Terminal Emulators

As a computer user, you interact with different terms every day. Hence, the term emulation is defined as the act of making one computer behave and function like another. With emulation, it is possible to imitate hardware or software on another program or platform; thus allowing you to use programs on systems that are not designed for them. An emulator, as the word suggests, emulates the functionalities of a system to another one. We have different devices that can be emulated including operating systems, video game consoles, or terminals. Note that a terminal is an electronic hardware device that handles the input and displays of data on a computer system. Therefore, a terminal emulator is a program or software that emulates the functionalities of classic or traditional computer terminals. Keep in mind that a terminal emulator allows users and systems administrators to:

  • Input data or instructions in form of commands as the terminal displays output on the screen.
  • Run utilities and other programs.
  • Perform tasks with servers through the terminal.

Wez’s Terminal Emulator (WezTerm)

In Linux operating system, several terminal emulators exist, one of them being WezTerm.Thus, WezTerm is a GPU-accelerated(Graphics Processing Units) terminal emulator which is cross-platform and a multiplexer. WezTerm is fast at giving outputs and quickens the processing of refreshing large amounts of information.WezTerm is implemented in Rust, with OpenGL ES 2 from rendering. It acts both as a textual terminal multiplexer and a Graphical User Interface emulator.

Features of Wez’s Terminal Emulator (WezTerm)

  • Cross-platform support: It can run on macOS, Linux, Windows, and FreeBSD.
  • Multiplexer: It allows a user to multiplex windows or tabs on remote and local hosts.
  • Scrollback: WezTerm has a searchable scrollback buffer with a customizable maximum size enabling a user to review the information that does not fit on a normal screen.
  • Hyperlinks: Wezterm supports both implicit and explicit hyperlinks.
  • Supports xterm style text selections using mouse and paste selection through Shift – Insert.
  • Pane and splits: You can split vertically or horizontally and move between panes.
  • SSH connections: WezTerm applies an embedded ssh library to offer an integrated SSH to the client. Where the client is used to make ad-hoc SSH connections to remote hosts.
  • Provides connections to local multiplexer server and remote multiplexer.
  • Supports multiple windows.
  • Sixel and Kitty graphics support.

 Installing Wez’s Terminal Emulator on Linux Mint

To enjoy the outstanding features and benefits of a terminal emulator, install Wezterm on your Linux Mint system. Start by updating and upgrading Linux Mint from its terminal using the below command.

sudo apt update -y && sudo apt upgrade -y

Keep in mind that Wezterm is available in a format called AppImage; a file that does not require an installation wizard or special privileges to run. Let’s go ahead and download the Wezterm self-contained file which is compatible with Linux Mint using this command:

### Linux Mint 21 ###
VERSION=$(curl -s https://api.github.com/repos/wez/wezterm/releases/latest|grep tag_name|cut -d '"' -f 4)
curl -LO https://github.com/wez/wezterm/releases/download/$VERSION/wezterm-$VERSION.Ubuntu22.04.deb

### Linux Mint 20 ###
VERSION=$(curl -s https://api.github.com/repos/wez/wezterm/releases/latest|grep tag_name|cut -d '"' -f 4)
curl -LO https://github.com/wez/wezterm/releases/download/$VERSION/wezterm-$VERSION.Ubuntu20.04.deb

Since there are no particular installation steps required, install Wezterm with the following command:

### Linux Mint 21 ###
sudo apt install ./wezterm-$VERSION.Ubuntu22.04.deb

### Linux Mint 20 ###
sudo apt install ./wezterm-$VERSION.Ubuntu20.04.deb

You can launch the application from Desktop launcher after the installation.

The installation will take place successfully and Wezterm will launch in a different workspace.

Configuring WezTerm on Linux Mint

By default, after the installation of Wezterm, the configuration file is in the $HOME/.wezterm.lua location. Access the ~/.wezterm.lua Wezterm configuration file and open it using a text editor such as Vim. In case you do not have a text editor installed, use this command to install Vim.

sudo apt install vim

Once the installation of your text editor is done, use it to open the configuration file. In our case, we will use Vim text editor, while Wezterm will start the application.

wezterm start -- vim ~/.wezterm.lua

From the configuration file, you can make changes to the Wezterm terminal emulator. For instance, feel free to modify the font and colors of the Wezterm Terminal emulator. Insert the following text on the configuration file to change the original font and color. Note that you make changes according to your preferences. Inside the return {} is where you will add more configurations.

local wezterm = require 'wezterm'
return {
  font = wezterm.font 'JetBrains Mono',
  color_scheme = 'Batman',
}

If you are using Vim, use:wq followed by the Enter button to save the changes. The image below shows Wezterm after the changes. Bear in mind that Wezterm.lua configuration file is a Lua script meaning it gives you top-grade flexibility when it comes to editing it.

Using Wezterm Terminal Emulator on Linux Mint

Launching Applications

Wezterm offers a wide range of benefits. Thus, you can open several programs while using the Wezterm terminal emulator. From the configuration section, we have used Wezterm to launch Vim. In the same case, you can run other applications from Wezterm. I will use the Gedit application as an example. Ensure the application is installed or install it using the below command.

sudo apt install gedit

Then, use Wezterm Terminal Emulator to launch Gedit.

wezterm start -- gedit

It will launch as illustrated below. You can continue using the program after it has run.

Wezterm Launcher

From the +sign that appears on Wezterm, right-click on it to get a launcher that will assist while navigating through the terminal emulator. If you click on the available statements, an action will take place. For instance, you can open a new tab from here.

Multiple Tabs

To add more tabs to the existing window, click the + sign.

Multiple Windows

Note that you can launch the Wezterm terminal emulator on another window using this command:

~/bin/wezterm

You can open multiple windows and use them concurrently as illustrated in the image below.

Search Mode

In case you want to search for a certain word in the current window, use Ctrl-Shift-F to activate search mode. From the search bar that appears, key in the phrase you want to find.

Tab Navigator

If you want to navigate through Wezterm on Linux Mint, Right Click on any open tab to access the tab navigator. Now you can navigate through the existing panes in that particular window.

Splits on Wezterm

In case you want to split the existing tab, use Ctrl-Shift-Alt-% for horizontally Split and Ctrl-Shift-Alt-“ for vertically split. Your window will split as shown below.

Closing tabs and panes

Wezterm allows you to close tabs. An interesting feature of Wezterm is that it asks you whether or not you want to close the tabs.

Wrap Up

As you continue using Wez’s Terminal Emulator (WezTerm), you will interact with its excellent features. Enjoy the advantages it offers including multiple windows, multiplexing, color scheme supports, and others. Follow this guide for the installation and usage of Wezterm.In case you have a query, feel free to leave a comment below.

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