo-transparency and true transparency with xcompmgr). I haven't had issues with scrolling, and hyperlinks also work.

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#11 2012-03-06 03:16:07

Jristz
Member
From: America/Santiago
Registered: 2011-06-11
Posts: 921

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

rxvt-unicode <- no more
lxterminal <-- gtk2 vte vte-common and no more
xterm <- no more
te main diference is that lxde is more, "alá" gnome terminal but for lxde


Well, I suppose that this is somekind of signature, no?

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#12 2012-03-14 11:40:09

Evanlec
Member
From: NH, USA
Registered: 2007-12-16
Posts: 140
Website

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

rz wrote:

If you want light it's st.  It is not user friendly though.

Is there an AUR package for this anywhere?

I looked around and couldn't find any

lightweight is most important feature imo wink

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#13 2012-03-14 11:41:49

Evanlec
Member
From: NH, USA
Registered: 2007-12-16
Posts: 140
Website

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

Oh, btw for lightweight, aur/evilvte almost takes the cake ... configuration is done through a .h configuration file + recompile  ala DWM style

Last edited by Evanlec (2012-03-14 11:43:10)

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#14 2012-03-14 11:45:03

Evanlec
Member
From: NH, USA
Registered: 2007-12-16
Posts: 140
Website

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

NOTtheMessiah wrote:

rxvt I don't think is that user-friendly, you have to look into documentation and set config files. I've been using lilyterm (http://lilyterm.luna.com.tw/en/features.html). It's very lightweight, supports tabbing from the go, everything is configurable in a right-click menu, and I use it on my netbook with wmii (has pseudo-transparency and true transparency with xcompmgr). I haven't had issues with scrolling, and hyperlinks also work.

Been using lilyterm for a few months now and I must give my recommendation for this too, it is VTE, but so what, VTE is newer/faster/better and lilyterm stays very lightweight using a master process where subsequent terminals share all the same libraries so resource impact is very low even with many terms open.

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#15 2012-03-14 14:31:43

anonymous_user
Member
Registered: 2009-08-28
Posts: 3,058

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

Evanlec wrote:

Is there an AUR package for this anywhere?

https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=48264 (stable)
https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=16752 (hg)

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#16 2012-03-16 03:38:26

Evanlec
Member
From: NH, USA
Registered: 2007-12-16
Posts: 140
Website

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

anonymous_user wrote:
Evanlec wrote:

Is there an AUR package for this anywhere?

https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=48264 (stable)
https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=16752 (hg)

Sweet TY

*edit*
strange, throws these errors when trying to start it:

st: missing fontset: ISO10646-1
st: missing fontset: JISX0201.1976-0
st: missing fontset: GB2312.1980-0
st: missing fontset: KSC5601.1987-0
st: missing fontset: JISX0208.1983-0
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-15
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-14
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-13
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-9
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-7
st: missing fontset: KOI8-R
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-5
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-4
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-3
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-2
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-1
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-1
Can't load font -*-*-medium-r-*-*-*-120-75-75-*-60-*-*

Last edited by Evanlec (2012-03-16 03:42:16)

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#17 2012-03-18 11:41:25

XFire
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-05-11
Posts: 192

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

Have you tried Sakura?


There is a difference between bleeding [edge] and haemorrhaging. - Allan

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#18 2012-03-18 12:31:31

kaptenen
Member
Registered: 2009-12-06
Posts: 266
Website

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

Evanlec wrote:
anonymous_user wrote:
Evanlec wrote:

Is there an AUR package for this anywhere?

https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=48264 (stable)
https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=16752 (hg)

Sweet TY

*edit*
strange, throws these errors when trying to start it:

st: missing fontset: ISO10646-1
st: missing fontset: JISX0201.1976-0
st: missing fontset: GB2312.1980-0
st: missing fontset: KSC5601.1987-0
st: missing fontset: JISX0208.1983-0
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-15
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-14
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-13
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-9
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-7
st: missing fontset: KOI8-R
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-5
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-4
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-3
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-2
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-1
st: missing fontset: ISO8859-1
Can't load font -*-*-medium-r-*-*-*-120-75-75-*-60-*-*

-*-*-medium-r-*-*-*-120-75-75-*-60-*-* is not a font. It´s easier just do edit config.h and change
#define FONT "-misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--12-*-*-*-*-70-*-*"
#define BOLDFONT "-misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--12-*-*-*-*-70-*-*"
to whatever you want. You can use xfontsel to make it right.

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#19 2013-02-11 16:39:16

Odaer
Member
Registered: 2010-08-14
Posts: 87

Re: Tips for choosing a light-weight but user-friendly terminal emulator?

Blµb wrote:

But hey, get Konsole, gnome-terminal and urxvt, do `pacman -S words` and in each terminal type:
cat /usr/share/dict/words
and see how gnome-terminal (and probably Konsole) struggle for multiple seconds while urxvt handles it in one second flat tongue

Only xterm can beat urxvt in terms of speed and ligthweightness wink

I tried. For me konsole beat urxvt in this?  Maybe because the configuration as I tried mimic the konsole functions?
Xterm is certainly  not fast,  much slower than both of them.

//edit
Sorry for the necro dumping. I had a couple windows open forgot control the age on this thread before  I posted....

Last edited by Odaer (2013-02-11 16:42:22)

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