Terminal emulation

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A terminal emulation has possibilities that a classic terminal does not offer, e.g. B. copying text with the mouse

A terminal emulation is a computer program that simulates the function of a computer terminal . It is used to be able to use text-based programs within a graphical user interface .

Terminal emulations are used, for example, on personal computers and workstations . They can be displayed in a window or in full screen.

Terminal emulations are used, among other things, to use programs that were developed when there was no graphic interface for the operating system used, or because it is easier to display output in text form. In addition, software developer tools are often implemented as a command line .


A terminal emulation presents itself to a text-based program as a computer terminal (hence the name). It is an emulator in the sense that it gives the text-based program the impression that it is connected to a computer terminal. On the other hand, a terminal emulation presents itself to the graphical user interface as a graphics-capable program. Thus a terminal emulation represents an intermediary - between a text application and a graphical user interface.

A widely used terminal emulation is xterm , which runs under the X11 graphical user interface . A character-oriented program can be started in it - mostly a command line- based shell or a character-oriented application ("text application"). The programs interact as follows:

Textanwendung ↔ Terminalemulation ↔ grafische Oberfläche
    Shell     ↔       xterm       ↔         X11

Terminals and terminal emulations typically support a set of "escape sequences" for controlling color, cursor position, etc. A number of terminal control sequence standards are known as the ANSI escape sequence .


  • xterm , Gnome Terminal , Console - Terminal emulations for access to unix systems
  • Reflection Desktop by Walker, Richer, Quinn (WRQ) - Terminal emulation for access to computers from IBM and HP.
  • HP TeemTalk - Terminal emulation for accessing computers from HP Inc.

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