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The Gnome-Terminal Style Guide - Coolify Your Terminal!

Date/Time Permalink: 03/15/06 06:51:24 am
Category: HOWTOs and Guides

Gnome-terminal screen-shot

gnome-terminal - this application comes with the Gnome desktop, but
will run in *any* window manager or desktop environment. It's the one
I use. Note in the screenshot that the terminal is (a) transparent (b)
menuless (c) imbued with the green-on-black color scheme (d) running
Emacs embedded in it, and (d) without even window decorations! With
the exception of the window decorations part (that's up to your window
manager) here's how to get the rest:

In gnome-terminal select Edit->Current Profile...

In the "general" tab, uncheck "show menubar by default..." (you can
always get the menu back by right-clicking the terminal space and
selecting "show menubar" from the popup - an important tip - save
panic by *never* dismissing a menu until you know how to summon it at
will!) I also uncheck "terminal bell" (I hate unnecessary beeping!)
but that's all your choice.

In the "colors" tab, uncheck "use system colors" and the color
controls will activate. You can either select one of the built-in
schemas or pick your own. Of course, you want it readable, so pick the
color scheme that works best with your setup. I like green-on-black for
the nostalgic "War Games" -era feel, and it's easy to see. The
"Palette" section is for host programs running in xterm. Programs such
as lynx, ls, and others like to define their own color schemes (lynx
does too much of this, IMHO). This palette section will allow you to
define what colors programs are allowed to show.

The "Effects" tab - select "transparent background" and move the
slider to set how transparent the background color is. I have mine
halfway - enough to see my wallpaper, not enough that the text gets
lost in the background should I have a really loud image as wallpaper.

"Control-T" shows and hides the menubar at will. By now, you have a
transparent green-on-black terminal with no menu header. Now, from
here, you can type "emacs -nw" to tell it to stay in the terminal
instead of making it's own window (nw="no window"). But my way of
summoning emacs is to simply put this entry in my root menu (in
Fluxbox notation):

[exec] (Emacs) {gnome-terminal -e "emacs -nw"}

The "-e" command tells gnome-terminal to execute the quoted command
line when it starts. There you have it! Of course, this works with
other programs besides Emacs - for instance, you can put

[exec] (PyCons) {gnome-terminal -e python}

and summon a python console with a mouse-click. Note that we do not
need quotes if the argument to "-e" is just one word. If you need
options to the program you want gnome-terminal to start, that's where
you'll need quotes.

Just so you're not hanging until I write the Fluxbox style-guide,
here's how you remove the window decorations: I define a key in my
~/.fluxbox/keys file thus:

Mod4 w :ToggleDecor

and I can show/hide the window decorations as well! Or you can
configure the ToggleDecor behavior in the ~/.fluxbox/apps to always
use the "ToggleDecor" setting, and while you're at it set attributes
such as "Sticky" and window sizing and such. "But how do I close a
terminal session with no little x to click on the windowbar?" Well,
any ol' terminal app at all will close when you hit "Control-D"!
Unless you were in "su" superuser mode, in which case Ctrl-D once gets
you out of superuser back to your regular login, and Ctrl-D *again*
exits the terminal! There's more info on Fluxbox twiddling here.

Finally, a new idea I got from Binary World: which mentions putting
a transparent terminal on the background and having it blend in so it
looks like part of the desktop itself (and he also goes over the process
for another teminal, Eterm, which originally ran as part of the
Enlightenment desktop set). Well, since I do wallpapers all the time in
my wallpaper blog, I got the idea of making the wallpaper with a space
for a transparent terminal, so it would look "built-in"!

embedded_1

embedded_2

embedded_3

So here are some screen-shots where I try out variations of this
idea. The bottom two backgrounds are at my graphics gallery, if you want to try it out.

Happy Geeking!

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