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3 Reasons Why GNOME-Terminal Isn’t Good Enough!

Breaking my blogging-free holidays, to complaining for Terminal? That doesn’t sound so right ..but not too wrong either!

GNOME & Terminal

Unlikely with people that want to create a Terminal-Free environment in GNOME, meaning a desktop that you don’t have to use Terminal, I’m totally opposed. GNOME’s #1 strength comes from Terminal and everything that Bash represents.

Be honest here! Windows and Macs are second class Operating Systems. Google adopted Linux and ~Open Source model for their systems, and Android now makes fun in both WinPhones and iOS. Technically the importance of both these proprietary OSes is insignificant in market.

In desktop the case is different. Windows do great, OS X does okay.  However, by having the whole software industry moving fast-forward to Web and WebApps, it leads to a prediction that Chrome OS has everything that’s necessary to follow Android success and to get a 80% market share in desktop too.

What’s noticeable here thought, is that the whole Web development is taken place and it runs in Linux boxes and servers. So my belief is that GNOME should primary be build as a development platform and having a very strong integration with Bash. GNOME shouldn’t try to compete with Chrome OS or Android. GNOME has already a priceless advantage over the -slowly dying- Windows and OS X, and that is called LINUX.

While programming languages and development frameworks becoming more powerful but simpler over time, they also require more and more the use of a Terminal. Personally I’ve noticed that no matter what I do, I have to use a Terminal Emulator at least once every couple of minutes. This is more than ever before!

For me, Terminal is the most significant (together with Web-Browser) application in whole GNOME. In some sense feels like that GNOME is made for serving Terminal and not the other way around. So having a smart desktop UI like GNOME Shell and a powerful Terminal Emulator, are two good reasons to use GNOME.

3 Reasons Why GNOME-Terminal Isn’t Good Enough!

First of, this isn’t 3 reasons that Terminal sucks, but  3 reasons that in my opinion make Terminal insufficient to fully cover today’s GNOME user needs. Of course I could pay a visit to GNOME Terminal Bugzilla and get more Terminal disadvantages, but instead I will keep this list personal and small with the popular number 3!

[caption id="attachment_27320" align="aligncenter" width="640"]terminal-top3 Top 3 Pros / Cons[/caption]

3. Transparency

Okay that is not a usability feature, but it is a user experience feature. There is a difference here. By User Experience I mean the subconscious emotional bond between a user and a program. This is a higher level of usability that makes the user to kinda “love” an application and enjoy working with it. 

In general the user experience in GNOME Terminal is far from good although some improvements concerning this area have been made for 3.14 release.

Also I want to add something out of my workflow. Some people are using transparency in cases like having Terminal on the top of a Web-Browser and be able to read a wiki and run commands in Bash. I guess an Arch user common case scenario :)

2. Extra Panels (VTE Views)

It isn’t even worth to explain how important this feature is for a termimal emulator. Should we use a tiling manager for getting the obvious? I won’t say what terminal emulators offer this functionality, but even gEdit added this feature in their 3.12 release. GNOME’s text editor can manage multiple viewports, but Terminal can’t..

1. Notifications

I’m placing the notification support in #1 just because it was the original reason for making me writing this post. I was running a server in a terminal, the service was failed, and I was trying to figure out why my application wasn’t working for a whole 20 minutes!

Did GNOME-Terminal displayed a notification, “Hey, this script has exited!”? Nop. Why?

Even in the very basic of tasks like updating your distro, I don’t get why I have to watching Terminal if the process is done, instead of waiting Terminal to send me a notification “Hey, dnf update is done!” or “Hey, dnf update failed“!

Those were my top-3 missing features in GNOME Terminal. Everyone will probably have his/her own .. & patches are always welcome -before someone else calls it ;)

[caption id="attachment_27328" align="aligncenter" width="640"]final-termi1 Final Term looks great ..but it is slower than a speeding microorganism![/caption]

FinalTerm offers all these features (Transparency, Notifications, Extra Views) and lots more, like smart auto-completion, theme support and others,  but currently is super buggy and super slow!

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  • Simon Petrikov

    There are variety of reasons why I don’t use Gnome Terminal and prefer Guake.

  • Bu Buccaneer

    Fedora 21 made some improvements to the Terminal

  • rhoitman

    Its 2 years late, but..
    just wanna point out
    3. transparency isn’t handled by application but Window Manager, for example compiz can do that easily.
    2. Its true that gnome-terminal doesn’t have tiling, but until you are doing some crazy stuff or show off it isn’t necessary, if its the must there is always tmux or just start emacs console.
    1. Its possible to send notification but if its integrated in gnome-terminal its will be chaos, after each command just add ‘&& notify-send success || notify-send failed’