What's your favorite Linux terminal emulator?

Help us pick the best Linux terminal emulator by completing our poll.
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Sysadmins are among the heaviest users of terminal emulators, software programs that emulate a hardware terminal such as the VT100. But everyone who uses Linux regularly probably knows their way around a term application.

Most terminal emulators are graphical programs that run on any Linux graphical desktop environment, like KDE, Cinnamon, LXDE, GNOME, and others, and can emulate several different types of hardware terminals.

There are many terminal emulators available for Linux. The first one, Xterm, was developed in 1984 by Thomas Dickey. Xterm is still maintained and packaged as part of many modern Linux distributions. Other popular terminal emulators include Konsole, Tilix, RXVT, GNOME terminal, Terminator, Xfce4-terminal, and LXTerminal; each has interesting features that appeal to specific groups of users. For example, some can open multiple tabs or terminals in a single window. Others have just the minimum set of features required and are typically used when small size and efficiency are called for.

I use three terminal emulators consistently, switching between them depending on the features I need—or sometimes just because they are there. Sometimes I just want a change.

I scoured the internet and easily discovered more than 40 terminal emulators that cover the Linux, Windows, and Mac environments. I even found one list claiming the 36 best terminal emulators. I am sure that there are more out there, and some of the ones I found are obsolete or have very limited usage.

With so many to choose from, I started wondering about Opensource.com readers’ favorite terminal emulators. I pared down the list by eliminating ones that were unsupported or obsolete. I haven’t used the vast majority of them, but I will probably try some now that I know they exist.

What is your favorite terminal emulator? Let us know in the poll above. And please leave a comment letting us know why you prefer the one you chose—or if your favorite isn’t listed, choose “Other” and let us know about it in the comment section. 

David Both
David Both is an Open Source Software and GNU/Linux advocate, trainer, writer, and speaker. He has been working with Linux and Open Source Software since 1996 and with computers since 1969. He is a strong proponent of and evangelist for the "Linux Philosophy for System Administrators."


What is a terminal emulator?

Black Screen is called upterm these days.

You don't have mingw or cygwin..... No biggie, they're only the most popular industry wide... Nice job editor.

Thanks for the comment.

Neither MinGW nor Cygwin are for Linux, though. Since terminal emulators for Linux are the focus of this poll, it's no surprise they weren't included.

In reply to by Fredrick (not verified)

I like pterm because it gives all the options putty does for configuring my terminal. I had issues with all others I have tried here or there and it seems the most stable.

i am using PTerm written in smalltalk, running on Pharo. it enables me to run the Pharo smalltalk environment in fullscreen without getting in the way when i need to access the commandline.

greetings, eMBee.

Although it's not a Linux only (Windows, Mac and other OS's) I still think putty is one of the best terminal emulators. Just a huge range of features, ability to save profiles, built in SSH tunneling, massive range of terminal types emulated etc. Brilliant

I usually use mate-terminal

Putty and looking at Atom....

powershell which runs on both windows and linux is nice too in my opinion it should be the default windows terminal program

that doesn't make sense, if you know the Linux terminal. the Linux terminal is far more powerful and versatile than Powershell, which is why Powershell is rarely used outside of Windows, or Windows developers. the only reason a Linux user would have need for Powershell, would probably be a Windows developer using Linux.

In reply to by Pyrax

ITerm2 (I guess that’s just for MacOS though)

Because I usually use the XFCE desktop, I chose Xfce4-Terminal. I use IceWM and other small, simple window managers to conserve resources on older equipment. Though I've used xterm plenty in the past, it seems that I have to tweak it and copy my configuration files around just to use it. Instead, I'll use LXTerminal or one of the rxvt terminal alternatives when logged into small, minimal window manager configurations.

Terminator, probably because I have been used to it for so long now. And I love the plugin that allows you to save lines with commands as a custom command. Easy for apt-get update, and the like.

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