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Terminal Emulators: Comparison

  • mlterm a multilingual terminal emulator on X11. It has a low memory footprint and offers configuration by command line and a graphical tool.
  • xterm The default terminal emulator on X11. Is has support for unicode and truetype fonts. Configuration via .Xresources or popup menu. Memory footprint is moderate.
  • urxvt highly extendable (with Perl) unicode enabled terminal emulator


On: Artix Linux

From low to high in kB

Command Version USS PSS RSS
xterm 362 4112 5277 8800
mlterm 3.9.0 7200 8744 12500
xterm (using xft font)362 91881035613988
urxvt 9.22 9160 10418 13972


Although xterm has the lowest memory footprint, it has only so when using bitmap fonts. Those have some disadvantages as not really being scalable. When using xft fonts the memory usage of xterm rises considerably.

urxvt was one a lightweight alternative to xterm. Now it has a bigger footprint then the mother of all X11 terminal emulators.

mlterm was surprisingly the terminal emulator with the lowest footprint when using xft fonts. Additionally it offers configuration by using a command line tool for experienced users as well as a GUI. So this is the recommended terminal emulator.

terminal/comparison.txt · Last modified: 2021/01/16 22:43 by senioradmin