Looking for more features than what the default Gnome terminal provides? Let me introduce you to Tilix, a GTK3 tiling terminal emulator for Linux. If you haven’t heard of Tilix, you may recognize it by its old name, Terminix (there was a name change due to trademark infringement). But whatever we call it, this terminal emulator has some great features that even the casual user will find useful.
If you are on a Ubuntu-based distribution, WebUpD8 maintains a repository that provides Tilix packages. To add Tilix, open a terminal and use the following commands one at a time:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/terminix
sudo apt update
sudo apt install tilix
Arch Linux users can get Tilix from the AUR.
An official Debian package of Terminix is available
For Fedora 24/25, Tilix is available in a COPR Repository. For Fedora 26 and newer, Tilix is available in the default repository.
Terminix packages for OpenSUSE can be found by performing a Package Search.
For other distributions (like myself running Solus), you can install manually by downloading the Tilix.zip file from the GitHub page and then use the following commands to extract and install:
sudo unzip tilix.zip -d /
sudo glib-compile-schemas /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/
One issue I ran into (not really a big deal) is that my icon set had no icon for Tilix. I fixed that by opening the Nautilus File Manager with admin privileges, then going to usr/share/applications. I found Tilix, pulled up the properties, then changed the icon to the one used by the Gnome Terminal.
If you’re using Gnome shell as I do, there is an extension which allows you to run Tilix as a drop-down terminal (otherwise known as Quake mode). This is my preference, as it allows you to quickly pull the terminal out of the way and recall it with a simple click of the F10 key. A link to the extension is provided in the blog write-up. Here is a link to the extension: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/1185/tilix-dropdown/.
Tilix can be run in quake mode on other desktops as well. However, you will need to configure a shortcut to enable this feature.
The first thing you notice about Tilix is that it has the Gnome-style header bars, so appearance-wise, it integrates well with Gnome Shell and Budgie. Better, in fact, than the official gnome terminal, which still doesn’t use header bars.
The stand out feature of Tilix is the ability to create multiple panes. We have two icons in the header bar, one which will add another pane vertically, the other creates one horizontally. These panes can be dragged around the main Tilix window, or they can be pulled away to form their own window. You can also drag a pane away from one window and add it to another.
Terminal panes within the same window can be synchronized (select from the drop-down menu). A mini keyboard symbol allows for toggling the syn on and off.
Everything within a given Tilix Window is known as a session. The session title is located in the top center of the header bar. Within the Tilix preferences you can set how Tilix creates the default session title, but if you wish to change the title of an existing session, simply click on the title and rename. Sessions can be saved and recalled later, which can be a real time saver for someone who does repetitive tasks within the terminal.
Another great feature of Tilix is notifications. I often run time consuming processes on the terminal (such as shredding files or drives). With Tilix, I can let these processes run in the background and I’ll get a notification when it finishes.
For those using the Nautilus file manager, you will find that Tilix has been added to your right click menu. My only complaint about this is that it opens Tilix as a regular window, not in quake mode. There’s probably a way to change this, but I haven’t found the solution yet.
Going into the preferences, there are tons of customization options. The profiles section is especially interesting, as it allows you to create custom profiles with various features and appearance. This can be especially useful when running multiple panes in your session, and wish to quickly differentiate between the panels. The profiles also support the ability to automatically switch based on certain values. So for example, you may have a root profile, which is switched to when you log into root mode.
Many of the regular viewers to my YouTube channel know I like the quake-style terminal emulator, and have been experimenting with various emulators to find which I like the best. There are several out there for GTK desktops, including Tilda, Guake and the Gnome drop-down terminal extension. Tilix is by far my favorite. The others were good, but each had that one little thing that annoyed me just enough that I kept looking for an alternative.
For more information:
I hope this review has proven useful. Be sure to check out the companion YouTube video demonstrating Tilix in action. As always, leave comments and questions below, and I’ll try to get to them ASAP. Thanks for reading, and be sure to share this post on social media.
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