What is terminal emulator?

by Daniel Pham
Published: Updated:
This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Linux commands: Part 1 - What is the Shell?

What is Terminal Emulator? When you work with the Linux operating system, you will interact with it via a section called Shell. But Shell is something you can’t “touch” directly. You need an intermediary “thing” to interact with Shell. That’s the Terminal Emulator.

If you look on the menu of the Linux Desktop operating system, you will see a program called Terminal. That’s the Emulator.

Terminal emulator in Linux desktop

Linux Desktop operating systems all have a Terminal Emulator program. These programs may vary by operating system type, for example: KDE uses konsole, GNOME uses gnome-terminal. But overall, all these programs are called Terminal.

For example in the image below, Linux Min OS 18. You open the menu and you will see the Terminal program.

what is terminal emulator
Terminal program in Linux Mint 18.

Terminal emulator in Linux server

The usual, default Linux server uses the command line to manipulate instead of using the GUI. Therefore, by default, it can be said that Linux server does not use any Emulator programs. In other words, the commands window on Linux server is a Terminal.

However, some server operating systems like CentOS and Fedora allow you to install GUI for the server. At this point, the Linux server will look like a Windows server, since it basically has a graphical interface for you to use.

When using the graphical interface for Linux server, you will now have to use Terminal Emulator like the Linux Desktop version.

(This is an article from my old blog that has been inactive for a long time, I don’t want to throw it away so I will keep it and hope it helps someone).

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