5 Cool Apps to Make the Linux Terminal More Productive

Varun Kashyap 16-09-2008

5 Cool Apps to Make the Linux Terminal More Productive gtermIf you work on Linux you’ll know that the command line is the way to go (in some cases at least). If you are in GUI mode than you can access the command line via the Terminal. Here are some applications/utilities that will transform your command line experience.


Tilda and Guake

If you’ve ever played Quake you’ll know how we could bring down the console in the game and then type in the command. Bringing such functionalities to the Linux Terminal are Tilda and Guake. Both these applications perform similar functions viz allow you to show/hide a terminal windows with a hotkey. Guake is still in the early stages of development, Tilda offers somewhat more functions as compared to Guake.

Both Guake and Tilda allows you to customize the background of the window (with images or colors), create transparent backgrounds, manage the scroll history, manage colors. Tilda however offers some more options like custom width and height, custom animations, custom themes etc.

5 Cool Apps to Make the Linux Terminal More Productive tilda shot

Tilda for Linux Terminal

5 Cool Apps to Make the Linux Terminal More Productive guake shot


Guake for Terminal


Yakuake provides similar functionality to KDE users. You can add a new tab with Shift+Up, delete it with Shift+Down, and switch between tabs with Shift+Left Right.

Oh by the way, I forgot to mention that all three have tab functionality also!!

Some would ask, “Why not just launch the terminal with a shortcut key?”. Well because its faster this way and more prettier/stylish too. Now that the Linux desktop is trying to outshine Apple you should start getting used to some ‘fancy and useful’ stuff.



If tabs are not for you then would you like some panes or a grid? Terminator offers you panes/grid (although it does tabs as well). You can view the commands running side by side in different panes and you can also resize the various panes according to your needs! Personally I like Terminator. Working with panes is a lot more productive than using tabs(although you get more screen real estate in each tab). You can easily visualize the output of multiple commands or the status of that ‘compile from source’ you had started a few minutes back!

5 Cool Apps to Make the Linux Terminal More Productive terminator


5 Cool Apps to Make the Linux Terminal More Productive shot3This is more of a utility than a terminal emulator. What DragBox does is it provides you with a shelf where you can make the command line and the GUI meet. You can highlight the names of directories and files from the command line output and then drag them to the shelf.

From the shelf you can then drag and drop these files or directories into other GUI applications just as you would do using the clipboard. Not only this but you can also use the items in the shelf as arguments to commands using xargs.


Each one of us has our own preferred applications. Do you have one that does something similar to these? Why not share it with the world? Let us know in the comments!

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. web
    September 21, 2008 at 2:36 am

    Now here's an article that commands attention!

  2. m661
    September 19, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Commandline console or terminal shell however you want to call it was never intended to be atractive sleek or stylish people.

    I can imagine that on single user pc its fun to explore the shell but the only point of it has ever been to ease the users work needed to get to files or perform tasks.

    We are talking about shell emulators here wich has nothing realy to do with making the terminal usefull rather replacing it with a program of choice.

    While this is not necessary a bad thing its something that isnt improvment rather a work around.
    There is only one way you ever can make your shell better and that is to learn the shortcuts and work with the keyboard rather than the mouse to copy paste stuf.

    If somthing isnt user friendly on the first place it means your required to "learn it"
    So start asking yourself if your running linux and want to work with the shell wouldn't it be better to first read a book about it than rather download stuff to ease the use?

    • Passerby
      February 9, 2009 at 3:08 am

      No, most current people new to Linux want to actively learn as they USE it... If they simply sit there reading (even taking copious notes from) a dry technical book, most will find they have to look all of the commands up again as they use them.

      The command-line originally existed as an improvement on things like punch-cards. Apps like Guake don't just make it look more visually appealing, though: they help it interface far more smoothly as a textual part of the GUI. That's the case regardless of whether the user is a newbie learning about the system through an appealing terminal, or an expert enjoying the convenience of having the CLI pop-up at a keystroke.

      Either way, at least new CLI users *are* bothering to learn... That's a big step up on many experienced users that haven't bothered to learn language basics like how to use the apostrophe or simple homonyms.

  3. Daniel
    September 19, 2008 at 5:07 am

    look here:

    smae style. Quake like console...

  4. lhb
    September 17, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    I would have put Tilda and Guake with yakuake, since they share the same goal. Besides, I agree with Adam : screen is the way to make you more productive with a terminal.
    Not only you can use remote session with the detach/attach thing, but you can also split the terminal, create "tabs", navigate through them, use the same session with several users AND all is available in tty !!!
    (Nice post though)

  5. bahmak
    September 17, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    i can make grids with yakuake like terminator. just press ctrl+shift+t

  6. BoredQuiz
    September 17, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    This wasn't really that focused on the terminal at all, but on gui apps to pretend like you actually use the terminal. long live screen

    • Chris Schulz
      September 17, 2008 at 6:35 pm

      yeah. all these "terminal" "enhancements" are GUI programs!

      i dont have a gui.

  7. toolman
    September 17, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Terminator looks like my GNU Emacs session.. interesting though

  8. Ryan
    September 17, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Where did you get that wallpaper, the moon dudes, I want that!

  9. Varun Kashyap
    September 17, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    @ Ryan
    The wallpaper is They Stole the moon. Its actually a wallpaper clock (available as a screenlet in Ubuntu)

  10. Binny V A
    September 17, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Also, you can update your shell to the more friendly fish shell.

  11. Mackenzie Morgan
    September 16, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Screen's good if you want to be able to reattach to stuff that's already running on a remote an IRC client.

    And I just love Terminator. You know I find something useful if I take the time to patch it rather than switching apps.

  12. Adam
    September 16, 2008 at 11:45 am

    What.. No GNU Screen? It's probably one of the most useful tools on my GUI-less server. Actually, it's a great tool on my mythbox as well.