All I want to do is make the background for Mac OS X's Terminal Black so that I can run a Perl script with Terminal and have the background black for that.
How would I do this for Mac OS X?
How would I do this for an average Linux?
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I'm not sure about Linux but on Mac OS X you can change the theme in the preferences. Open Terminal, then go to the Terminal menu -> Preferences, choose the Settings tab and set the Pro theme as the default.
If you don't need it as the default you can choose Shell -> New Window/Tab -> Pro and you'll get a one off terminal with that theme.
I'm sure something similar is possible on Linux also.
You can find more on page Simple Tricks to Improve the Terminal Appearance in Mac OS X (section "Enable Bold Fonts, ANSI Colors, & Bright Colors").