Terminal emulator

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A terminal emulator, terminal application, term, or tty emulates a video terminal within another display architecture (usually X). A terminal emulator will generally start the default shell that is defined as the login shell for given user. On Gentoo the default shell is bash.

If an X environment has not been set up in Gentoo, the system will boot to the first tty interface. Under most circumstances it is possible to access different terminal interfaces by pressing the Alt+F1 through Alt+F6 keys on the keyboard. The super key (often the "windows key" on many keyboards) will also toggle between terminals.

If an X environment has been set up, there are more than a few terminal emulator options available for the user to choose from - see next section. From an X11 session, the Linux virtual terminals can be accessed with Ctrl+Alt+F1 through Ctrl+Alt+F6 key combinations. If the X11 session was started from a session manager, it is often started on tty7. Return to it by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F7, otherwise return to the graphical session by going back to the virtual terminal on which it was started.

Available software

Popular terminal emulators include:

Title Package Description
Alacritty x11-terms/alacritty GPU-accelerated terminal emulator.
kitty x11-terms/kitty A modern, hackable, featureful, OpenGL-based terminal emulator written in Python and C.
Konsole kde-apps/konsole The default terminal emulator for KDE / Plasma.
GNOME Terminal x11-terms/gnome-terminal The default terminal emulator for GNOME.
Guake x11-terms/guake Drop-down terminal emulator for GNOME.
lxterminal lxde-base/lxterminal The standard terminal emulator of LXDE.
rxvt-unicode x11-terms/rxvt-unicode Light in resource usage, fast, and more feature-rich (tabs, transparency, Unicode, etc.).
st x11-terms/st Simple terminal implementation for X.
terminator x11-terms/terminator A terminal emulator arranging multiple terminals in one window, Python based, for GNOME.
terminology x11-terms/terminology The default terminal emulator for Enlightenment.
tilda x11-terms/tilda A drop down terminal, similar to the consoles found in first person shooters.
xfce4-terminal x11-terms/xfce4-terminal The default terminal emulator for the Xfce desktop environment.
XTerm x11-terms/xterm The default terminal emulator for X.org.
Yakuake kde-apps/yakuake Quake-style (drop-down) terminal emulator based on Konsole for KDE / Plasma.

Additional terminal emulators can be found in the x11-terms category.


Display garbled after binary output

Generally corrupted or garbled output is not caused by the terminal emulator itself, but rather the programming running within the emulator. Often when binary output is displayed into the terminal, the program running inside the terminal will need to refresh the emulator in order for output to be corrected. Refresh is accomplished differently depending on the program.


On occasion the text in the terminal emulator will become garbled. This generally happens if binary output is displayed to standard out (stdout). This can easily be fixed by typing the reset command.

When using bash, the shell can be cleared and redrawn by pressing ctrl+l (lower case L).

See the Bash article for more Bash specific features and fixes.

External resources