Graham searches for the best new free software

Superfast Terminal Emulator

Alacritty 0.1

We don't often think of an actual terminal emulator being either fast or slow. The commands we run in them are nearly always the culprits when it comes to clogging up your system, but that doesn't stop developers from trying to create the fastest terminal in the land. This is what Alacritty is – a terminal emulator that promises "blazing fast" speed. It's even brave enough to claim to be the fastest terminal emulator available, and I certainly found it faster than anything I had installed. But the clever part is that this speed comes from a part of your system you're unlikely to be fully utilizing while typing on the command line, and that's your GPU. Alacritty uses OpenGL directly to harness the power of your graphics hardware and is capable of rendering around 500 frames per second with a high-resolution screen full of text, according to the developer.

The motivation behind developing Alacritty is to give terminal-intensive applications, like vim or tmux, a much needed performance boost, especially when running on high-resolution, high-pixel density displays. It draws a new frame whenever anything changes within the terminal, and not when the terminal is sitting idle, and you notice this whenever you deal with screenfuls of scrolling text. What's even more remarkable is that Alacritty is written in Rust, a project under the auspices of Mozilla Research. That a new and modern language can perform as well as traditionally speedy but dangerous languages like C or C++ is a sure sign of the future in terms of both code security and validity. It also helps that the terminal looks so good, thanks to the sub-pixel anti-aliasing, which is presumably coming for free with OpenGL. If you use a terminal all the time, as many of us are now doing, it's only when you use a super-fast terminal like Alacritty that you realize you were using an old one.

Project Website

You don't normally use the GPU while using the terminal, so why not use a terminal that uses the GPU?

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