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A new iTerm2 fork Apps
As you can search the archives, many users are in the Terminal and wind up finding about the various shortcomings Terminal.app from Apple has had and still has. Since the 10.2 days, iTerm has been an alternative project that offered many needed fixes for daily Unix usage and has always remained open source, allowing for future submissions.

iTerm2 is a full featured terminal emulation program written for OS X using Cocoa. It has a native Apple look and feel in the program's interface, and there has always been an emphasis on providing complete international support.

A few months back, there was an unofficial fork that has incorporated needed patches from the SF bug tracker and also improvements submitted by the community. The page has an official site on sites.google.com and maintains an active mailing list. Since the latest alpha, 0.10, can be fairly buggy, I wanted to mention the fork because many issues have been fixed. You can download the most recent build from here.

This is a fork of the older iTerm project hosted on Sourceforge. I am not an official developer and have only submitted hints/suggestions along the way so far.

[crarko adds: iTerm has been a popular replacement for Terminal.app for a long time. I think the usage has dropped since the arrival of and improvements in Snow Leopard, but it's great that the project is still moving forward and certainly deserves a look if you haven't tried it before.]
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A new iTerm2 fork
Authored by: asmeurer on Sep 09, '10 09:31:45AM

Just glancing through this, I didn't see any killer features over the Snow Leopard Terminal, but maybe I just missed them. Can someone tell me any?

I did see a few show-stoppers, though, such as the lack of close buttons on the tabs and the non-Cocoa feel.



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A new iTerm2 fork
Authored by: crarko on Sep 09, '10 10:35:49AM

I think that Apple caught up with Snow Leopard.

The Bonjour integration is maybe the main additional feature in iTerm. And the fact that the source is available, making the program user-extensible.



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just a few
Authored by: Kalak on Sep 09, '10 11:21:20AM

Copy on select
Customizable characters for "words" (aka "Characters considered part of word")
True full screen
Focus follows mouse
middle click paste
cmd-lick on URLs

---
--
Kalak
I am, and always will be, an Idiot.



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just a few
Authored by: robleach on Sep 09, '10 12:31:35PM

Being a Terminal.app user and having been more than satisfied with it for a long time, I'm curious if iTerm has certain features Terminal.app has that are advantages over other terminals. The main feature of Terminal.app that I use the most and now can't live without is the ability to search the contents of the window with command-f (and command-e, command-g, and command-shift-g) with unlimited scroll-back set. None of my windows and linux-using friends can do this and I hear gasps and ahhs and wows when they see me do it. Also, copy-paste doesn't insert hard returns when the lines wrap. Plus, Teminal.app is very stable. I have dozens of terminals open in multiple spaces (I don't like tabs) and they run for months without crashing. I also use option/center-click to position the cursor and command-t to name windows. Does iTerm do all this?

The features you list are nice, but I've lived without them for awhile. Besides, I find that focus follows mouse has lead me to unintended input at times



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just a few
Authored by: Kalak on Sep 09, '10 01:01:32PM

use the most and now can't live without is the ability to search the contents of the window with command-f (and command-e, command-g, and command-shift-g) with unlimited scroll-back set. None of my windows and linux-using friends can do this and I hear gasps and ahhs and wows when they see me do it. Also, copy-paste doesn't insert hard returns when the lines wrap. Plus, Teminal.app is very stable. I have dozens of terminals open in multiple spaces (I don't like tabs) and they run for months without crashing. I also use option/center-click to position the cursor and command-t to name windows. Does iTerm do all this?

cmd-f, cmd-g, cmd-shift-g, work.
No clue what cmd-e does anyway, so I can't tell you. ;)
For the scroll back buffer, it's variable, and mine is set at 100,000 lines. Not sure what it's upper limit is.

The click to position I'd never heard of, but it does seem to be missing that. I don't like the mouse really (which is why I'm usually on the command line), so that's not a loss for me.

As for the stability, with years of use, I can't remember the last time it's crashed, and I live in the terminal, since I'm a sysadmin and run mostly linux servers (This true for the iTerm app, not the fork mentioned here, but I'll know more until it either crashes or a few weeks pass.)

Certainly worth trying.

---
--
Kalak
I am, and always will be, an Idiot.



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just a few
Authored by: robleach on Sep 09, '10 01:15:53PM
cmd-f, cmd-g, cmd-shift-g, work. No clue what cmd-e does anyway, so I can't tell you. ;)
If the others work, cmd-e likely does too. It basically pastes the highlighted text into the search window (but without bringing the search window up). Do you happen to know if searching behaves correctly with selected text that is line wrapped (i.e. it will find the string even when it's not line-wrapped) and if it you can search with multi-line search strings as in Terminal.app?
For the scroll back buffer, it's variable, and mine is set at 100,000 lines. Not sure what it's upper limit is.
So I take it "unlimited" is not an option, as in Terminal.app. Can you get unlimited if you set the buffer to 0 or something?
The click to position I'd never heard of, but it does seem to be missing that. I don't like the mouse really (which is why I'm usually on the command line), so that's not a loss for me.
I knock off long perl one-liners all the time, so ^a and ^e don't cut it for me and the cursor doesn't move fast enough. I'm not aware of any other cursor-positioning shortcuts, so option-click positioning of the cursor is a huge time-saver. I don't know if I could live without that one either.

Edited on Sep 09, '10 01:18:25PM by robleach


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just a few
Authored by: asmeurer on Sep 09, '10 02:40:46PM
The features you list are nice, but I've lived without them for awhile. Besides, I find that focus follows mouse has lead me to unintended input at times
Actually, there is a hidden preference to have that in Terminal.app too. See this hint. But I kind of agree. I'm considering turning it off, since if you have another program in the front, it will ignore all keystrokes if your mouse is over a Terminal window.
I knock off long perl one-liners all the time, so ^a and ^e don't cut it for me and the cursor doesn't move fast enough. I'm not aware of any other cursor-positioning shortcuts, so option-click positioning of the cursor is a huge time-saver. I don't know if I could live without that one either.
Hey, I didn't know about that feature! Thanks for the tip. Really great for those lone one-liners like you say. Too bad it's the same feature that uses rectangular selection, so if you drag instead of click, it does some weird selection instead.

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just a few
Authored by: robleach on Sep 09, '10 02:54:02PM

I forgot about that. I use the box-selection all the time too! It's great for grabbing a column of tabbed data. Does iTerm do that? I think that it sounds to me like Terminal.app is superior given all these features it has that I use every day and none of the other terminal programs have them. I don't see any advantages iTerm has that are worth losing these other features that iTerm doesn't have: unlimited scrollback, option-click cursor positioning, a helluva search capability (multi-line search terms, correct searching over wrapped lines, etc), window titling, box-text selection... I know there's gotta be more. Terminal.app has tons of features. Auto-copy of text might be useful to some, but it would hinder me since I don't always want to overwrite my clipboard buffer because I either want to select text to search with (cmd-e) or even drag-and-drop (which basically allows me to copy one snippet to the clipboard, then drap and drop other selected text, leaving the clipboard contents intact). I use that little trick all the time. I would miss all these little nuances greatly if I used something that didn't have them. In fact, I often get annoyed when I'm at someone else's computer and I have to do 3-click work-arounds to do what I could do in Terminal.app with a single operation.

Edited on Sep 09, '10 02:57:36PM by robleach



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just a few
Authored by: leamanc on Sep 09, '10 03:24:28PM

Yep, Terminal.app has been superior to most other terminal apps for a long time. The only thing iTerm had over it was tabs, and we've had that for a while now in Terminal.app. All the extra features listed can be configured/added to Terminal.app; like the one where focus follows mouse, which can be enabled with a "defaults" command.



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just a few
Authored by: robleach on Sep 09, '10 03:25:52PM

Oh yeah, here's another feature: multiple selections of text. I can hold the command key down and select as many snippets of text as I want and then copy and paste the group of individually selected items (which will paste with hard-returns in between). There are so many ease-of-use features that make my work go faster. Terminal.app is a time-saver. Here's a synopsis. Note, you'll have to let me know if iTerm can do any of these:

multi-line search strings & correct searching of line-wrapped strings (and avoid search window with cmd-e)
copy/paste line-wrapped lines without inserted hard-returns
select and copy/paste multiple strings of text at once
box-selection of text
unlimited scrollback
window-titling (cmd-t)
option/center-click to position cursor
visual-bell (another one I forgot to mention)

The only feature iTerm seems to have that Terminal.app doesn't have that I would like to have is the ability to customize word-characters so that double-clicking a word doesn't pass through a colon as it currently does in Terminal.app. Wait, is that what iTerm does or does that only affect esc-delete and other key-board tricks? Cmd-click on URLs would be nice too.

Rob



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just a few
Authored by: tedw on Sep 09, '10 04:19:00PM

My problem with Terminal.app is that it just has some annoying traits. AppleScript support is shoddy at best, it doesn't seem to remember profiles when you open new tabs or windows... iTerm may not add anything significant over what terminal does, but iTerm does seem to handle the niceties a bit better.



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just a few
Authored by: sinned72 on May 02, '11 10:28:58AM

From my experiences and information in the help:

copy/paste of wrapped lines without hard returns works (in my experience - although that may depend on application, maybe)

unlimited scrollback (use -1 instead of a number but a warning of slowness is listed in the help regarding this - which makes sense and honestly I would never use unlimited scrollback as I have crashed an ssh bounce server with my sessions (screen and unlimited scrollback can lead to a very large amount of CPU and memory if you are not careful) )

Window Titling is not a real feature in my opinion as mine change depending on the tab or shell being executed, that is I set the window titles using xterm rules, termcaps and environment variables/settings so having iTerm overwrite it (or be overwritten) seems useless, to me.

Visual Bell is supported, this is a terminal profile setting (like the scrollback buffer.)

The search related stuff I can not really say much about as I do use searching however it is not to the extent described. If the functionality is provided in the APIs used for Terminal.app and are standard OS type features/call/etc then they may function the same way as the standard OS X features/commands/etc work generally as expected (Cmd+f, Cmd+e, Cmd+x, Cmd+v, Cmd+c, etc)

I am Unix/Linux Administrator (primarily Solaris and Linux however AIX, HP-UX and various Intel Unixes have been in my terminal sessions) and live in the command line, I started using OS X in 2005 and have used iTerm since then as the Terminal.app did not have niceties like transparency and tabs (even though I am a heavy screen user.) I realize with the updates in Snow Leopard that Terminal.app has improved greatly and a lot of those features are now in place, however I have found iTerm to still be a better choice overall and I have come to like Bonjour for my home network and Growl support is awesome as well.

I have not tried iTerm2 as I only just found out about it today, so my experiences are exclusively with the first iTerm.

Cheers, Dennis



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Inline Perl code in shell - use zsh
Authored by: hibbelig on Sep 16, '10 02:20:06PM

For longish inline Perl code in the shell, I think zsh is cool. You can enter this:

perl -e '

And then you can type Ctrl-V Ctrl-J which lets you enter a new line.
And from then on Ctrl-N/Ctrl-P and cursor down/up will move up and down by lines, instead of moving around in the history.
You can then enter your Perl code in multiple lines and then close the string and hit Enter and there you are.

I'm not sure how moving around in the history and moving around in multi-line commands interacts, but I recall it was pretty intuitive.

Of course, all this does not depend on the terminal.



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A new iTerm2 fork
Authored by: sapporo on Sep 10, '10 12:16:06AM

The only reason I use iTerm occasionally is the "Send Input to all Tabs" feature. Whatever you type in one tab gets routed to all other tabs (of the same window) as well. Comes in handy for doing a task on multiple remote servers in parallel.

Of course there's /usr/bin/screen to achieve a similar effect using Terminal.app, but I never really got into using it.



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A new iTerm2 fork
Authored by: brh on Sep 11, '10 02:43:11PM

Seriously, folks? 256 xterm colors, and full mouse reporting (inc. middle click). Terminal does neither, and no other terminal emulator on the Mac (I have tested all the ones I could find (excluding under X11), about 7 total) does full mouse reporting.

Those are the only reasons I would use iTerm. Comparing for speed, most of the other emulators are about on par with Terminal.app, although some (ZOC, Terminator) are much faster than Terminal.app. With screen refresh set at it's slowest setting, iTerm runs about 50% of the speed of Terminal.app (and of course your screen is very laggy at that refresh rate). With refresh set fast, iTerm runs about 15% the speed of Terminal.app.

Fortunately, the devs of iTerm 2 fork told me one of the things 2 has going for it is the improvement of performance. Unfortunately, so far iTerm 2 runs considerably slower than iTerm. And an uglier icon. So, hope this goes somewhere.



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A new iTerm2 fork
Authored by: jfriedl on Sep 10, '10 03:01:37AM

Does anyone know why none of these terminal apps allow for a border to be drawn around the windows? I prefer a black background, but since no borders are drawn (only shadows, which are invisible over black), you can't tell where one ends and another begins... it's horribly frustrating, especially since xterms had two-pixel borders back in the 1980s.



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A new iTerm2 fork
Authored by: hypatia on Sep 10, '10 05:07:25AM

As an old time Unix hack, I hated the built in terminal app, it was and still is very unlike xterm, which is what I was weaned on. iTerm fixed the major drawbacks of terminal (copy 'n paste, focus follows mouse...). iterm is probably the application I use most on the mac, without it, I'd probably have switched to Linux & Gnome by now.

P.S.
If you want column data, try awk or cut.



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A new iTerm2 fork
Authored by: Anonymous on Sep 10, '10 11:28:21AM

Amazing that you'd move to an entirely different OS just to gain a terminal application ... that also happens to be available in both OSs anyway.

Whether you're talking about xterm, gnome-terminal, or konsole, all three are available for OS X through Fink.



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A new iTerm2 fork
Authored by: sinned72 on May 02, '11 10:42:01AM

As a full-time 24/7 Unix administrator I can totally understand this sentiment. I loathe using Windows as it does not have the feature set that X-Windows has for a Unix administrator and none of the programs I used under Windows were ever worth their price in my mind (300 for a real Windows version plus 100 for decent terminal plus 300-600 for an X-server just to have a chance at Linux functionality) so I was looking at where I could use a Linux laptop and was mostly disappointed by what I found.

I thought about using OS X for a while but was not willing to shell out the coin until I was absolutely sold on the choice being right. I was able to get a system for around the price point I was happy with for testing it out and was pretty much sold in a few months and I managed to get pretty good use out of the iBook G3 800MHz I bought (still have it and it still works too - pretty slow with Tiger on it though.)

Switching OS/Platform for a specific application is not really that unheard of, how many organization use MS Office for compatibility and therefore are tied to Windows (until recently Office for OS X was only marginally better than OpenOffice in terms of compatibility.) For me, it can make sense, especially if you are doing more than half of your work in that application.

Cheers, Dennis



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A new iTerm2 fork
Authored by: ether on Sep 10, '10 09:51:36AM

Clearly (thanks commenters for the listing!) terminal has come a long way since I abandoned it for iterm, and has some new features I'd like in iterm.

iterm allows you to tear off a tab to create a new window, which you can resize (e.g. to display something with long lines). When you're done, you can stick the window back on to reintegrate the torn-off tabs, which resize to the size of the window you're sticking them to.

I also like iterm's ability to put tab names at the top or bottom, and change their style.

Finally, iterm lets you go directly to tab n by typing command-n (n between 1 and 9).



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A new iTerm2 fork
Authored by: dzurn on Sep 10, '10 12:25:39PM
iterm allows you to tear off a tab to create a new window, which you can resize (e.g. to display something with long lines). When you're done, you can stick the window back on to reintegrate the torn-off tabs, which resize to the size of the window you're sticking them to.
Same for Terminal.app, but tearing off is a menu command.
I also like iterm's ability to put tab names at the top or bottom, and change their style.

Finally, iterm lets you go directly to tab n by typing command-n (n between 1 and 9).

Terminal.app can put the Cmd key in the WINDOW title. AFAIK there's no key to go directly to a particular TAB, but you can use Cmd-{ and Cmd-} for previous/next tab and Cmd-` to cycle.
---
Madness takes its toll.
Please have exact change.


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A new iTerm2 fork
Authored by: asmeurer on Sep 12, '10 10:44:46AM

You can tear off a Terminal.app tab without the menubar. Just click on the tab and drag down.



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A new iTerm2 fork
Authored by: gullevek on Sep 14, '10 04:12:06AM

The only reason I use iTerm next to Terminal is the fact that I can change the colors. The dark blue is just unreadable on a dark background and without a vim hack it Terminal is unusable for any longer work in a shell.



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Allow selecting text via keyboard, not mouse
Authored by: hibbelig on Sep 16, '10 02:14:58PM

In 10.4 Tiger (I believe) you could hit Cmd-Enter in Terminal to enter keyboard selection mode. Then you could move the cursor around with the cursor keys, hit space to start selecting text, then move the cursor some more, then hit Cmd-C to copy. This sure beats doing it via the mouse!

But I think Apple removed this in 10.5. Anyway, it's now gone. I miss it.

I understand there are workarounds using screen inside a terminal and telling screen to send the selected text to pbcopy, but this seems iffy.

Sadly, iTerm doesn't do it, either. Why did Apple remove that feature?



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A new iTerm2 fork
Authored by: tremolux on Feb 07, '11 09:21:55AM
One reason for using iTerm that I haven't seen mentioned is character echoing speed. When I am compiling large software packages, the input character echo slows to a crawl in all my Terminal windows. Perhaps I missed an option or environment variable, but I found this performance degradation (with low CPU utilization) frustrating. Not a problem with iTerm. (However, I did get bitten by the unset COMMAND_MODE variable with iTerm, but that was easily fixed.)

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