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Alternative terminal stuff | parasurv's webspace

Date: 2020-09-27

In 2 weeks, it will be my 14th anniversary to use Linux, and I used command line (MS-DOS), since the mid-90s. Text is part of my life since I was 5-6 years old, as I read a lot and learnt to type on a Brother typewriter. I still believe in text-based interfaces, that in many cases they are just simple better than any GUI. I recently went through the software I use on Linux, and except 2-3, I use only terminal based software (not including Emacs, which is text-based, but I use the GUI version).

For this time I changed a lot of things about my setup, gradually moving away from GUI stuff, to a more text-based environment. One of the benefit of this, that I don't depend on either KDE or Gnome, the two big desktop environment. Plus it has more customization options overall.

Text-based stuff never lied to me, it's better for me to handle. Probably because my hand eye coordination is average at best. I know a full sized keyboard better, than a 3 button mouse. Weird, but that's just me.

What I want to say is, that after 14+ years knowing the command line, I may move away the bash shell, which is the default shell for most Linux distributions. I am also trying out new terminal emulators. I use st for about 2 years now probably, but recently I tried alacritty and kitty, two terminal projects that claimed to be the fastest, because they use your GPU (graphics card), instead of CPU (processor).

Kitty, terminal emulator

So far the biggest hurdle in these changes are the new options. Both terminal emulators come with new shortcuts, and configurations. What I liked in st that I used alt+c/v for copy/paste. In alacritty, I couldn't use it, and so I looked at kitty, where you have a basic mod key, like in i3 or dwm, but luckily you can change keyboard shortcuts outside of it. I could change shortcuts and put on a resonable opacity, and it's just works (no, really).

The default mod key is control+shift, but you can change that.

For installing kitty, you will find it in your distro's package manager if you are using the most popular (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE, etc.) or the most geeky ones (Arch, Void, Gentoo, etc.). After that you just go to the main page, and read about what you want to change. The config file is at ~.config/kitty/kitty.conf/. thanks for the devs to put it in a sane directory.

Right now I am working on changing the theme for kitty. I already set it as default terminal for dwm.


The default terminal shell is bash for most of the time. Zsh is pretty popular among advanced users, and I might try it for the next week. It has some extras compare to bash, and it looks nice too.

File managers

I have been using ranger for a while now, but I am looking into lf and nnn too. It's weird, because in st and other terminal emulators I feel that ranger is slow, but in kitty it feels really fast, as it probably should be. Maybe because of python or something. I don't really understand these programming languages, though.

I like that in nnn, it's already tabbed, and lf is also simple looking. I may switch, if shortcuts are easy to remember, otherwise I'll probably stay with ranger.

Folder and file icons are nice, but not a must for me. I like image previews and good information about files (like dates, permissions, etc.).

Anyway, these are the things I will try out next week, and probably write a follow-up post, how things are going with them.

This was day #63 of #100DaysToOffload, where we write about different things on our personal blogs. Join the project or just read the blogs.

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