Pretty terminals for all

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the terminal.

If I’m not watching some video from Conf2012/2013, I try to be in the terminal working on one of my more recent projects, loltrove. It’ll be ready to launch (it will be open source from launch!) very soon, and I have really enjoyed building it. It’s my first foray into chrome extensions (and hopefully if the product proves to be something people want more of, I will port to Firefox, Opera, and maybe even IE(???). However, I find myself more and more often lusting after the sweet terminal setups that everyone else seems to have!

In tons of videos, I see the devs at the podiums with their macbooks, and their super awesome vim statuslines and I wonder to myself (as a general mac-unenthusiast, and avid emacs user), why can’t I have nice things!?

So I found some nice things, thought I should share them.

First awesome thing is Tmux:

Tmux on Sourceforge

I originally stumbled onto terminal multiplexers at work because of the janky terminal support (the terminal multiplexer “screen” was the first thing I encountered that essentially fixed a 256 color problem I was running into). But from then on (it’s only been a couple weeks), it’s made me feel awesome at the terminal.

Tmux allows you to do stuff that you might be used to if you’re an emacs believer — close-to-total control of your screen real-estate, splitting windows, naming things, detaching (saving sessions for later) and even sharing sessions with people. You could argue that any old terminal emulator could do these things, but to be honest, the less I have to leave the terminal, the better I feel, and generally the more productive I am.

The next awesome thing is Powerline

I stumbled on to powerline when dealing with trying to install it for vim (btw, vim’s package management systems/hacks are absolutely pitiful — people might complain about marmalade/elpa/etc, but it is worlds easier than vundle/pathogen and comes standard, if the version is new enough).

Here’s the git repo:

https://github.com/Lokaltog/powerline

Docs:

https://powerline.readthedocs.org

It gives awesome status lines, is super easy to install (python, yay), and produces wonderful results for my fickle eyes.

So what’s the takeaway from this post?

Take pride in your terminal, pretty it up a little bit, even at the cost of a little performance (tmux/powerline are not free)

Also, there was a little difficulty getting stuff to install quite-right using Konsole under KDE (Linux Mint + Cinnamon), and I’m going to outline what I did to fix the issues in a future post.