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And on another note... it's been hilarious how people have been questioning my professional credentials just because I want to make something more usable.

I've implemented over a dozen RFCs, can match regexps with the best of them and do know which end of a pipe does what ;).




It is amusing how we hackers, who are supposed to embrace change, become as Luddite as anyone else when our sacred tools are questioned. Personally I see room for this and a whole lot more. I'd like to see an amalgam of this and the traditional terminal (easy way to pull up a traditional terminal if you need it). There is no need to "replace"; I think this makes a fine addition to a hackers workspace.


Thing is, it's not about the tools being sacred. My problem with this is that he's not just solving problems I don't have -- he's solving them in a way that would make my problems worse!

For instance, I very rarely want more informations about the files from an "ls" command; and if I did, I'd probably use Finder instead. On the other hand, not having enough terminal real estate to display the entire directory at once is a very frequent problem. From that perspective, adding icons is a step in the wrong direction.

Thinking about it, if I were playing with making a better terminal, one of my first lines of thought would be things that made it quick and easy to break information out into other windows, because scrolling back and forth in the terminal's buffer is a PITA.

Of course, this new terminal might be exactly what the author needs, and more power to him if it is. There's no need for us all to use the same tools. (Thanks heavens -- I want nothing to do with Emacs or vi!)


"if I did, I'd probably use Finder instead."

The thing that strikes me as very, very cool about this project is that you might not need the Finder at all any more.


See, here's the thing: I like Finder. It's not perfect, but sometimes it is very handy. Even if TermKit ends up implementing the complete functionality of Finder, I'm not sure why I'd particularly like to have that functionality in my terminal window. And if it's only implementing the one Finder view I virtually never use? Forget about it.

You know what would rock my world? A "lsf" command that emulated "ls" as much as possible, but launched a Finder window appropriately sized to display the results.


I've always thought Raskin's ZUI held some promise as an alternative UI paradigm. I'm pretty much a quicksilver addict now and use that to kind of combine the command line and GUI desktop worlds a little bit more at least.


That's what I aim for termkit ls to be. The current ls is a toy meant to show off the potential.

As for why? Because it will be optimized for keyboard interaction and rapid context switching.


Regarding the too-small windows for ls output option I would love if his ls could display it's output full-screen temporarily rather than needing to make the terminal full-screen first and then running ls


Bloomberg found the same thing when they tried to redesign their terminals for traders - existing users were so invested in their knowledge of the "incantations" of the old interface that they were hugely resistant to a UI with a more modern learning curve and interaction.

It's very hard to make a product that essentially devalues things that your customers spent a lot of time learning. You're probably better off ignoring people who already happy with their shell experience, and going after people who have not yet invested in learning all that crap.

And yes, it's crap. And I say that not because I don't know it myself, but because in the end, much of it is not essential to the actual job we're trying to get done, it's the tools we use. And the tools are not the job.


The thing about changes involving a "more modern learning curve and interaction" is that it's replacing something that already worked and users knew how to use.

I'm quite bad for upgrading for upgrading's sake but I can understand why, of all people, traders at Bloomberg didn't want any kind of learning curve on their terminals.

Yes, it's clearly better but users don't always want to change to something that does what they already do in a more modern way.


That doesn't mean you have to stop innovating. It just means that your customers might not be the people who are already using what you want to replace.


I think that's absolutely right.


It is amusing how we hackers, who are supposed to embrace change, become as Luddite as anyone else when our sacred tools are questioned.

In my experience, programmers as a whole are actually more luddite and irrationally reactionary than the general populace.


Really? I see the same thing whenever you get a bunch of professionals together and start arguing about their tools.

Doctors and different drugs/treatments, Contractors and brands of power tools.

Programmers do seem to make the biggest deal about "all the fighting", everyone else seems to just accept that professionals are opinionated and arguing is how progress is made. But I'm on the inside with the programming stuff and on the outside looking in for the rest of these fields so maybe that's not true.


Doctors and different drugs/treatments, Contractors and brands of power tools.

From what I've seen, smart Doctors and Contractors eventually get to discussing empirical data and costs. Far too often, I've seen programmers just make up crap and state it emphatically.


Thanks for bringing up this great point.

I actually built in anonymous usage logging into TermKit using Google Analytics over SSL. It logs the types of commands you execute (no data). It's my plan to release this data back to the community regularly. I don't think anyone has done a large-scale survey of command-line unix usage before. Should be interesting.

Edit: and you can easily turn it off if you wish.


Very good point. Do doctors and contractors have more sources of empirical data (or more widely known sources), or are they simply more willing to look for them? Does anyone here know of a good general resource for empirical data regarding the tools we are constantly debating?


Do doctors and contractors have more sources of empirical data (or more widely known sources), or are they simply more willing to look for them?

I think the culture would be a vital part of an ecosystem of empirical observation. For the sciences generally, the culture predated the sources and gave rise to them. For medicine, I think a culture of empiricism was imported from other scientific fields. For contractors, they are very motivated to note what works, what breaks, and what enables them to make more money.


... like you just did.


Yeah, just look at the Rails/CoffeeScript thing recently.


I'm also a bit disappointed on how most people here react. I personally think your idea is great and pretty futuristic. I would certainly use a tool like this. Also it's open source so if a specific detail (such as the font) bugs them it can simply be changed.

I've had similar ideas (based on Python) but never got around to executing them. Keep up the good work and don't let the angry bearded UNIX dinosaurs get to you :)


I'm having a blast and interpreting all the flak as a sign I must be doing something right...


Bingo. If you haven't pissed anyone off, it's because you're not doing anything important. There are people who invested DECADES of their life into a vanilla terminal ... and here you are, fucking with THAT.


the only thing that pisses me off is the guy posting how many years he was administering UNIX systems and how this monster was an "obvious" step in the field, web designers are quite arrogant


Absolutely! Don't lose that attitude. You won't win over everyone and the fact that anyone cares enough about something you made to share their opinion with you is awesome.


I'm so impressed with that. If I was getting that much criticism (for something so obviously excellent!) I'd be shaking in my boots. :-(


Well, a few years ago I made this Line Rider video, and then 10,000 people on YouTube told me to get a life.

Who cares what people on the internet say, they're the ones wasting their time posting it.


I agree. I haven't actually tried your terminal, but so far it looks very nice.

Considering that when the interface for the terminal was created it was all about being able to do everything and anything without breaking a sweat. Simple things like automatic source code highlighting, animated progress bars, being able to view (now common) files like pdf and jpeg that were not common back in the old days. Popup tab complete, I can't believe that that isn't standard on all terminals already (especially since tab complete is all about being lazy, a popup makes a lot of sense).

I'll download the source and poke around it later this evening (right now I need to work on my exam of implementing the go-back-n protocol).

Cheers and keep up the good work.

PS: RDF support would be great (since you have json). RDF is the standard for sharing data (often statistics) openly online, check out http://data.gov.uk/linked-data


Regarding your quote problem: the idea is that the highlighted token signifies "quoted string". I plan to add regexp tokens, user@host tokens, etc. each with appropriate autocomplete.

I thought the current minimalistic approach was ok, but it might be worth to add subtle quotes around the edges to reinforce the idea. That's why it's made out of HTML/CSS...


The token idea is genius. This could be applied to programming languages as well. Why settle with crazy delimiters like ',"; /xxx/ and manual escaping with \n \x \\\\\\ (making a \ in a regexp in a string :P). A subtle visual hint could be enough to distinguish different kinds of textual "object".

Sure, not everyone will like this, but for people that are visually oriented like me it will make things a lot of fun.


"quoted string" or 'quoted string'? Big difference. :)


The difference is in whether escaping is necessary. What happens when you no longer need to escape things? It no longer matters which quotes you use.


That sounds great, although I would like to have a nice fall-back for those odd programs that the terminal doesn't know the appropriate token for.


It's not futuristic, it's retro. I've seen three or four of these be announced with great fanfare, and then dropped. No one cares enough, the backwards compatibility is never good enough, and it's almost certainly too slow.


I wouldn't be surprised if Webkit was just as fast or even faster in rendering than your average Linux terminal emulator.

About caring enough, yeah, that depends, maybe the world is ready for this now :) At least it isn't some overengineered XML grotesquery this time.


that webkit will render faster than a terminal emulator is just pure fantasy, is like saying that a smart phone with all the fancy apps will eventually use less power than a solar powered calculator. you ppl are addicted to osx overdesign. no graphical user interface will beat a keyboard in the right hands, like it or not. pure fantasy, hipster hackers


What was the last time you had any problems with the rendering speed of Webkit in reality? Have you tried the other link in HN, that boots Linux in your browser, with a terminal app, and it still manages to be fast even on my modest system?

Have you looked at some WebGL / Canvas based demos lately? There are now very efficient GPU offloaded rendering APIs that make rendering graphics a breeze, it is no longer a big-overhead thing. If you don't use fancy graphics you're underutilizing your GPU.

[also, TermKit is not just about fancy graphics, but also about user friendlyness/usefullness for some tasks that are not very well handled in terminals otherwise]


It's just my point of view, I don't really like the stance seem to take here.

You built something great, made it open source, which is even more great, and you're here to answer people, which is amazing. Now, please don't act like "I implemented x RFCs, I can do y like the best...", it's simply useless here. One reason is that people already know you can code well, and they can even read your source if they want to know better, there's no need to brag. Another reason is that HN is the place of some very good developers, and I believe humility is appreciated here, at least until you build some life changing software (and I won't debate about what is or is not life changing).

Anyways, thanks for building this and releasing the source code as open, it's cool.


He brought up his own credentials because he is amused that others have questioned them. I find that reasonable and not "bragging."


I love the idea. But as someone who also loves vim, to hear that your vision of a new terminal excludes a tool as powerful and expressive as vim makes me sad, because it means that apparently I won't be able to benefit from this new terminal. I'll watch with interest, however.


If I can make TermKit deliver on its promise, then I'm pretty sure on of you vim guys will take a VT100 JS emulator and make it work in TermKit.

Again, the architecture supports it.




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