If you’ve used Ubuntu for a while now, you must be aware of the power of the command-line interface. It offers more control over the operating system and its working, eats up less memory than a GUI, and is suitable for automating your tasks. On Ubuntu, the default command-line interface that picks up your commands for execution is the Terminal app.
But what if you are bored with the default terminal? Don’t panic. As an Ubuntu user, your options are not limited, thanks to an active open-source culture. There are a variety of credible Terminal alternatives for Ubuntu all over the internet. Let’s look at them one by one.
Guake is an interesting alternative to the default Ubuntu terminal, as it offers a drop-down command line to the users. Inspired by a first-person shooting (FPS) game, users can hide the terminal and bring it back up by simply pressing a key. There are a host of other features as well, such as:
- Option to split the terminal horizontally or vertically.
- Compatible with a multi-monitor setup.
- Ability to choose from a variety of color palettes.
- Open multiple tabs at a time.
- Options to restore previous tabs.
To install Guake on your system, open the terminal and type the following command:
sudo apt-get update
The aforementioned command updates your system index repository. Now, enter the below-given command to begin the installation process:
sudo apt-get install guake
After the installation is complete, you can verify it by running:
You can launch Guake either directly through the Terminal app with the guake command, or through the GUI by heading over to the Applications menu.
Terminator is a useful Terminal alternative that lets you open multiple command line terminals in a single window. To do that, right-click on the Terminator window and select Open Tab. Similarly, you can also split a single-window either horizontally or vertically. Here are a few other features:
- Lots of options for customization. You can edit fonts, background, color, and more.
- Also offers the split-screen feature.
- Options to create multiple terminals in a single window.
- Plenty of keyboard shortcuts to save your time.
Again, the installation process is similar to the one we used above. If you want to give this app a go, use the following command to install:
sudo apt-get install terminator
After the installation is complete, you can launch the app from the Ubuntu Applications menu.
Yakuake is another drop-down Ubuntu app on the list that allows a user to easily switch the screen with a single click. Although originally meant for the KDE desktop, it works well with GNOME and other desktop environments, too. It offers a host of features like:
- A sleek, smooth rolling terminal.
- Option to add multiple tabs. Moreover, you can switch tabs with simple key combinations.
- Bring up and minimize the Yakuake terminal by pressing F12.
- You can tweak the terminal dimensions and animation.
To install it, run the following commands on your Ubuntu machine:
sudo apt-get install yakuake
Cool Retro Term is another popular terminal emulator. It gives a look familiar to the old CRT monitors you might have used or seen in old hacker movies. It doesn’t offer as many features as the terminals we have discussed so far, but here’s a small list for the curious:
- You can change the effects and style of the terminal.
- Multiple colors are available.
- And finally, it gives a nostalgic retro look of the 80s.
Again, Cool Retro’s selling point has more to do with its aesthetics, rather than its features. So give it a shot if that’s your thing. You can download the Cool Retro Term from the Snap Store.
To install Cool Retro, run the following command:
sudo snap install cool-retro-term --classic
The installation will take a few seconds to complete. You can then launch the terminal directly from the Applications menu.
St or often called Simple Terminal is a terminal emulator for lovers of minimalist design. It offers a lightweight interface and consumes lesser memory. Moreover, it offers features like multiple colors (around 256), resizing, wide-character support, mouse and keyboard shortcuts, and more.
To start, clone the official Git repository through the terminal:
git clone https://git.suckless.org/st
Now install the st package using the make command. But before, you’ll need to download the libxft-dev package.
sudo apt install libxft-dev
sudo make clean install
The first command here takes you to the st directory, and the second one installs the libxft-dev library package, which is necessary for the installation of the terminal. Finally, the make clean install command installs the app.
Note that Simple Terminal doesn’t have a GUI launcher, so you’ll have to launch it directly from your Terminal. Just type st in your terminal and hit Enter to start up the app.
- Ability to open multiple tabs.
- Plenty of shortcuts.
- You can split the terminal.
- Add your own custom CSS.
- Install plugins, themes, and more.
Its developers wrote it to create a beautiful experience for command-line users on top of open web standards. To begin the installation, download the DEB file from the official website.
sudo apt install gdebi-core
sudo gdebi hyper_3.0.2_amd64
The first command, sudo apt-get install gdebi-core, installs the gdebi package. You’ll need it to install Hyper after you’ve downloaded it. Otherwise, you’ll face the error gdebi: command not found. And finally, the second command will install the downloaded application.
It is a terminal emulator following the GNOME human interface guidelines. It means that it looks a lot like the default Terminal app on Ubuntu. But it offers different features as well including:
- Custom links that let you add modified hyperlinks.
- Open multiple terminal panes by splitting them either horizontally or vertically.
- Drag and drop options.
- The ability to include background images.
- Lots of options for keyboard shortcuts.
- Options to customize colors and other styles.
To install Tilix on your system, run the following command:
sudo apt-get install -y tilix
After the app installation is complete, you can run it straight from the Applications menu.
The Best Ubuntu Terminal Alternatives, Explained
And that’s it, folks. In Linux, you can always replace the default apps with free third-party software if you so desire. Hopefully, one of these Ubuntu Terminal substitutes struck a chord with you. All of these tools have nifty features to offer, and like most Ubuntu software, are available as open-source.
To make your work easier, Linux offers app launcher applications that you can use to quickly search for files, find answers, and of course, launch applications.
Want to search files, find answers, and launch apps quickly and efficiently on Linux? You need one of these Linux app launchers.
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