A look at Alacritty, the terminal app powered by OpenGL

There are more terminal apps for Linux systems than you can see … And frankly, most of them are like choosing which socks to wear; very little difference except maybe for special purpose like thermal socks or tiling terminals … such as eagerness.

Right off the bat, something to mention about Alacritty is that this terminal app is GPU powered, using OpenGL; which makes it look much smoother and faster. Does this speed up the installation of your software? No … but he looks and feels great, for what it is. However, this is not the only functionality of the app; other such features include:

  • Vi Mode – Allows you to move around Alacritty and rewind using the keyboard with cursor movements similar to the famous Vim text editor, as well as keyboard shortcuts for selecting text.
  • To look for – Alacritty allows you to search for text in the scroll buffer. This is accomplished using either the Vi style search or the “normal” search, depending on the preference for keyboard shortcuts, however the Vi search allows more freedom of movement in the buffer.
  • Terminal advice – Terminal tips make it easier to interact with visible text when not in Vi mode. Alacritty has various built-in actions which can be performed when Alacritty automatically detects various text elements and can also feed texts into external applications. Hints can also be triggered via mouse actions by simply clicking on the text.
  • Extension of selection – Text selection can be extended by holding CTRL, double-clicking and triple-clicking, respectively for manual, semantic and whole row selections.
  • URL open with mouse – This is self-explanatory, you can click on the links to open them.

Alacritty has build instructions for Linux / BSD, a .dmg file installer for MacOS, and installer and portable versions for Windows; and is also available through the Snap store on Linux systems that use Snaps.

However, some features used by other terminal apps that some users are interested in are noticeably absent from Alacritty, one example being the mosaic dataset. Although the feature was suggested, the developer of Alacritty said there was “no chance that such a feature would be built into Alacritty” and “there are many terminal emulators to choose from that offer this feature. functionality”. Alacritty is designed to be simple, fast, and efficient, and doesn’t incorporate some of the flashiest or most complex features that people may be used to.

Final thoughts

Alacritty is really cool if you want a simple, fast, no-fuss terminal app; I could see it was a favorite for a lot of users. It doesn’t personally match my workflow in the way I like to use terminal windows, but if you’re not someone interested in a thousand and one features, all you need is d ‘only one window per instance, and / or you enjoy keyboard navigation much like with Vi / Vim, Alacritty may be worth a look.

Now you: Which terminal do you use, and why? Let us know in the comments


A look at Alacritty, the terminal app powered by OpenGL

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A look at Alacritty, the terminal app powered by OpenGL

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A review of the OpenGL Alacritty powered terminal application.


Mike Turcotte-McCusker





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Steven L. Nielsen

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