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I've been looking for this for a while now and I just haven't been able to find one. The last few that I used were:

  • aterm - this one was fast and had good transparency support, but it doesn't support Unicode at all as far as I can tell. The dependency graph is also reasonable.
  • gnome-terminal - was good, and had good transparency support plus unicode, but it pulls in about everything in gnome, and I don't use anything else in gnome. It was also somewhat slow (noticable lag in updating at times) and wouldn't use fonts that I wanted.
  • Eterm - same thing as aterm, good dependencies and transparency but no unicode.

Does anyone have suggestions, or will I be stuck with gnome-terminal's dependencies and slowness?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

urxvt Can do true transparency, heres how:

here's my settings from my .Xdefaults-hostname

urxvt*transparent: false
urxvt*depth: 32
urxvt*foreground: rgba:0000/0000/1111/cccc
urxvt*background: white
urxvt*termName: xterm-256color

As long as your WM has compositing turned on, that will tell it your background colour is transparent, and it will composite it respectively.

Note that you may require it to be compiled in a specific way to support this feature.

urxvt ( rxvt-unicode ) ticks all the boxes:

  • blisteringly fast
  • low memory
  • unicode
  • truetype font support ( you can even switch fonts dynamically with escape codes )
  • 256 colours ( makes editing in vim/emacs so much nicer with better themes )
  • true transparency
  • client-server model if you want it (!)
  • fistfuls of features that kick ass and you'll never need
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xterm has support for Unicode and is not tied to any desktop environment.

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xterm does not have transparency, which is what I am looking for. –  jamuraa Jul 18 '09 at 18:35

rxvt-unicode might work. Not sure how good the transparency support is... Both it and aterm are descended from rxvt, which is designed to be lightweight and not have a lot of dependencies.

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Not true, you can do TRUE transparency with it. It relies on composite support to work :) –  Kent Fredric Jul 18 '09 at 19:48
    
Oh? That must be new. Old rxvt only did the psuedo-transparency. I'll edit. –  freiheit Jul 18 '09 at 19:55
    
my answer gives details. –  Kent Fredric Jul 18 '09 at 19:56
    
I voted your answer up and everything. better than my answer. :) –  freiheit Jul 18 '09 at 19:58

Make any terminal you want — or any app at all — transparent by using the settings of a compositing window manager. Other than that, a quick search finds rxvt-unicode.

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no that's different, that transparents everything, not just the background colour, :) –  Kent Fredric Jul 18 '09 at 19:54

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