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rjbs (4671)

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I'm a Perl coder living in Bethlehem, PA and working Philadelphia. I'm a philosopher and theologan by training, but I was shocked to learn upon my graduation that these skills don't have many associated careers. Now I write code.

Journal of rjbs (4671)

Thursday September 08, 2005
08:10 PM

apple terminal hell

[ #26651 ]

There is not a good terminal for use with Mac OS X, as far as I can tell. doesn't let me redefine the RGB values of the colors, so I'm stuck with their horribly dark blue. Worse, it uses bold fonts for bold colors, when they should really just be bright. (I belive that 10.2's lousy actually had an option for this, and it was done away with.) It's not an xterm, so it doesn't do xterm magic. (I am sorely missing being able to have the Perl debugger pop open a new terminal to debug forked processes -- this despite having only learned about it today.)

iTerm is insane. Sometimes it just starts using huge amounts of memory or CPU. I'm told it's slow, but it hasn't usually been so slow that I notice. I actually don't like its tabbing feature, but it lets me redefine colors, and it doesn't bold terminal text. It has some kind of "double-click to open URLs" thing, but it sucks, never works, and often tries to open http://%20/ when I'm just trying to re-focus my term.

xterm is xterm, but its copy and paste interacts poorly with the rest of the OS. Dieter showed me how to make it work sometimes today: remap a key to "insert" and then use shift-insert. This works when command-V and the Edit menu don't... but I have no convenient key to remap on my laptop, and hitting shift-insert is a pain in the butt to begin with. The fonts are ugly, too.

Sometimes I wish I was still running Linux.

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  • Sometimes I wish I was still running Linux.

    That's one of the reasons I switched back from Mac OS X to Linux.

    • I need to make a big PRO and CON chart. I like iTunes, I like OmniWeb and OmniOutliner and OmniGraffle -- but these days I use them less and less. I like NetNewsWire (but Sage looks nice).

      QuickSilver is fantastic, but I don't use it much anymore, except to launch...

      • For me, the ability to upgrade every program on my box at my convenience, when I see fit, the ability to install almost any program I could ever want with a single command-line interface, virtual desktops, focus follows mouse, X11 apps that integrate with the rest of the system, and the source code for absolutely everything available and unencumbered was too much to resist... at least once open drivers existed for all of my hardware.

        • Do you like the LinuxPPC? Which distro do you use?
          • LinuxPPC is pretty handy. It's a lot faster than Mac OS X (even on the same hardware) and it's fairly easy to keep up to date. I use Gentoo, but I'm willing to try Ubuntu.

            My only niggle hardware-wise right now is that I have to mute and unmute the volume manually to reset the sound outupt after waking up from sleep. Everything else -- hardware accelerated video, DVD playing, headphones, USB, hardware suspend , internal modem -- just works.

  • doesn't let me redefine the RGB values of the colors, so I'm stuck with their horribly dark blue.
    Well, sure, if you use their preset. But you can dial in any color you want for a custom screen.
    • Randal L. Schwartz
    • Stonehenge
    • "You can do this" is not helpful without "and here's how." Do you just mean the useless-to-me "foreground color" settings? I want to change the meaning of /each/ color. In iTerm, I map my colors to a set that I like [].
      • Not sure why you're not seeing it. I have window open. I go to the "Terminal/Window Settings..." menubar item (right next to preferences). This gives me a preferences box that has a popup list (Shell/Processes/Emulation/...). One of the options is "Color". There, I see a popup with "Black on White", "White on Black" and a few others. Below that is four color samples of "Cursor", "Selected", "Normal Text", "Bold Text" and a bit further down, "background color". Any one of those can be cli
        • Randal L. Schwartz
        • Stonehenge
  • I use aterm instead of xterm, mainly because it's smarter about double-clicking on things like URLs and email addresses. It's not in the standard install, but you can get it from fink. Otherwise I use the standard

    As for copying and pasting, here's what I do. To copy from X, just highlight the text and hit cmd-C, just like in any other OS X application. To paste text from the clipboard into X, click the mouse button while holding the option key down. Other things might work if you've got a fa

  • If you generally want a good terminal emulator, forget xterm (and aterm). Try urxvt [] (alias rxvt-unicode).

    I have no idea how well it integrates into OS X, though.

  • I've found some teriffic bitmap fonts for terminals which I use when I (a) am working with an LCD screen and (b) am not presenting or pair-debugging^Wprogramming. They're the "Bright" and "Tixus" fonts from Linux Font Project's fixed-width fonts [] collection. Both are simple and crisp, plus Tixus lets you fit a lot of information on the screen without squinting.
    qw(Ian Langworth)
  • Seriously. But go back to iTerm version 0.7.8 (B).
    • I gave it a go, but it didn't seem that great. It seemed to ignore the "don't bold" preference (it just wouldn't save it, and I found no relevant plist entry.) It had some other random issues, too, that I meant to mention immediately, but I got distracted and now can't recall. I'm on 0.8.1 again, and things seem to be OK for now. (crossing fingers...)