aterm, xterm, Eterm, rxvt, Konsole, oh my!

Konsole” supports transparency, but it is slow (and most importantly for me, does not have the “fixed” fonts that xterm uses). “xterm” is cool, but I want transparency which it doesn’t have. “Eterm” is, again, slower than “xterm”, and though it does support backgrounds, you cannot, as far as I have explored it, make “Eterm” use any image for background. On the flip side, “Eterm” has support for the fixed fonts like xterm. But I desperately need “transparency”.

Look at “aterm”. Although working on the shoulders of “rxvt”, “aterm” is pretty much like “xterm”, supports all the things “xterm” does, and provides fast visually pleasing effects (without hogging up resources like Konsole), including, what I want the most, transparency. Not only that, you can configure “aterm” to use fixed font. What more do I want?

If you have aterm installed, invoke it with the following arguments:

aterm -tr -trsb -cr red +sb -fg gray -fn fixed -fb fixed


5 thoughts on “aterm, xterm, Eterm, rxvt, Konsole, oh my!

  1. A few years ago I did a benchmark of terminal emulators, and I found (in spite of the hearsay) that Eterm without transparentcy was among the fastest — I think only rxvt with no fancy settings was faster. Aterm and xterm were both slower.

    With transparency or pixmaps, Eterm was the fastest of all with similar settings, (yes it was faster than Aterm) and in fact I think it was faster than xterm (with no special settings!), but I can’t verify that at the moment.

    Of course you are right about gnome-terminal and konsole, but they vary in performance because they use a lot of memory.

    The speed of a terminal emulator should be irrelevant, you should consider features first…

    Eterm can also do nice things like outline fonts for improved readiblity, and it can have tabs to reflect gnu screens buffers.

    Personally though, I might eventually switch to kterm (not the same as konsole) because of it’s great unicode support and support of basically every feature that gterm and konsole supports…

  2. I can’t say I am not mistaken, but the reason I ceased using Eterm an year ago was it hogging memory. If I left it running (and using) for a while, say hours at ends, it would take time when you minimised and maximised the window.

    My first impressions of “aterm” are that of it being pretty fast, but with transparency enabled, it flickers a lot (probably as a result of trying to update the background which stays the same all the time). The flickering is very annoying. I like the big fonts though.

    I have not tried “kterm”. I’ll give it a try and see if I like it.

    “konsole” is great; it is just that on my Xorg and Slackware, it only supports five fonts and both of them are pretty ugly. I write code on the the terminal, and none of the five fonts provide clear visual aid. However, the konsole on the CentOS box at work supports a nice fixed-width font that I like.

    I will give Eterm another go. It has some external lib dependencies during compilation.

    Thanks for the comment, Tim. I’ve had my fair share of transparency and pixmaps — they look cool when you want your terminal to look snazzy, but when you’re doing serious work most of the time on the terminal, transparency doesn’t matter.

  3. Pingback: aterm, xterm, Eterm, rxvt, Konsole,选择谁? | Simpleman & Simple Life

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