I have a few “requirements” for a terminal program. These are personal desires, not technological requirements.

  1. I want transparenecy (I like it)
  2. I want a high number of colors (my email client uses them)
In the past, Eterm has been my favorite because it does transparency, and it has a flag to make the window borderless. I played around with themes and menus for a while, but didn’t personally use them, so I quit.

I then moved to aterm because it too did transparency, but was a lot faster. It doesn’t have a flag for borderlessness, but my window manager has a keybinding to do that to any window, so it’s not really an issue. With RH9 however, my keybinding for Backspace (keycode 22 or ^H in X) was mapped incorrectly to Delete (keycode 107 or ^? in X) for some terminals (notably aterm). That’s VERY annoying.

So I went back to Eterm for a while, but on my desktop (with a 21″ monitor at 1920×1440) with a 512M video card took 9 seconds to open a transparent Eterm. That’s dumb.

I stuck with aterm for a while, because when I ssh’d to other places, the keybinding for backspace was set correctly, and this is the vast majority of my use.

I used xterm for Pine because it was the only terminal program I could find that would do a high number of colors. But that was its only contribution to my list of desires, so I only used it for Pine.

Long ago, pcg mentioned that he uses rxvt because it’s FAST. And he was right, it’s really fast. At the time however, it didn’t do transparency OR high color, so I wasn’t real interested.

Last June, when aterm started being flaky, I looked at rxvt again. It now claimed to do transparency, but I could NOT make it work. Today I was just looking through the man page when I realized it mentioned it as a compile option. DUH! So I looked at ALL of the compile options and found that it also does high color.

We have a winner!

There are a couple of caveats. It only does full transparency. One of the things I enjoyed about aterm and Eterm is semi-transparency, so I can tint it dark. Right now I have a dark baclground though, so it doesn’t matter so much. Another is that it takes about 3 seconds before I see my prompt when I open a new transparent, high color window. This doesn’t bother me too much though because it often takes that long for SSH to ask me for a passwd anyway.

The moral of the story is that for the time being, rxvt does the most number of things I want.

2 thoughts on “rxvt rocks

  1. Your Eterm times are very odd. On my crappy old machine (PII 400, 256MB RAM, trying to run RH 9), I’d put the open time at 2 seconds on the high-end.

  2. I’m aware of the act that they’re odd, but the fact remains that it does it, and there are no visible errors to debug.

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