st is a simple terminal implementation for X.
xterm is bloated and unmaintainable. Here's an excerpt from the README:
Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here
This is undoubtedly the most ugly program in the distribution. It was one of the first "serious" programs ported, and still has a lot of historical baggage. Ideally, there would be a general tty widget and then vt102 and tek4014 subwidgets so that they could be used in other programs. We are trying to clean things up as we go, but there is still a lot of work to do.
Needless to say things have not changed, it's still ugly. It has over 65K lines of code and emulates obscure and obsolete terminals you will never need.
The popular alternative, rxvt has only 32K lines of code. This is just too much for something as simple as a terminal emulator; it's yet another example of code complexity.
Terminal emulation doesn't need to be so complex.
Things that have already been implemented are:
- most VT10X escape sequences
- serial line support
- XIM support
- utmp via utmp(1)
- clipboard handling
- mouse and keyboard shortcuts (via config.h)
- wide-character support
- 256 colors and true colors
- antialiased fonts (using fontconfig)
- fallback fonts
- line drawing
Configuration is done with
config.h. Read the comments in the generated
config.h to edit it according to your needs. Defaults are stored in
The FAQ is maintained in the st source code repository.
st is actively developed. You can browse its source code repository or get a copy using git with the following command:
git clone https://git.suckless.org/st