Whenever I begin a data-manipulation session I have to manually open two terminals - one to work in, and another that runs gnuplot so I can quickly load a plot program to see the results.

Both are opened in the same directory /home/pi/python, where the data is constantly automatically logged and available for analysis.

To minimize typing I have created a script called pj that I've put into /usr/sbin (in my $PATH) that contains

cd /home/pi/python

I invoke it by typing

. pj      (notice the space so when it exits it stays there)

Then I have to click to open a second terminal window where I run a script gp that contains the following commands:

cd /home/pi/python

This one I invoke with


notice no dot before the command because I don't care what happens when it eventually exits - I tend to leave it open all day.

Is there a way in bash to have one command do both for me?

The question is in the title: can I open two interactive terminal windows in a single script?

Put simply, I would like one command to open two terminal windows into the same subdirectory, with one of them running gnuplot in interactive mode and the other sitting at the bash prompt.

2 Answers 2


If you invoke a terminal emulator from the command-line in another terminal emulator, it will (usually) create a new window and then return to the command prompt in the first terminal emulator. Based on that, something along the lines of:

cd python
<whatever-terminal-emulator> --command gnuplot

Should get what you want (although the --command option might be different if you're using a really simple terminal emulator like xterm (for those, you usually just omit the --command option).

  • 1
    Maybe not every folder has a subfolder named python?
    – John Goofy
    Jul 24, 2017 at 16:04
  • 1
    It was based on his original scripts, which explicitly cd python. Jul 24, 2017 at 17:01
  • Thank you for pointing me in the right direction, @Austin. I made it work and posted an answer to show what I did. I tried xterm but to make it work I would have had to specify font sizes and stuff - it was way too small. Anyway, I have accepted your answer because you gave me the gold nugget. I hope I can get an upvote so this isn't a zero question. I think this could be useful for a lot of other people. TNX again.
    – SDsolar
    Jul 24, 2017 at 23:16

Thanks to @Austin's push in the right direction, here is the script that ended up working.

It is named go and is in my $PATH (/usr/bin on the Ubuntu machines and /usr/sbin on the Raspbian machines), so it works from anywhere:

cd /home/pi/python
gnome-terminal -e gnuplot &
gnome-terminal &

All I have to do is type


and it opens the two windows I need.

Interestingly, adding an exit line at the end will not close the original terminal, but that's OK.

This is a time-saver for sure.

  • Not just exit fails to do anything but I have also tried kill $PPID and it won't close the parent terminal, either. Not that it matters, it is just curious.
    – SDsolar
    Jul 25, 2017 at 3:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.