Skip to content


Folders and files

Last commit message
Last commit date

Latest commit


Repository files navigation

GTKTerm: A GTK+ Serial Port Terminal

CircleCI Badge

GTKTerm is a simple, graphical serial port terminal emulator for Linux and possibly other POSIX-compliant operating systems. It can be used to communicate with all kinds of devices with a serial interface, such as embedded computers, microcontrollers, modems, GPS receivers, CNC machines and more.


Keyboard Shortcuts

As GTKTerm is often used like a terminal emulator, the shortcut keys are assigned to <ctrl><shift>, rather than just <ctrl>. This allows the user to send keystrokes of the form <ctrl>X and not have GTKTerm intercept them.

Key Combination Effect
<ctrl><shift>L Clear screen
<ctrl><shift>R Send file
<ctrl><shift>Q Quit
<ctrl><shift>S Configure port
<ctrl><shift>V Paste
<ctrl><shift>C Copy
<ctrl><shift>F Find
<ctrl><shift>K Clear Scrollback
<ctrl><shift>A Select All
<ctrl><shift>B Send Break
<ctrl>B Send break
F5 Open Port
F6 Close Port
F7 Toggle DTR
F8 Toggle RTS

Command Line Options

See man gtkterm or gtkterm --help for more information on available command line interface options.

Notes on RS485:

The RS485 flow control is a software user-space emulation and therefore may not work for all configurations (won't respond quickly enough). If this is the case for your setup, you will need to either use a dedicated RS232 to RS485 converter, or look for a kernel level driver. This is an inherent limitation to user space programs.

Scriptability with Signals

Some microcontrollers and other embedded devices are flashed using the same serial interface that is also used for outputting debug information. To facilitate rapid development on these platforms, GTKTerm supports the following UNIX signals:

Signal Action Usage Example
SIGUSR1 Open Port killall -USR1 gtkterm
SIGUSR2 Close Port killall -USR2 gtkterm

You may find it useful to send these signals in your own firmware flashing scripts.


GTKTerm has a few dependencies-

  • Gtk+3.0 (version 3.12 or higher)
  • vte (version 0.40 or higher)
  • intltool (version 0.40.0 or higher)
  • libgudev (version 229 or higher)

Once these dependencies are installed, most people should simply run:

meson build
ninja -C build

To install GTKTerm system-wide, run:

ninja -C build install

If you wish to install GTKTerm someplace other than the default directory, e.g. in /usr, use:

meson build -Dprefix=/usr

Then build and install as usual.


To uninstall GTKTerm, run:

ninja -C build uninstall

If you already deleted the build directory, just compile and install GTKTerm again as explained in the previous section with the same target location prefix (-Dprefix) and perform the uninstall step afterwards.


Original Code by: Julien Schmitt

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program.  If not, see <>.