Terminal emulator


My longtime favorite terminal emulator is Konsole running ZSH. Konsole is obviously an important part of the KDE Plasma desktop and integrates perfectly with color themes and font selection. But it's also fast and functional, with native split support, tabbed views, key control over profile swapping, and an unlimited scrollback. But this doesn't mean there aren't better terminal emulators out there. Some that we've previously looked at have been seriously impressive, such as the GPU-accelerated Alacritty. But Viter could be another candidate for one simple reason: It's a terminal emulator that attempts to use Vim key bindings alongside similar normal edit and detached command modes for terminal interaction. While Bash does have a setting for Vim key bindings, and there are various other hacks you can try, none of these feels quite right, because they're not a native part of the terminal emulator's design. Vim is so native to Viter that it even lends itself to the name.

Built with Python 3, Viter is also easy to run with very few dependencies, although we did need to manually modify the #! part of the script to point to the Python binary at /usr/bin rather than /bin. With that done, there's little to initially tell this terminal emulator apart from another. It will use your favorite shell environment and respond to commands just as any terminal emulator should. The fun starts when you press Ctrl+Shift+Space. This is the invocation to put you into detached mode, which is the equivalent to command mode in Vim. You can now use Vim navigation to view the scrollback, including g and G to jump to its beginning and end respectively, / to search, n for the next occurrence, and y to copy. You can then use : to execute a Python interpret command or e to evaluate a Python expression. It works well, and while maybe not mature enough to replace Konsole just yet, it's a great idea.

Project Website

With Vim key bindings, an edit and command mode, and a Python interpreter, Viter is an excellent new take on terminal emulation.

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