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In this article, we will look into 25 best linux terminal emulators with powerful experience. Terminal emulators are software programs in Linux that provide a text-based interface to the system. By simulating the traditional physical terminal within a graphical environment, they allow users to interact with the system shell and execute commands. It allow users to input commands through a CLI, offering a powerful way to perform tasks, from basic file manipulation to advanced system administration. They provide access to a system shell (like Bash, Zsh, or Fish), which interprets and executes the commands entered by the user. Here we will see 25 best linux terminal emulators that provides powerful experience to users.
25 Best Linux Terminal Emulators with Powerful Experience
1. GNOME Terminal
GNOME Terminal is the default terminal emulator for the GNOME desktop environment, widely used in many Linux distributions. It has a clean and straightforward interface, making it accessible for both beginners and advanced users. The design is consistent with the GNOME desktop environment, offering a seamless user experience. Users can customize various aspects of GNOME Terminal, including the font, colors, background transparency, and behavior.
It supports profiles, allowing different configurations for different tasks or preferences. It also has support for text re-wrapping which means resizing the terminal window, text re-flows to fit the new size, which is particularly useful when working with large amounts of text or command outputs. GNOME Terminal includes accessibility features such as support for screen readers and text zooming, ensuring it is usable for a wide range of users.
Konsole is a powerful and versatile terminal emulator that is part of the KDE software suite. It's the default terminal for the KDE Plasma desktop environment and is known for its extensive feature set and customization options. Konsole enables users to create and switch between multiple profiles easily, each with its own settings, including specific commands to run on startup, different color schemes, and keyboard shortcuts.
Like many modern terminal emulators, Konsole supports multiple tabs, allowing users to open several terminal sessions within a single window. This feature is particularly useful for organizing multiple tasks. It includes a search function to easily find text within the terminal output, which is valuable for working with large amounts of data.
One of the oldest and most basic terminal emulators, widely available across various Unix-like systems. Xterm is one of the oldest and most widely used terminal emulators in the Unix world, primarily known for its role as the standard terminal emulator for the X Window System. It provides a command-line interface within a window in a graphical desktop environment, allowing users to interact with the Unix shell.
It is known for its simplicity and lightweight nature, making it a reliable choice for users who prefer a straightforward terminal experience without additional frills. As a long-standing component of the X Window System, Xterm is highly compatible with a wide variety of Unix-like operating systems, including different flavors of Linux and BSD. It emulates the DEC VT102 terminal and supports a variety of DEC VT220 features, ensuring compatibility with a range of older applications and systems that require these standards.
Guake is a terminal emulator inspired by the console used in the Quake game series. It's known for its distinctive drop-down, top-down design and is a popular choice for many Linux users, particularly those who prefer using keyboard shortcuts for efficiency. Guake is designed to be easily accessible and highly convenient for quick command-line tasks. The most notable feature of Guake is its drop-down mechanism. It's designed to appear and disappear when a user presses a specific hotkey (usually F12), making it easily accessible from any environment without the need to navigate through desktop windows.
Guake allows users to customize its appearance extensively, including transparency, font size, color schemes, and window width. This customization makes it adaptable to different user preferences and workflows. It supports multiple tabs, allowing users to have several terminal sessions open simultaneously, which is great for multitasking. Guake's design philosophy centers around quick access. It's always running in the background and can be invoked instantly with a hotkey, making it ideal for users who frequently need terminal access.
5. Tilix (formerly Terminix)
Tilix (previously known as Terminix) is a modern terminal emulator designed specifically for the GNOME desktop environment, although it can be used in other environments as well. Tilix is a feature-rich terminal emulator that stands out for its tiling and session management capabilities. It's particularly known for its advanced tiling capabilities, which make it an excellent choice for users who require managing multiple terminal sessions simultaneously. The standout feature of Tilix is its ability to split terminal windows into multiple panes within the same window. This tiling approach allows users to view and manage several sessions side-by-side, increasing productivity and efficiency in command-line tasks.
Users can rearrange terminals using a drag-and-drop interface, which is intuitive and user-friendly. This makes organizing and managing multiple sessions and windows straightforward. In addition to tiling, Tilix supports tabbed browsing, allowing users to have multiple terminal tabs open within a single window. It offers a high level of customization, including themes, terminal colors, background transparency, and font settings. This allows users to tailor the terminal's appearance to their liking. While Tilix works well in various environments, its integration with GNOME is particularly seamless, including support for GNOME’s header bar and other desktop features.
Terminator is a popular terminal emulator known for its powerful features that facilitate efficient management of multiple terminal sessions. It is highly appreciated by users who regularly work with multiple terminals, as it provides advanced capabilities that go beyond what traditional terminal emulators offer. Terminator allows users to split its window into multiple panes, both horizontally and vertically. This feature enables users to view and manage multiple terminal sessions in a single window, enhancing multitasking and productivity. In addition to split panes, Terminator also supports tabs, allowing for even more terminal sessions to be managed and organized effectively.
Terminator supports drag-and-drop functionality for rearranging terminal panes, making it easy to organize the workspace dynamically. A notable feature is the ability to broadcast input to multiple terminal panes simultaneously. This is highly useful when performing the same command or set of commands across multiple sessions. Terminator offers a high degree of customization in terms of appearance and behavior. Users can adjust fonts, colors, background transparency, and other settings to personalize their experience.
Alacritty is a modern terminal emulator that prioritizes simplicity and performance. It's unique among terminal emulators due to its usage of GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) acceleration for rendering, which makes it one of the fastest terminals available. Alacritty is cross-platform, running on Linux, macOS, and Windows. It uses the GPU for rendering, which significantly increases its speed and efficiency, especially when dealing with large amounts of text or fast-moving output. The primary focus of Alacritty is on performance and simplicity. It intentionally avoids features that can bloat software, aiming instead for a balance between functionality and resource efficiency.
It includes a Vi mode, allowing users to navigate the terminal using Vi keybindings, which is a boon for users familiar with Vi or Vim. Alacritty has minimal dependencies and can be easily compiled into a binary. This makes it a lightweight alternative compared to other feature-rich terminal emulators. It includes scrollback support, allowing users to navigate through their terminal history. Alacritty supports a wide range of Unicode characters, making it suitable for displaying various languages and special characters.
8. URxvt (rxvt-unicode)
URxvt, or the rxvt-unicode terminal, is a highly customizable and lightweight terminal emulator for X11, originally derived from rxvt. It's known for its daemon mode, which allows multiple terminal instances to share a single process, significantly reducing resource usage on systems where many terminal windows are open simultaneously. URxvt is designed to be lightweight and fast, making it a preferred choice for users who want a minimalistic terminal emulator that consumes fewer system resources. One of its unique features is the daemon mode. This mode allows multiple instances of URxvt to run as clients of a single server process, which helps in reducing the memory footprint when multiple terminals are open.
URxvt can be extensively customized through a user's .Xresources or .Xdefaults file. Customizations include font, color, transparency, and behavior modifications. As the name suggests, rxvt-unicode has strong support for Unicode, which allows it to display a wide range of characters from different languages. URxvt can be extended using Perl scripts. This feature opens up a world of possibilities for adding custom functionality, from simple tweaks to complex features. It is designed to be used primarily with the keyboard, appealing to users who prefer keyboard shortcuts and efficiency. While URxvt itself does not natively support tabbed browsing, this functionality can be achieved through the use of Perl extensions.
Termite is a minimal, yet powerful terminal emulator designed for Linux, known for its simplicity and focus on keyboard control. It's particularly favored in environments that prioritize a keyboard-centric workflow and a clean, efficient interface. One of the standout features of Termite is its Vim-like keybindings, which make it highly appealing to users who are accustomed to Vim's keyboard-driven interface. This allows for efficient navigation and operation entirely via the keyboard. Termite is highly configurable, allowing users to customize aspects like font, color, and behavior. Configuration is done through a simple text file, making it easily adaptable to different preferences and needs.
It's designed to be lightweight and fast, minimizing system resource usage while maintaining responsiveness, even under load. Termite is built upon the VTE library, ensuring good support for modern terminal features, including bidirectional text. It features an easy-to-use inline copy and paste functionality, which is consistent with the keyboard-focused design ethos of the terminal. Termite can automatically detect URLs within the terminal output, allowing users to open links directly from the terminal window. Users can search directly within the terminal output, a useful feature for working with large amounts of text or logs.
Tmux, short for "terminal multiplexer," is a powerful and versatile tool that is more than just a terminal emulator. It allows users to access multiple terminal sessions inside a single window, either on a local machine or a remote one. Tmux is particularly popular among developers, system administrators, and power users who need to manage multiple tasks in a command-line environment efficiently. Tmux's primary feature is its ability to create, manage, and switch between multiple sessions. Each session can contain multiple windows, and each window can have multiple panes, offering a high degree of organization and multitasking.
One of the most significant advantages of tmux is that sessions are persistent. This means that you can detach from a session, leaving all processes running within it, and reattach later, even from a different terminal. This is especially useful for remote work. As a multiplexer, tmux allows several terminals to be created, accessed, and controlled from a single screen. Users can split their terminal window into multiple sections, each of which can display a terminal independently of the others. Tmux is highly customizable, allowing users to change key bindings, configure the status bar, and set various options to tailor the environment to their workflow.
LXTerminal is the standard terminal emulator of the LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment), known for its simplicity and lightweight nature. True to the LXDE philosophy, LXTerminal is designed to be lightweight and uses minimal system resources. This makes it an excellent choice for older hardware or systems where performance is a key concern. LXTerminal supports multiple tabs, allowing users to open and work with several terminal sessions in a single window. This feature helps in organizing work and improves efficiency.
While being simple, LXTerminal allows basic customization options, including changing font types and sizes, colors, and background settings. Although it's part of LXDE, LXTerminal doesn't depend on the entire LXDE suite. It can be used in other desktop environments without needing to install the full LXDE package. It supports UTF-8 encoding, which means it can handle a variety of languages and character sets, making it versatile for international users. LXTerminal is compatible with a wide range of Linux distributions and works well with other window managers and desktop environments.
Yakuake is a unique terminal emulator inspired by the console in the video game "Quake." Its name is an abbreviation of "Yet Another Kuake," where "Kuake" is a reference to KDE and the original "Quake" game. Yakuake is known for its drop-down design and is part of the KDE project, but it can be used on various desktop environments. The most distinctive feature of Yakuake is its drop-down terminal. It appears and disappears with a single keystroke (usually F12), making it highly accessible and convenient for frequent terminal users.
Yakuake supports multiple tabs, allowing users to work with several terminal sessions within a single drop-down window. This is efficient for multitasking and organizing different tasks. It offers a high degree of customization. Users can modify the appearance, including themes, colors, transparency, and animation effects, to suit their personal preferences. While Yakuake can be used in various environments, it is particularly well-integrated with KDE Plasma, offering a seamless experience for KDE users. It is designed to be operated largely through keyboard shortcuts, enhancing productivity and speed for keyboard-savvy users.
Kitty is a modern, feature-rich terminal emulator designed for efficiency and extensibility, particularly noted for its use of the GPU to render text. This GPU-based rendering makes it one of the fastest and most resource-efficient terminal emulators available. Kitty is primarily developed for Unix-like operating systems, including Linux and macOS. Kitty uses the graphics processor (GPU) for rendering, significantly enhancing its speed and efficiency, especially when dealing with large amounts of text or rapid screen updates. It offers a wide range of customization options. Users can tweak virtually every aspect of Kitty, from fonts and colors to keyboard shortcuts and window management behavior.
Kitty supports font ligatures, allowing for more readable and visually appealing text representation, which is particularly beneficial for coding and reading complex documents. By offloading rendering to the GPU, Kitty reduces the CPU load, enhancing overall system performance. Kitty includes several protocol extensions to the terminal emulation, such as graphics, hyperlinks, and keyboard protocol. Kitty is scriptable and can be controlled remotely, which is useful for automation and integration with other tools or workflows.
Eterm, also known as Enlightenment Terminal, is a terminal emulator that is part of the Enlightenment desktop environment but can be used independently in other desktop environments as well. It's known for its visual appeal and the level of customization it offers, making it a popular choice for users who want to personalize their terminal experience extensively. Eterm stands out for its high level of customization. Users can change backgrounds, including the use of transparent or image backgrounds, fonts, colors, and more to create a visually appealing terminal environment.
Despite its visual capabilities, Eterm is designed to be lightweight and fast, ensuring that it doesn't consume excessive system resources. While Eterm can be used in various environments, it integrates particularly well with the Enlightenment desktop, matching its aesthetic and philosophy of providing a visually rich user experience. One of the notable features of Eterm is its support for pseudo-transparency, allowing the terminal's background to blend with the desktop wallpaper or other windows. It includes basic session management features, allowing users to save and restore sessions.
Sakura is a terminal emulator that is known for its simplicity and effectiveness. It is based on GTK and VTE, the Virtual Terminal Emulator library, which is also used by GNOME Terminal. Sakura is designed to provide a clean and straightforward terminal experience with a focus on being lightweight and easy to use. Sakura allows basic customization, including changing fonts, colors, and setting background transparency. Users can personalize their terminal according to their preferences. The interface is user-friendly, focusing on ease of use. This makes Sakura accessible for both beginners and advanced users.
Since it's based on VTE, Sakura inherits several features from it, including good Unicode support, compatibility with various shells, and rewrapping of text when resizing the window. Unlike some terminal emulators that require configuration files to be edited manually, Sakura provides GUI options for its configuration settings. It includes a scrollback buffer, allowing users to scroll through a significant amount of terminal output, which is useful for reviewing past command outputs and messages.
ROXTerm is a terminal emulator designed for the modern user, offering a good balance between functionality and configurability. It's developed with the aim of providing an alternative to GNOME Terminal for users who want more features and configurability without sacrificing the user-friendly interface. One of the main strengths of ROXTerm is its high level of configurability. Users can customize various aspects of their terminal experience, including fonts, colors, keyboard shortcuts, and profiles. ROXTerm supports multiple tabs, allowing users to run several terminal sessions within a single window, enhancing multitasking and organizational efficiency.
Despite its range of features, ROXTerm is designed to be lightweight and fast, making it a good choice for systems with limited resources. Users can drag files and text into the terminal window, a feature that enhances usability and workflow efficiency. It allows users to create and switch between different profiles. Each profile can have its own set of preferences, including command execution on startup, custom colors, and specific behaviors. It has the capability to detect URLs in the terminal output, enabling users to click links directly within the terminal. It can save session information, allowing users to restore their setup and continue where they left off.
Terminology is a terminal emulator designed for the Enlightenment desktop environment, but it can be used in other desktop environments as well. It is notable for its visual appeal and a range of innovative features that differentiate it from traditional terminal emulators. It is known for its striking visual effects, including background animations, transparency, and theme support. It brings a visually engaging experience to the terminal, which is typically a text-only interface. One of its unique features is the ability to display inline previews of multimedia content. This includes previews of images, videos, and even documents directly within the terminal.
Terminology allows users to split its window both horizontally and vertically. This feature is useful for monitoring multiple terminal sessions or multitasking within the same window. It supports a tabbed interface, enabling users to manage multiple terminal sessions within a single window. Despite its rich visuals, Terminology is designed to be efficient in its resource usage, making it suitable even for less powerful systems. Users can choose from different themes and enjoy smooth transition effects, enhancing the visual aspect of their terminal experience.
Tilda is a distinctive terminal emulator known for its drop-down design, inspired by the console used in video games like Quake. It's popular among Linux users who prefer a terminal that is instantly accessible yet unobtrusive to their desktop environment. The primary feature of Tilda is its ability to appear and disappear on the desktop with a single keystroke. This drop-down functionality allows for quick access to the terminal without the need to switch between windows or desktops.
Tilda offers a range of customization options. Users can adjust the size, transparency, and position on the screen, as well as choose different animation effects for the drop-down action. It supports multiple tabs, enabling users to have several terminal sessions open within the same drop-down window. The terminal is designed to be largely operated through keyboard shortcuts, making it convenient for users who prefer keyboard navigation. Users can change the appearance of the terminal, including font style, background color, and transparency. Tilda includes a scrollback buffer, allowing users to scroll through a significant amount of terminal output.
19. Cool Retro Term
Cool Retro Term is a unique terminal emulator that stands out for its nostalgic appeal. It's designed to look and feel like old cathode ray tube (CRT) screens, reminiscent of the early days of computing. This emulator is favored by users who appreciate a vintage aesthetic or enjoy a bit of nostalgia. The primary draw of Cool Retro Term is its vintage CRT screen appearance, complete with scan lines, screen glow, and phosphor burn-in effects. This creates a visually distinct experience compared to modern terminal emulators. Users can customize various aspects of the terminal's appearance, including the type of CRT monitor effect, colors, levels of screen curvature and glow, and even the type of flickering.
Despite its unique appearance, Cool Retro Term functions as a fully-fledged terminal emulator, capable of handling various command-line tasks and applications. It supports different profiles, allowing users to switch between various retro looks or customize their own profiles. Cool Retro Term supports keyboard shortcuts, enabling efficient command-line operations. It is available for multiple operating systems, making it accessible to a wide range of users.
20. XFCE4 Terminal
XFCE4 Terminal is the default terminal emulator for the XFCE desktop environment, known for its balance between functionality and resource efficiency. It's designed to be both lightweight and customizable, fitting well with the XFCE philosophy of providing a fast and visually appealing user experience without excessive resource usage. True to the XFCE ethos, XFCE4 Terminal is designed to be lightweight, ensuring that it runs quickly and efficiently, even on less powerful hardware. It supports tabbed browsing, allowing users to open and manage multiple terminal sessions within a single window. This feature is useful for organizing various tasks and streamlines workflow.
XFCE4 Terminal offers a good level of customization. Users can adjust the font, color schemes, and background (including support for transparency and background images), tailoring the look to their preferences. Similar to terminals like Yakuake and Tilda, XFCE4 Terminal can be used in a drop-down mode, where it can be summoned or hidden using a keyboard shortcut, making it conveniently accessible. It supports various command-line shells like Bash, Zsh, and Fish, providing flexibility in how users interact with their system. Its interface is straightforward and user-friendly, catering to both beginners and advanced users.
QTerminal is a lightweight and versatile terminal emulator that is part of the LXQt desktop environment, which is known for its efficiency and low resource usage. It combines the simplicity and lightness of LXDE with the modern look and feel of the Qt framework. QTerminal is designed to be functional yet unobtrusive, making it a suitable choice for users who prefer a minimalistic approach. Emphasizing resource efficiency, QTerminal is built to be lightweight, ensuring that it runs smoothly even on less powerful or older hardware. It allows users to split the terminal horizontally or vertically.
This is particularly useful for viewing multiple sessions side by side or monitoring different processes simultaneously. It includes support for multiple languages, ensuring broader accessibility and usability. Similar to terminals like Yakuake and Guake, QTerminal can be configured to work in a drop-down mode, enabling quick access to the terminal with a key press.
22. St (Simple Terminal)
Simple Terminal, commonly referred to as st, is a minimalistic terminal emulator designed for users who prefer a straightforward and efficient command-line experience. Developed by suckless.org, known for creating software that adheres to the philosophy of simplicity, clarity, and frugality, st stands out for its extreme minimalism and focus on being lightweight. Unlike many other terminal emulators that offer GUI-based configurations, st is customizable by editing its source code. This approach allows users to tailor the terminal to their exact needs, although it requires programming knowledge.
st can be extended with patches. These patches are small pieces of additional code that can be applied to add features or change the behavior of st. It can be integrated with X resources for setting certain preferences, offering some level of customization without modifying the source code. st supports basic copy and paste functionality, which is essential for terminal operations.
PTerm, also known as PuTTY Terminal, is a terminal emulator that is part of the PuTTY suite, a popular SSH and telnet client program originally developed for Windows but also available on Unix-like platforms. PTerm provides a basic terminal emulation function, primarily focusing on creating and managing remote sessions. It is well-known for its robust SSH and telnet capabilities. This makes PTerm particularly useful for secure remote administration and accessing servers. While originally developed for Windows, PTerm and the rest of the PuTTY suite are available on various Unix-like platforms, offering a consistent experience across different operating systems.
It offers session management features, allowing users to save session configurations for quick access to frequently used remote systems. Apart from SSH and telnet, PTerm can be used for serial port connections, making it versatile for different types of network access and configuration. PTerm is particularly valued by network administrators, developers, and IT professionals who need to manage remote servers or network equipment, especially in environments where SSH and telnet are commonly used. Its integration with the PuTTY suite makes it a go-to choice for users looking for a reliable, platform-agnostic terminal solution for remote connections.
24. Deepin Terminal
Deepin Terminal is a modern and feature-rich terminal emulator that is part of the Deepin Linux distribution, which is known for its elegant design and user-friendly experience. This terminal emulator stands out for its visually appealing interface and a set of functionalities that serves the need of both regular and power users. Deepin Terminal is designed with a focus on aesthetics, offering a sleek and modern interface that aligns with the overall elegant design of the Deepin desktop environment. Unique to Deepin Terminal, it supports touchpad gestures, providing a more intuitive and modern way of interacting with the terminal.
Like some other modern terminals, it features a quake mode, where the terminal can be pulled down from the top of the screen with a hotkey, offering quick and easy access. An interesting feature of Deepin Terminal is its ability to record terminal sessions, allowing users to review or share their terminal interactions. The terminal provides customizable keyboard shortcuts for a variety of functions, enhancing usability and efficiency for power users.
Mlterm, short for MultiLingual TERMinal, is a terminal emulator for the X Window System, notable for its extensive support for various languages and character sets. It is particularly designed to handle complex scripts and multilingual environments, making it a valuable tool for users who work with multiple languages or need advanced script rendering capabilities. The standout feature of mlterm is its ability to support a wide range of languages and character sets, including East Asian languages (Japanese, Chinese, Korean), and bidirectional scripts like Arabic and Hebrew. It handles complex text layouts and rendering, which is essential for languages that require special handling of characters, like joining or shaping.
Mlterm supports anti-aliased fonts, which improves the readability of text, especially in scripts with intricate glyph designs. Besides the standard terminal emulation, mlterm supports protocols like SSH, making it useful for secure remote connections. It has the capability to display inline images, which can be useful for users who need to view images directly in the terminal. Mlterm supports TrueType fonts, offering a broad choice of font styles for different languages and preferences.