07 September, 2008

Changing terms

After switching to LXDE a few days ago I've been experimenting with other terminal emulators. For pretty long time my default terminal emulator (the one behind x-terminal-emulator) has been mlterm because:
  • it's fast (start time as well as use)
  • has support for UTF-8
One could say that I shouldn't care about the speed on my new laptop, but there are still noticeable differences even though I'm now running a Dual Core 1.6 GHz with 2 GB of RAM. But why would I ditch mlterm? It has trouble displaying some characters (fortunately not from my native language) and there are strange (but anoying) artifacts when using aptitude. As I see it there are three categories of terminal emulators:
  1. heavy: lots of features, but slow (konsole, gnome terminal)
  2. lightweight: some features, but still slow (xfce4-terminal, lxterminal, roxterm)
  3. minimalistic: fewer features (or different implementation), but fast (mlterm, rxvt, ...)
Category 1. I didn't even try. I don't really need all the stuff they can do. I even don't need tabs, I prefer to have many terms open, because sometimes I work with two (or more) in paralel. From category 2. I tried all three enumerated above. From the features point of view roxterm would have been good for me, but all three of them have noticeable latency when scrolling around in mutt for example. From category 3. I had to dismiss a lot of them after a very simple test: drawing characters in mutt or mc. Most of them just show strange characters... In the end the only contestant left was urxvt (Debian package rxvt-unicode), which eventually replaced mlterm. Pros:
  • no trouble with aptitude
  • the integrated Perl interpreter which brings additional features like URL detection (via the „matcher” perl extension)
  • I had troubles with some colors being too bright, but I think I solved that now
  • I had to write its config from scratch
Let's see how long I'll stay with this one.

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