YeahConsole: a dropdown Linux terminal that’s better than Tilda

I’ve been a big fan of Tilda, the dropdown terminal window for Linux, for a long while; pressing F2 to grab a terminal is hardwired into my fingers now, and I’m crippled without it. However, Tilda’s been getting steadily shitter as time’s gone on; more crashy, more unresponsive. Recently, it stopped taking keyboard focus when you brought it up, which has led more than once to me pressing F2 and then typing half the shell command I wanted into my (still focused) Firefox window. Not only is this incredibly annoying, but at some point I’m going to type my password into an IRC channel. It’s gotta stop. The obvious replacement is yakuake, the KDE dropdown terminal. However, I hate it. I don’t even know why, to be honest; it just feels weird to me in a way that Tilda doesn’t. So I looked around for alternatives, and found two: Guake, which is supposedly a better Tilda and Yakuake for the Gnome desktop, and yeahconsole. Sadly for the Guake team, I found yeahconsole first, so that’s what I’m using. Actually, I rather like the out-and-out simplicity and bare-bones nature of yeahconsole, which is why I’m sticking with it; when I need to do shell things, I don’t want flashy features, I want a shell. I don’t use tabbed terminal windows, for example. Just simplicity, that’s what I want. Yeahconsole is available in the Ubuntu repositories (click to install on Ubuntu). Here’s how I set it up. First, it needs to run every time I log in. So, go to System > Preferences > Session, select Startup Programs, click Add, and add a new command, name “YeahConsole”, command “yeahconsole”. Next, it looks a bit rubbish when you start it up. Here’s how bare-bones yeahconsole is: you configure it with X resources. Party like it’s 1989! I had to go look up how to do this; for the more tender in years among us, X resources were a sort of central configuration for all your apps, round about the same time that humanity was fighting off sabre-toothed tigers and wondering whether that hot flamey thing in the corner could actually be useful. On Ubuntu, you need to edit (actually, you probably need to create) a file called .Xresources in your home folder*. In that file, you put the configuration for yeahconsole, like this:

yeahconsole*toggleKey: None+F2
yeahconsole*consoleHeight: 20
yeahconsole*aniDelay: 0
yeahconsole*stepSize: 10
yeahconsole*faceName: ProFontWindows:style=Regular
yeahconsole*faceSize: 9

The toggleKey one is the important one: it sets which key you use to summon the terminal. I like F2, myself, but pick whatever. What all this stuff means is documented in the man page (man yeahconsole), apart from which font to use. This is the faceName and faceSize options above, and here you have to delve a bit (I told you this was old-fashioned; I started writing a yeahconsole-properties configuration utility that did all this for you, but couldn’t be bothered). In a terminal, run fc-list. This lists all the TrueType fonts that you can use in an xterm. Choose one, and put it in faceName above. Now, simply start yeahconsole for the first time (press Alt+F2, type yeahconsole), and then press F2 (or your key of choice). Pow, a dropdown terminal, like Tilda, but one that won’t keep crashing and make you cry. One other thing: if you hit Ctrl-D to log out by mistake, it’ll close yeahconsole (tilda did this too), and that’s really irritating. To fix this, put the following in a file called bashloop in your home folder:

while true; do bash; done

and change your Startup Programs command above to be yeahconsole -e /home/username/bashloop. Now Ctrl-D won’t close yeahconsole. Win.

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