An X terminal that mixes the capabilities of Guake and Terminator, written in Vala.
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IMPORTANT: Terminus has been migrated to Gitlab

A new terminal for XWindows (and Wayland)

What is it

There are plenty of graphic terminals for linux, so what makes this one different?

First, it allows to split a window in several tiling subwindows, exactly like the old Terminator terminal. Of course it can create several simultaneous windows, and allows to have several tabs in each window.

Second, allows to have an always-available drop-down terminal in all screens, with an appearance similar to the Quake console, exactly like Guake.

Of course, the Guake-like terminal can be split in tiling subwindows, wich is its main novelty.

Third, it has been written in Vala and uses Gtk3, which allows it to take advantage of the new characteristics available and to use less resources (both guake and terminator are written in python 2, which needs more memory, and uses Gtk2, which can be considered obsolete).

Compiling it

Just follow the classic cmake instructions:

mkdir install
cd install
cmake ..
sudo make install

If, during cmake stage, you receive an error for missing libraries, install them, delete all the contents inside install, and run cmake again. Launching cmake in a folder with parts of a previously failed cmake run can result in build errors (don't ask why).

If your system has an old Gtk version (like Ubuntu yakkety yak, which has Gtk 3.20), you would need to define GTK_3_20 to use some old functions, not available in versions older than Gtk 3.22. You can do it this way:

mkdir install
cd install
cmake .. -DGTK_3_20=on
sudo make install

Using it

By default, using Shift+F12 will show the Quake-like terminal, but you can change the key binding by pressing right-click and selecting "Properties".

By default, terminus is launched during startup to check if the user wants to have the Quake-like terminal available, so just installing it and rebooting will guarantee to have it. You can also launch it from a terminal.

Currently the number of options modificable is small, but more will become available.

Creating new palettes

It is very easy to add new palettes to Terminus. Just edit a file with .color_scheme as extension, and place it at /usr/share/terminus (or /usr/local/share/terminus, depending where you installed the binaries) to have it globally available, or at ~/.local/share/terminus to make it available only to you.

The format is very simple. Here is an example that defines a foreground/background color scheme:

name: Orange on black
name[es]: Naranja sobre negro
text_fg: #FECE12
text_bg: #000000

This file will define the Orange on black color scheme, that specifies that the foreground will be orange, and the background will be black. It also specifies the name translated into spanish.

Another example, this time for a palette scheme:

name: Solarized
palette: #002b36
palette: #073642
palette: #586e75
palette: #657b83
palette: #839496
palette: #93a1a1
palette: #eee8d5
palette: #fdf6e3
palette: #b58900
palette: #cb4b16
palette: #dc322f
palette: #d33682
palette: #6c71c4
palette: #268bd2
palette: #2aa198
palette: #859900

This one defines the Solarized palette, with all its 16 colors. Each palette entry defines one color, and they will be inserted in that precise order. There must be exactly 16 palette entries; no more, no less.

You can define in a single file a color scheme and a palette scheme, but they will be shown in the app as separated elements. This is: if you define in a single file a color and palette scheme called MYGREATFULLSCHEME, you will find a color scheme called MYGREATFULLSCHEME in the color scheme list, and it will change only the foreground/background colors; and you also will find a palette scheme called MYGREATFULLSCHEME in the palette scheme list, and it will change only the palette itself, but not the foreground/background colors.


Q: I use Gnome-Shell and when I show the Quake terminal, it doesn't get the focus.
A: It seems that installing the "Steal my focus" extension fix it. It can be found at

Q: I'm using Wayland, and pressing Alt+F12 (or my keybinding) doesn't show the Quake-like terminal.
A: That's because Wayland doesn't allow to an application to set its own keybindings. Fortunately, Terminus includes a Gnome Shell extension that allows to show the Quake-like terminal. If you have installed Terminus, just exit your session, enter again, and enable the extension with gnome-tweak-tool.

Another way is using the desktop keybindings to launch the script "terminus_showhide", which makes use of the DBus remote control to show and hide the Quake-like terminal.

In Gnome Shell it is as easy as opening the Settings window, choose the "Keyboard" icon, and add there the desired hotkey, associating it with "terminus_showhide" program.

Q: I translated Terminus, but the color and palette schemes aren't translated. Why?
A: You have to also translate the ".color_scheme" files located at data/local.

Contacting the author

Sergio Costas Rodriguez