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Five popular open source terminal emulators

Christian Nguyen avatarWritten by Christian Nguyen


At Cased, one of our goals as a modern engineering enablement platform is to maximize developer experience. We firmly believe that happier developers equals more engineering velocity, and that it can only be achieved through amazing developer tooling. At Cased we're building the Engineering Empowerment Platform for production work, which includes a powerful remote terminal. Local terminals are part of the dev cycle, too, of course, and here we want to highlight some cool free, open source local terminal emulators that help make local dev more enjoyable.


Hyper is a cross-platform, fully extensible, electron-based terminal emulator. With a quick look at Hyper, you'll notice that its authors started with an emphasis on great visual experience. Backed by web tech, Hyper also makes it easy to add plugins (written in Javascript) for a custom experience (think VS Code). You could even add Spotify to the bottom of your terminal. Check out their hyperpowered package to see how it's done!


Zellij is an extensible terminal workspace aimed towards traditional developers and ops-oriented people. At its core, it functions as a terminal multiplexer. It allows you to split your terminal into multiple panes and tabs that you can customize into specific layouts on startup. Additionally, there are many other modal configurations such as custom keybindings that allow you to personalize you own environment. Zellij also enables collaboration. It lets you share your terminal to allow multiple users to be in the same Zellij session with their own cursors.


Alacritty is a fast, cross-platform, OpenGL terminal emulator written in Rust. The authors of Alacritty have focused on five themes: correctness, performance, simplicity, appearance, and portability. By integrating with other applications, rather than reimplementing their functionality, it manages to provide a flexible set of features with high performance. It comes with sensible defaults, it has scrollback, and it allows for extensive configuration.


Tabby is a highly configurable cross-platform terminal app for local shells, serial, SSH and Telnet connections. Presented as a terminal for the modern age, Tabby offers a rich feature-set and customizable plugins in order to give developers the freedom to design their local emulator to their liking. With features like being able to customize themes with CSS, persitent history and tabs, and warnings for multi-line pasting, Tabby aims to achieve its goal of being "infinitely customizable".


Kitty is a fast, cross-platform, feature-rich, GPU based terminal emulator. Kitty's design philosophy: the perfect emulator for "power keyboard users". It is purposefully designed to be simple, modular, and hackable. Kitty is powerful, using threaded rendering for absolutely minimal latency as well as giving users the power to tune performance tradeoffs to their preference.

We're happy to share these awesome open source local terminals with you. When looking for terminals in your production environment (and a lot more), we'd love to show you Cased. If you're interested and want to learn more schedule a demo or visit our documentation.