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Is there any advantage to using something other than Terminal (like iTerm or whatever) on Mac OS X? Terminal seems to work quite well, but comfort is often deceptive.

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6 Answers

I personally find that iTerm has more options for customization and extra features for example. I also like DTerm for shorter sessions because it is easier than calling up a full terminal for a single command. But, if you are satisfied with terminal, you don't need to switch. You don't miss out on any major features with Terminal.

For some details on iTerm, visit it's sourceforge page, but to summarize the differences:

  • Full Screen mode
  • 256 colors
  • transparency
  • better clipboard management
  • better tab management
  • multilingual
  • bookmarks
  • multiple profiles
  • in my experience, better support for window titling
  • Cmd-# to switch tabs
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Thanks for the tip! Hadn't ever heard of iTerm but so far, it looks decent. –  EmmEff Oct 8 '09 at 16:28
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Add "cmd-# to switch tabs". Thats the main reason I use iTerm. –  jtimberman Oct 8 '09 at 16:35
    
Thanks for the hint jtimberman, I actually never knew about that. –  user12764 Oct 8 '09 at 16:38
    
very cool, I'll check out some of those features. full screen mode could be fun. –  Yar Oct 8 '09 at 17:37
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I too used to use iTerm until Leopard was released with the overhaul to Terminal.app The main feature which was added that caused me to use iTerm to begin with was support for tabs. They added some other nice features as well however, such as window groups, which lets you save a configuration of several terminal windows as a single entity. I have not found a reason since to have to switch back to iTerm.

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windows groups? Interesting, thanks for that. –  Yar Oct 9 '09 at 8:05
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Have you seen iTerm2's features? It does things no other terminal does: you can go back in time like TiVo, it has autocomplete, mouseless copy-paste, it stores more than one string in its clipboard, and there are more keyboard shortcuts than in Terminal.

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interesting thanks +1 –  Yar Dec 18 '10 at 21:11
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I think a lot of us started using iTerm when Terminal.app was really lousy. Supposedly Terminal.app has gotten a lot better over the years (does it have an option to autocopy selected text yet?), but we still use iTerm due to inertia.

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Terminal.app will autocopy selected text, but only while it is selected - if you start typing you have to reselect. –  jtimberman Oct 8 '09 at 16:34
    
cool, thanks for the insight. –  Yar Oct 8 '09 at 17:37
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The reason that I started using iTerm was back in the Panther (10.3) days, Terminal didn't support tabs and iTerm did. I don't know when they added that to Terminal, as I never bothered to switch back. –  KeithB Oct 8 '09 at 19:05
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This answer is very specific to my setup, but maybe it will help someone.

I use mutt to read my work email. By installing iTerm and setting up its default profile to auto-launch mutt, I am able to treat it as a full-fledged Mac application with dock icon, Alt-Tab support, and best of all: a Quicksilver trigger so that it launches whenever I hit F2.

If I just ran mutt in Terminal.app, it would quickly get lost among the various windows and tabs. It's similar to the benefits you get to running GMail in Prism, but with command-line apps.

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Are you saying that you use iTerm ONLY to launch mutt? If not, I'm missing something. Tahnks! –  Yar Oct 9 '09 at 8:05
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Pretty much, yeah. I find Terminal.app sufficient for normal terminal use. iTerm's profile functionality made the whole setup pretty elegant. –  Ryan Bright Oct 9 '09 at 20:18
    
This posting did indeed help me. Thanks, +1. –  sjas Jul 14 '12 at 18:02
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Vandyke's SecureCRT was just released for the Mac. It has a nice way of remembering hosts you connect to and letting you select one of those from a list. Maybe Terminal can also do this, but its profile system is not easy to figure out, and most people I see who use Terminal.app manually type out a remote connection at a shell: ssh me@somewhere....

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