See our review from 7 of the Best Open Source Terminal Emulators available for multiple operative systems.

Top 7: Best Open Source Terminal Emulators

Normally, a Windows user isn't familiar with the "terminal emulator" term until he knows about the Unix world. Terminal emulators are extremely useful programs, that are not the same things as the command lines, but they act like that with a prettier interface (usually). If you are looking for an application for this, you may be confused and indecisive, but don't worry, we will share with you 7 of the most imponent open source terminal emulator programs available for multiple platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux etc.).

7. Cool Retro Term

Cool Retro Term

cool-retro-term is a terminal emulator which mimics the look and feel of the old cathode tube screens. It has been designed to be eye-candy, customizable, and reasonably lightweight. It uses the QML port of qtermwidget (Konsole) developed by the same developer. This terminal emulator works under Linux and macOS and requires Qt 5.2 or higher.

Although probably not a lot of people wants to work with such terminal nowadays, it's pretty damn COOL and deservers to appear in this top. FFS, it just feels like working with a PipBoy or an 80's terminal, what could be cooler than that? I know you will use this daily.

6. Alacritty


Alacritty is a cross-platform, GPU-accelerated terminal emulator. Alacritty is the fastest terminal emulator in existence. Using the GPU for rendering enables optimizations that simply aren't possible without it. Alacritty currently supports macOS, Linux, BSD, and Windows. 

Alacritty is a terminal emulator with a strong focus on simplicity and performance. With such a strong focus on performance, included features are carefully considered and you can always expect Alacritty to be blazingly fast. By making sane choices for defaults, Alacritty requires no additional setup. However, it does allow configuration of many aspects of the terminal. The software is considered to be at a beta level of readiness -- there are a few missing features and bugs to be fixed, but it is already used by many as a daily driver. Precompiled binaries are available from the GitHub releases page.

5. Upterm

Upterm Terminal Emulator

Upterm (formerly Black Screen) is an IDE in the world of terminals. Strictly speaking, it's both a terminal emulator and an interactive shell based on Electron. Upterm shows the autocompletion box as you type and tries to be smart about what to suggest. Often you can find useful additional information on the right side of the autocompletion, e.g. expanded alias value, command descriptions, value of the previous directory (cd -), etc. All command-line programs (including emacs, ssh and vim) should work as expected.

4. Hyper


Hyper Terminal

Hyper is a terminal built on web technologies. The goal of the project is to create a beautiful and extensible experience for command-line interface users, built on open web standards. In the beginning, our focus will be primarily around speed, stability and the development of the correct API for extension authors.

In the future, we anticipate the community will come up with innovative additions to enhance what could be the simplest, most powerful and well-tested interface for productivity.

3. Extraterm


Extraterm Terminal Emulator

Extraterm is more than just a terminal emulator. It provides a toolbox for working with your terminal and command line applications. This application features:

  • Supports Linux and macOS, on Windows WSL, CMD, PowerShell and Cygwin
  • xterm compatible
  • Multiple tabs and panes, split and tiled any way you like
  • Show images in the terminal
  • Unicode support
  • Color emoji
  • Keyboard friendly “Command Palette”
  • Configurable key bindings
  • Keyboard based selections
  • Shell integration; can isolate and ‘frame’ command output. (bash, zsh and fish supported)
  • Easy uploads and downloads using the shell integration
  • Command output is editable in place. Multi-cursor editing
  • Previous command output can be used as input for new commands
  • Supports iTerm2 and TextMate themes
  • Text zoom

2. Cmder


CMDER Windows Terminal

Cmder is a software package created out of pure frustration over the absence of nice console emulators on Windows. It is based on amazing software, and spiced up with the Monokai color scheme and a custom prompt layout, looking sexy from the start. Think about cmder more as a software package than a separate app. All the magic is happening through ConEmu. With enhancements from Clink. Carry it with you on a USB stick or in the Cloud, so your settings, aliases and history can go anywhere you go. You will not see that ugly Windows prompt ever again. Most of the Cmder functionality are documented in the readme file on GitHub. We have extented help available in Cmder Wiki, also regarding integration.

1. Terminus


Terminus Terminal

Terminus is a highly configurable terminal emulator for Windows, macOS and Linux. The app features:

  • Theming and color schemes
  • Fully configurable shortcuts
  • Split panes
  • Remembers your tabs
  • PowerShell (and PS Core), WSL, Git-Bash, Cygwin, Cmder and CMD support
  • Integrated SSH client and connection manager
  • Full Unicode support including double-width characters
  • Doesn't choke on fast-flowing outputs
  • Proper shell experience on Windows including tab completion (via Clink)

Honorable mentions

Fluent Terminal

Fluent Terminal UWP

Fluent terminal is a Terminal Emulator based on UWP and web technologies. This terminal features:

  • Terminal for PowerShell, CMD, WSL or custom shells
  • Built-in support for SSH and Mosh connections
  • Supports tabs and multiple windows
  • Theming and appearance configuration
  • Import/Export themes
  • Import iTerm themes
  • Fullscreen mode
  • Editable keybindings
  • Search function
  • Configure shell profiles to quickly switch between different shells
  • Explorer context menu integration (Installation script can be found here)

If you know another awesome open source terminal emulator that developers could enjoy using, please don't be shy and share it with the community in the comment box.

Senior Software Engineer at Software Medico. Interested in programming since he was 14 years old, Carlos is a self-taught programmer and founder and author of most of the articles at Our Code World.