I’ve often wondered why Ubuntu ships with several different terminal apps installed by default.
It’s a minor little quirk, granted, and something few people will notice. But a query that has, from time to time, confused me.
Naturally I presume there to be some differences between GNOME Terminal, Xterm and UXTerm. But those differences are, to my end-user eyes at least, not especially self-evident.
Canonical’s Brian Quigley explains: “Xterm takes up two menu items (xterm and uxterm) and doesn’t provide any more functionality then gnome-terminal. In an installed setup, those two menu items make gnome-shell have 3 pages instead of 2 in my testing.”
I only ever use GNOME Terminal, which is the default Ubuntu terminal emulator, or a GNOME Terminal alternative that I go out and install for myself.
The official reason for including Xterm is to ensure there is a backup terminal available should GNOME Terminal have any issues. But, even assuming it does, is xterm really that much of a benefit when a virtual console is but a combo press of
We don’t get backup apps for anything else!
Another supposed reason for the inclusion Xterm is to provide a “complete X env[ironment]”.
But, as Quigley notes in his email, with Wayland very much on the horizon, mightn’t it make more sense to pull in any critical X environment packages explicitly, rather than relying on a terminal emulator to do so?
It makes little appreciable difference whether Ubuntu 17.10 ships with 3 separate terminal entries in its launcher or not. But if there’s no compelling use case for them to be there by default, just as there’s no longer a compelling use case for Brasero or Empathy to ship out-of-the-box, a little clean-up wouldn’t hurt.
After all, those who want them can easily install them from Ubuntu Software.
Do you use Xterm or UXterm instead of GNOME Terminal? How would their removal affect you?
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