What's a good Linux terminal emulator that doesn't try to reinvent TMUX?

This page summarizes the projects mentioned and recommended in the original post on news.ycombinator.com

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  • alacritty

    A cross-platform, OpenGL terminal emulator.

    I'm not sure how current that article is - in that article they state that the alacritty team had created an issue relating to latency[0] which was closed in favour of a different issue[1] which is still open.

    The newer issue[1] appears to state that latency isn't an issue on Wayland as it already has frame scheduling support, but their proposed fix targets X11, MacOS and Windows.

    I was quite surprised as I hadn't noticed any latency using alacritty, but I've been on Wayland for some time so that might be the reason.

    [0] https://github.com/alacritty/alacritty/issues/673

    [1] https://github.com/alacritty/alacritty/issues/3972

  • kitty

    Cross-platform, fast, feature-rich, GPU based terminal

    I enjoy Kitty’s good color support and performance, though it does have a lot of bells and whistles in which you’re not interested:


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  • extraterm

    The swiss army chainsaw of terminal emulators

  • cool-retro-term

    A good looking terminal emulator which mimics the old cathode display...

    In some sense it's not a good terminal emulato (I hit several glitches in it on macOS, though it seems to do better on my NixOS machine), but I'm in love with cool-retro-term for its gorgeous CRT-style visuals.


    I mention it because it doesn't have tabs, saved sessions, or any of the other features tmux handles.

    So, it's not a bad fit for heavy tmux users.

  • Terminal-Features

    A list of some terminal features that matter to me

    Here's a list somebody posted yesterday on the arch reddit https://github.com/asdf8dfafjk/Terminal-Features/blob/main/F...

  • st

    build of the suckless simple terminal with patches for alpha, font2, copyurl, openclipboard, invert, appsync, xresources, scrollback, w3m, keyboard select, boxdraw (by mrdotx)

  • zutty

    X terminal emulator rendering through OpenGL ES Compute Shaders

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  • tilix

    A tiling terminal emulator for Linux using GTK+ 3

  • its

    Incompatible Timesharing System

    tmux didn't happen until 2007.

    By contrast, blit terminals could run multiple terminal emulators in graphical windows around 1982 (commercial by 84; http://doc.cat-v.org/bell_labs/blit/ ). Likewise, some of the UNIX workstation vendors' early windowing systems like Sun Windowing System (SunOS 1.0, 1983) supported multiple terminal emulators. The earliest graphical multiple terminal emulator is probably Xerox PARC's Alto, which could run multi-window Chat (which was more or less a telnet superset) for talking to PARC's bespoke MAXC PDP-10 clone or other ARPA sites in 1979 or so.

    The necessary condition for software terminal multiplexing (a robust pseudoterminal system) has been around for a very long time in places like the DEC 36-bit lineage: it was present in the PDP-6 Time Sharing Monitor announced in 1967 ( http://bitsavers.org/pdf/dec/pdp6/PDP-6_TimsharingBroch.pdf ), and continued to be present in most of the PDP-10 systems, importantly the TENEX line, and was later available in some of the smaller DEC systems like RSTS for the PDP-11. That was enough to detach and reattach jobs to terminals, but I can't find record of a screen-splitting tool. There were some patches from RAND and BBN to 6th edition UNIX by the late 70s ( https://minnie.tuhs.org/cgi-bin/utree.pl?file=SRI-NOSC/dmr/p... ), but there wasn't really wide-spread PTY support in UNIX until 1983 when 8th edition and 4.2 BSD sprung TENEX-like psuedoterminals, which kind of puts a lower bound on UNIX-like systems having such a thing.

    It's possible EMACS was first, still in PDP-10 environments. ITS EMACS had some kind of hsplit support early on, possibly as early as April 1978 ( https://github.com/PDP-10/its/blob/master/doc/eak/emacs.lore ), and later some limited terminal-dependent vsplit support was developed for Multics EMACS between 84-88 by Honeywell Canada on behalf of the Canadian Department of National Defense for use in translation work ( http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/pdf/honeywell/multics/CH2... ). I can't find a record of when Comint mode or something like it came into being, which is necessary to use it as a terminal multiplexer.

    There's a whole diversion about SRI NLS being able to do terminal multiplexing in demos on a SDS940 running the Berkeley Time Sharing System by the late 60s. They never split to multiple text terminals in any footage I've seen, and at least early on it seems the apparent screen multiplexing in eg. the mother of all demos in '68, was done with cameras pointed at CRTs and analog video muxes.

NOTE: The number of mentions on this list indicates mentions on common posts plus user suggested alternatives. Hence, a higher number means a more popular project.

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