Jack Wallen shows you how to get a cleaner and easier command line experience.
If you’ve been following the latest GNOME desktop news, you probably know that there’s a new terminal emulator out there. Say goodbye to the GNOME Terminal and say hello to the GNOME Console.
This new app is part of GNOME’s new direction that aims to clean up and simplify user interfaces so that everyone feels instantly familiar with the user interface. I’m here to tell you that the developers have done an amazing job with the new console tool.
To be fair to the GNOME Terminal, I’ll say that the GNOME Console looks like a simplified version. It doesn’t offer nearly the customizations of Terminal, so for some it might seem a bit basic, but it’s clean and makes using the command line much easier.
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One really cool feature of the GNOME Console that the GNOME Terminal doesn’t have is desktop notifications. For example, if you’re compiling something and it’s taking a while, you’ll get a pop-up notification when it’s all done. That’s the name of the new GNOME game — keep it simple.
Although the feature set of the GNOME Console is not as impressive as that of the GNOME Terminal, it offers a feature that can make a big difference for some users. When working with the GNOME console, whenever you perform sudo/root or SSH operations, the top window bar turns red to warn you that you are using privileged commands, and purple when sshing into another machine. I’ve had cases where I thought I was on my local machine and ran commands that should have been run on the remote machine. The GNOME Console helps me with this.
The big caveat to this is that the GNOME Console has yet to appear in most popular Ubuntu-based distributions that ship with GNOME as the default desktop. Even the newest Ubuntu, version 22.10, has opted for the GNOME terminal. The good news is that you can either run the GNOME Console tires with the latest Fedora Workstation 37 beta, or manually install the GNOME Console on Ubuntu-based distros while keeping the GNOME Terminal for the ride. Let me show you how.
What You’ll Need to Install the GNOME Console
The only things you will need for this are a running instance of an Ubuntu-based distribution and a user with sudo privileges. I will demonstrate on Pop!_OS 22.04.
How to Install the GNOME Console
Log in to your Linux desktop and open the GNOME terminal window. From there, all you have to do is run this command:
sudo apt-get install gnome-console -y
After the installation is complete, you might want to make the GNOME console the default terminal. Unfortunately, there is no way to do this with the GUI, so you must first run the command:
sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator x-terminal-emulator /usr/bin/kgx 1
Then set the default with the command:
sudo update-alternatives --config x-terminal-emulator
The trick here is that the executable for the GNOME console is not gnome-console, but rather kgx. In the resulting window (Figure A), type the number associated with kgx and press Enter on your keyboard.
That’s all there is to installing the new GNOME console on an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution. You might think it’s nothing more than a simplified GNOME terminal, but the cleaner interface, automatic window coloring, and notifications certainly make it feel like a step in the right direction.
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