Xfce’s Drop Down Terminal

Screenshot - 011213 - 16:53:01As a followup to yesterday’s post on Tilda there is an alternative for Xfce users. The current Xfce terminal has a drop down option. However it is not obvious to most users.

It is a hidden option which is standard for Xfce4-Terminal. To access it you need to start the terminal with the command ‘xfce4-terminal –drop-down’. The man page gives more details and suggests you bind that command to a keyboard shortcut. That way you can press the key to open the terminal and pressing it again will hide but not close the terminal. This means there is no need to add it to your sessions or Autostart. The first time the key is pressed will launch and open it. Further presses will reveal or hide it.

I would suggest binding it to F12. To do this right click on the desktop, select Applications – Settings – Keyboard. Select the Application Shortcuts tab,  click on the Add button, type in the command as above. Click OK and it will open another window asking for the key, press your chosen key(s) and the window will close. Test the shortcut, the terminal should open as a drop down.

In the Edit menu (or right click in the terminal) there is a Preferences option with a new DropDown tab. Make your choices here for size, location etc. If you turn off the menu bar you can access the preferences and new tab etc. options with a right click. The Dropdown preference screen also has an option for Opacity this applies to the whole terminal including the text. The Opacity option on the Appearance tab only affects the background. The Duration option controls the speed of the animation as the terminal drops down and ascends.

There is an option for a panel indicator too, it will appear in the notification area. Clicking on the panel icon will open the terminal. Right clicking gives access to the Preferences and an option to close the terminal.

This is a great option for Xfce users wanting the convenience of a drop down terminal and may remove the need for Tilda in future versions.

RIP Tilda, Long Live Tilda

UPDATE: Since I wrote this there has been some progress, although Tilda still isn’t available from the Fedora repos there has been some development work done on it. There is a new maintainer so go here for the latest details. You will need to build from source to have Tilda in current versions of Fedora or Korora but hopefully a new packager will emerge.

As many who have read this blog will know I’m a fan of drop down (aka quake style) terminals. I use Yakuake in KDE but in Xfce I’ve been using Tilda. I prefer its minimal style and features to the other options.

However when I installed Korora 19 I discovered that Tilda has been dropped from Fedora’s repos for 19 as it isn’t being currently maintained. In cases like this you have the choice of finding an alternative or building it yourself from source.

I found there is another way of installing Tilda in Korora or Fedora 19. Please note that this isn’t a procedure I would recommend for most packages but it works for Tilda. I ran Fedup on one of my systems but did a clean installation on another. Initially I didn’t notice the Tilda hadn’t been updated by fedup as it was still working. Only after I installed on the other system was the lack of Tilda noticed. I realised that packages from the older version still worked. So that was how I got it working in 19.

First we need a rpm file to install. That’s easy as I found the version for 18 works in 19. One way to obtain rpms is with RPM Search. I’ve used it before to back date when updates break something and yum history hasn’t worked. Go to here for a 64 bit file or here for an i686 one.

Now, as root, change to the directory where the downloaded file resides and run ‘yum localinstall packagename’, obviously replace packagename with the name of the file you downloaded. Yum will handle the dependency and install Tilda for you.

Problem solved, you now have Tilda in Korora or Fedora 19. Hopefully someone will step up and package it again in future version but as development has been slow I guess that’s not likely. See Tilda on github for details on the current state of development.