I wanted to execute some command in terminal emulator, like Konsole, but I need to make this cross-desktop.

Is there some command like xdg-open, but for getting the default terminal emulator?

I'm using Ubuntu.

1 Answer 1


In Debian, you could just call x-terminal-emulator -e /some/command, as this points to the terminal emulator configured by Debian's "alternative" mechanism. It's configured via

# update-alternatives --config x-terminal-emulator

which lets you chose which of the installed X11 terminal emulators to use as the default one, i.e. as x-terminal-emulator. In the end, it's a symlink construction, e.g. for gnome-terminal:

$ which x-terminal-emulator
$ ls -al /usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 37 Apr 26  2010 /usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator -> /etc/alternatives/x-terminal-emulator
$ ls -al /etc/alternatives/x-terminal-emulator
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 31 Apr 26  2010 /etc/alternatives/x-terminal-emulator -> /usr/bin/gnome-terminal.wrapper
$ file /usr/bin/gnome-terminal.wrapper
/usr/bin/gnome-terminal.wrapper: Perl script, ASCII text executable

Some remarks,

  • Unfortunately, it does not work on Fedora 16 with Gnome 3.2.1
    – fheub
    Feb 24, 2012 at 9:52
  • 1
    @AaronLewis Note that this is the system default. I don't think there's any standard way of obtaining the user's favorite X terminal emulator. Feb 24, 2012 at 19:06

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