Drawoc Suomynona asks: "After settling into Mac OS X over the last four months, I'm generally impressed. However, due to the sort of development work I do, I spend a great deal of my time in a terminal. Unfortunately for me, decent terminal emulation seems to be one area where Mac OS X is quite lacking. What's your answer to the state of terminal emulation on the Mac?" Drawoc summarizes the currently available offerings and their drawbacks, below.
"Take, for instance, the following options:
- Apple's Terminal is slow (though performance has been better in 10.2.x), doesn't support xterm mousing, and for some reason refuses to send PgUp/PgDn through to any applications running in the terminal (gah!). Sure, transparency is nice, and with some hacking about (when was the last time you had to force "stty erase"?) you can get decent enough color xterm emulation, but... what's with the lack of PgUp/PgDn?
- The open source iTerm is slightly better, but, it's awfully slow (it grabs as much as 30% of the CPU per terminal instance... now imagine a full-screen vim session at 1600x1200... it's utterly unusable). It also neglects to support xterm mouse reporting.
- The closed source GLTerm ($10) is probably the best of the three "native" options, from a certain perspective. It manages to sidestep the CPU usage/UI responsiveness issue by rendering the entire terminal using OpenGL (yes, the characters are actually textures on GL primatives). It supports xterm mouse reporting. However, font choices are limited, it works only on supported video cards, and it has a very annoying "fuzzy text bug" if you set your terminal to the wrong size.
- Finally, you've got xterm :) But, it means you need to run X11 (either XDarwin or Apple's X11) and it doesn't integrate as nicely into the OS X workflow..."