What's your favorite terminal emulator?

We asked our community to tell us about their experience with terminal emulators. Here are a few of the responses we received. Take our poll to weigh in on your favorite.
204 readers like this.
System statistics with sar and the /proc filesystem

ajmexico. Modified by Jason Baker. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Preference of a terminal emulator can say a lot about a person's workflow. Is the ability to drive mouseless a must-have? Do you like to navigate between tabs or windows? There's something to be said about how it makes you feel, too. Does it have that cool factor? Tell us about your favorite terminal emulator by taking our poll or leaving us a comment. How many have you tried?

We asked our community to tell us about their experience with terminal emulators. Here are a few of the responses we received.

"My favorite terminal emulator is Tilix, customized with Powerline. I love that it supports multiple terminals open in a single window." —Dan Arel

"urxvt (rxvt-unicode). It's simple to configure via files, is lightweight, and readily available in most package manager repositories." —Brian Tomlinson

"gnome-terminal is still my go-to even though I don't use GNOME anymore. :)" —Justin W. Flory

"Terminator at this point on FC31.  I just started using it but like the split screen feature and it seems light enough for me. Investigating plugins." —Marc Maxwell

"I switched over to Tilix a while back and it does everything I need terminals to do. :) Multiple panes, notifications, lean and runs my tmux sessions great." —Kevin Fenzi

"alacritty. It's optimized for speed, implemented in Rust and generally feature packed, but, honestly speaking, I only care about one feature: configurable inter-glyph spacing that allows me to further condense my font. I'm so-o hooked." —Alexander Sosedkin


"I am old and grumpy: KDE Konsole. With tmux in it if session is remote." —Marcin Juszkiewicz

"iTerm2 for macOS. Yes, it's open source. :-) Terminator on Linux." —Patrick Mullins

 "I've been using alacritty for a year or two now, but recently I started also using cool-retro-term in fullscreen mode whenever I have to run a script that has a lot of output because it looks cool and makes me feel cool. This is important to me." —Nick Childers


"I love Tilix, partly because it's good at staying out of the way (I usually just run it full screen with tmux inside), but also for the custom hotlinking support: in my terminal, text like "rhbz#1234" is a hotlink that takes me to bugzilla. Similar for LaunchPad issues, Gerrit change ids for OpenStack, etc." —Lars Kellogg-Stedman


"Eterm, also presentations look best in cool-retro-term with Vintage profile." —Ivan Horvath


"+1 for Tilix. It’s the best for an option for GNOME users, IMO!"  —Eric Rich


"urxvt. Fast. Small. Configurable. Extendable via perl plugins, which can make it mouseless." —Roman Dobosz 


"Konsole is the best, the only app I use from KDE project. The highlight of all search result occurrences is a killer feature which afaik does not have any other Linux terminal (glad if you prove me wrong). Best for searching compilation errors and output logs." —Jan Horak


"I use Terminator in past a lot. Now I cloned the theme (dark one) in Tilix and I didn't miss a thing. Is easy to move between tabs. That's all." —Alberto Fanjul Alonso


"Started my journey in using Terminator, I have since (in the past 3 years or so) completely switched over to Tilix." —Mike Harris


"I use Drop Down Terminal X. It's a very simple extension for GNOME 3 that lets me have a terminal always at the stroke of a single key (F12 for me). And it also supports tabs, which is kind of all I need." —Germán Pulido


"xfce4-terminal: wayland support, zoom, no borders, no title bar, no scroll bar - that's all I want from terminal emulator, for everything else I have tmux. I want my terminal emulator to use as much screen space as possible as I usually have editor (Vim) and repl side by side in tmux panes." —Martin Kourim

"Fish! Don’t ask! ;-)" —Eric Schabell

What to read next
User profile image.
Opensource.com publishes stories about creating, adopting, and sharing open source solutions. Follow us on Twitter @opensourceway.



For normal work on Windows, I prefer gnome-terminal (which implements VTE). This is far superior to putty as it has tabs, and the color rendition is better. I am also easily able to install Cygwin/X on my home PC, then ZIP the install an unpack it on my work system, and it runs this way without any administrative privileges. I've tried other Cygwin terminals, but have found nothing better.

We also run VMS applications that require extreme vt220 emulation fidelity. I will normally use xterm for this work, and the associated vttest application clearly demonstrates how lacking most other emulators are with the more esoteric DEC command sequences. I would love to see tabs in xterm.

Unfortunately, there is no "one size fits all" for terminal emulation, especially if you require a larger and correct emulation command set.

I also use gnome-terminal most of the time - but sometimes I'll use Cool Retro Term for that 80s throwback feel.

It's not just sometimes for me, I use CRT basically everywhere. Turn the special effects all the way down and you get a remarkably lightweight, scalable terminal which works really well in tiling or full-screen window managers. I particularly appreciate the classic font faces it provides, as I find them FAR more readable than "modern" alternatives (I'm especially partial to its Commodore 64 font).

In reply to by Jim Hall

I like qterminal. Slick, stable and fast.

I have long ago switched to the use of Quake style drop down terminals (guake, yakuake, etc) bound to backtick or tilde keys.

It stays out of my way when I don't need it, supports tabs and most of them are themeable.

SecureCRT. Not open source, but it's a fine piece of software. I use Seafile to sync the config directory between all my machines so I have the same terminal profiles everywhere I go.

My favorite is MobaXterm, for it has a XServer build in, so I can either use a linux command line or popup graphical application window.

Termite is my favorite so far and will continue to be in the future. It's a keyboard-centric terminal emulator with some vim-like keybindings that works well both within a standalone window manager or a full featured desktop environment. One can traverse through the outputs, copy texts, and follow links with both hands resting on the keyboard, which is a key benefit for lazy people like me. I also like the single, plain-text configuration file, which makes it very easy to sync or backup the settings.

I used to use kitty and even switched to st for a while. Recently I found termite which is a fantastically minimal yet easy to configure terminal. I am liking that it supports everything I need right out of the box and can be customized easily

I don't really have preference.

I haven't tried enough of them to have a favorite yet, but the one I'm currently using the most is Termux for Android. Having command line access wherever you go is extremely convenient.

Love this post, Q Terminal gets my vote :)

I use default io.elementary.terminal.

I used to utilize GNU Screen, however, I guess now I won't use it anymore because it has lower votes as compared to others having higher votes such as Xtreme and Terminator.
Well, thanks for your amazing helpful blog.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.