Welcome back xterm all is forgiven

Until about a year ago I had been using good old xterm, (I used it under at least olwm,olvwm,twm,tvtwm,ctwm,fvwm,CDE,GNOME). I switch to using gnome-terminal since it appeared to be good enough, it was the default under GNOME (by current desktop of choice) and it had a few features I really liked (though some I sorely missed from xterm too).

    Those I like from gnome-terminal and actively use are:
  • Profiles - mainly for different coloured foreground (green,amber,white)
  • "Right click ->Open Terminal" is very helpful since usually I can't see the desktop root window

    Things I don't like about gnome-terminal:
  • It can be slow compared to xterm when large amounts of text need to be written. For example the output of make going by really quickly
  • It seems to be very sensitive to your local cwd becoming unavailable so much that all gnome-terminal windows lock up - even those with remote logins

    Things I missed from xterm while using gnome-terminal:
  • Different colour cursor (not the mouse pointer or shell prompt) from the main foreground colour
  • Keyboard grab - I have this bound to the stop key on a Sun keyboard.

So why is it welcome back xterm ? Basically it is the performance. I use Sun Ray most of the time now, and Sun Ray at home over a 1Mbps ADSL line is perfectly usable providing I use xterm and not gnome-terminal.

I should also say that my xterm config isn't default and it is customised so that the Sun keyboard Copy/Paste keys work

The only think I'm really missing from gnome-terminal now I've switched back to xterm is the ability to change which profile (colour basically) a given window is in while it is running


There is another issue I've seen with gnome terminal with sunrays: memory

dtterm takes about 6M a pop (lots of that is shared). Gnome terminal has a way of quickly ballooning up to 150M+.

One last thing is that when one instance dies, they all die. Nothing like having 20 terminal windows all go down at the same time.

Posted by John on August 03, 2007 at 08:44 AM BST #

I find it interesting that you use the Copy/Paste keys. I just cut and paste with the mouse... how do you mark the region that you want to copy? The advantage of having keys disappears when you have to move your hand to the mouse...

Posted by Volker A. Brandt on August 03, 2007 at 09:00 AM BST #

Are you really able to use the default solaris xterm for anything? I have these problems: 1) <> around nicks in irssi doesn't show up (I use irssi inside a remote screen session), to make them show up I have to use the xterm86 from blastwave 2) but then pageup and pagedown keys doesn't workin the xterm86, found no way to enable them, but disabling the numlock and using 9 and 3 on the numeric keypad does the job If anyone has some advice I would be glad to try something to fix this behaviour, tnx :')

Posted by sickness on August 03, 2007 at 09:23 AM BST #

FWIW, I'm sure it's possible to change the gnome-terminal cursor colour, but not without hacking at gtkrc files IIRC.

Posted by guest on August 03, 2007 at 09:59 AM BST #

@sickness: You need to set the VT100 translations resource, for example:

xterm\*VT100.Translations:       #override  \\n\\
                                <Key>Prior: scroll-back(1, page)    \\n\\
                                <Key>Next : scroll-forw(1, page)    \\n

This usually goes into the .Xdefaults file.

Posted by Volker A. Brandt on August 03, 2007 at 10:21 AM BST #

I18N is crucial for me, so I use rxvt and gnome-terminal in preference to xterm. And the performance of gnome-terminal seems OK if all you run in it is screen(1) and if you keep the gnome-terminal scrollback buffer smallish (because screen is better at that anyways).

Posted by Nico on August 03, 2007 at 10:26 AM BST #

Though, ironically enough, I have to set TERM=xterm-color to get the best out of apps like VIM. (And, of course, I have to set TERMINFO=/opt/sfw/share/terminfo, grr.)

Posted by Nico on August 03, 2007 at 10:28 AM BST #

Eterm is the best term there is. All hail Eterm.

Posted by benr on August 03, 2007 at 01:23 PM BST #

@Volker A. Brandt: I tried your .Xdefault hint, and it works! but unfortunately, in screen, instead of scrolling back inside the screen buffer like 3 and 9 do, it scrolles back all the xterm buffer itself, making a strange garbled effect =) anyway now I'll try other strings, tnx for the valuable info!

Posted by sickness on August 05, 2007 at 05:54 PM BST #

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