What terminal programs have the following characteristics?

  • Unicode support
  • geometry, fg/bg colours, other options settable from command line on a per-invocation basis
  • actively supported

Background: I don't want or need a lot from my terminal emulator, but the ones I've used recently don't quite stand up. I've been using Xfce generally for a few years, and hence xfce4-terminal is my default: it's good, lightweight, and modern, but is limited in its command-line configuration; in particular, I cannot set the background colour on a per-window basis (afaict). I've also used xterm since basically ever, which is highly configurable, but... aging... and my current xterm install lacks good Unicode support (among other modern conveniences, but that's the big annoyance at the moment). I've also used rxvt, but it looks like that hasn't been updated in years.

closed as primarily opinion-based by casey, Anthon, jasonwryan, Bernhard, Karlson Jun 25 '14 at 21:20

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Reported, as SE doesn't recommend software – eyoung100 Jun 25 '14 at 19:53
  • I just re-checked the unix.SE guidelines, and my question doesn't fall into the banned subjective category. In particular, I'm not interested in anyone's "favorite" terminal; I want to know if there are terminal programs out there that meet my specific requirements. – blahedo Jun 25 '14 at 20:08
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    There's always termite. Also, this still seems kind of subjective to me. You are looking for recommendations. Even if they are grounded in features, the notion of a "feature" is itself, subjective. – HalosGhost Jun 25 '14 at 20:10
  • "good" and "lightweight" are subjective terms. If you don't want subjective recommendations, I suggest removing those terms from your question. – Flimzy Jun 25 '14 at 20:27
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    Only 1 of your 4 criteria is really meaningful (the 3rd one, regarding setting attributes from the command line). There are no "heavyweight" terminals in a contemporary context, and you'd be hard pressed to find one without unicode support (please do not interject absurdist exceptions to this). The last one is kind of a pointless footnote -- if someone finds you a terminal that meets your third criteria and it isn't actively supported, then gripe. I presume by "from the command line" you mean at invocation; some terminals support profiles for this, I think. – goldilocks Jun 25 '14 at 20:35

You can try rxvt-unicode. It fully conforms all of your listed criterias:

  • really lightweight, on my system it only uses 0.5M memory with multiple instances
  • unicode is fully supported, hence its name
  • fully configurable through the Xresources file, but all configuration options has a corresponding command line option
  • development is active, latest stable release is from late April.

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