Terminator for GNOME lets users split terminal windows

July 27, 2010

Although a command line isn’t a necessity anymore in modern desktop Linux distributions, there are many situations where it’s still the most efficient way to perform and automate tasks. I often spawn terminal windows in clusters on my desktop while I’m working so that I can monitor and switch between a number of simultaneous operations. A large number of terminal windows can be frustrating to manage, however, and can look cluttered on a desktop.

The standard GNOME terminal application supports tabs for command-line multitasking, but that’s often not sufficient for complex arrangements. I want to be able to have more control over how my terminals are organized and I want to be able to manage them better collectively. One good solution is an alternative terminal application for GNOME called Terminator that allows users to organize multiple command line sessions into resizable split panes and tabs.

Terminator, which is developed in Python, provides splitting and other similar features, but uses the same high-quality VTE widget that powers the standard GNOME terminal. There are configurable shortcuts for creating vertical and horizontal splits and rotating through panes and tabs. A "maximize" feature allows you to temporarily collapse the inactive panes so that the active terminal takes up the whole window.

You can also designate groups of panes to which you can "broadcast" your input. The optional broadcast feature allows you to send the same keystrokes to multiple terminals at the same time—a capability that is especially useful if you are using ssh to remotely connect to more than one computer and you want to execute the same command across all of them.

Terminator has been around for a while, but has recently reached a level of maturity where it is a compelling replacement for gnome-terminal in day-to-day use. I highly recommend it to GNOME users who are looking for the ability to split the terminal.

This post has been written by Ryan Paul on July 27, 2010 10:38 AM couresy of arstechnica.com.


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