Linux on Windows: Terminal Velocity

2 minutes

Windows Terminals Suck

Simply put, there are no good terminal emulators for Windows. Cmder with ConEmu is clunky, the UI horrible, and full of layer upon layers of hacks. It is workable, but it is not a particular nice experience and really is more endured than enjoyed. I tried out ConsoleZ too, but that suffered a number of issues as well, plus still needs the ugly wsl-bridge hacks to work properly.

Consequently, since I’m already committed to using the Linux VSCode via Xming, I figured “why not just use a Linux graphical terminal emulator?“. Many of the latest experiemental gl-accelerated ones don’t work via Xming (or at leats, I couldn’t get it to happen), but I ended up picking something that was nice, simple and just did the right thing automatically. That terminal was st, from the suckless collection of tools. That, combined with tmux (a thing I’ve been meaning to add to my daily toolkit for sometime but never got around to), does everything I need from a terminal, from tabbing and panes, to decent font rendering, copy and paste support and nothing else. I use samoshkin’s tmux-config as my base config as it sets up a nice simple set of defaults for it.

Getting it to be launchable from Windows directly without having to launch a crappy Windows bash shell window was harder, but I ended up using projectrun to run the Windows bash to execute a shell script which runs st with my desired configuration/flags. Slap that in a Windows shortcut and pin it, now I can run my terminal from Wox or the taskbar. Sorted! I can even run powershell and cmd from the linux shell, because Windows runs them just fine, so I don’t even need a Windows terminal for anything!

At this point, I’m running both my editor and shell in Linux under Windows. The only Windows tools I’m using directly are really games, chrome, discord, slack and Wireshark.

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