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why you should switch to iTerm 2 (from Terminal)

November 5th, 2010

The iTerm 2 project has been around for a while, but it recently caught my attention again as development has become very active recently. They have fixed up the horribly convoluted profile/bookmark system that was present in iTerm, seemingly improved performance by measurable amounts, and also added a few nice features.

You can note in the above screenshot comparison ( is top, iTerm2 is bottom) that:

  • You can completely hide the scrollbar in iTerm 2 (YAY).
  • iTerm 2 shows tab activity (might be useful for some, but i’d still like a toggle).

Apart from that, they should look identical on the surface, which is a good thing. Of course, there are many hidden niceties which have made me jump boat:

  • IME (multilingual) input works correctly. On, input pending conversion (ie. japanese of romaji to hiragana/kanji) is reset every time the open terminal session does a screen redraw. This is actually the selling point for me, and I was already using iTerm (1) whenever I needed to use Japanese input.
  • Ability to set a different font for non-ascii characters.
  • Ability to disable anti-aliasing on any font.
  • ANSI colour customisation support is present without requiring SIMBL hacks.
  • Cmd-clicking URLs opens them in a browser (beats right-click, click in
  • There are many other new features such as growl notifications, aero-style blurred transparency, fullscreen mode which exist but I don’t use. You will probably want to check out the feature list.

Also the icon is pretty awesome:

There is only one minor gripe I have so far, being that you can only set one session to open at startup, but that’s not enough of an issue to hold me back from making the switch! iTerm 2 is being actively and openly developed, unlike Apple’s version (which occasionally gets an update on a new OS release), so I have hopes to see it get even better in the future :) .

4 comments to “why you should switch to iTerm 2 (from Terminal)”

  1. Also blur!

  2. File that feature request in the bug tracker!

  3. Giving it a chance :)

  4. i only saw Ika at the back

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