A fast and lightweight Wayland terminal emulator
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Daniel Eklöf 0538b96dbb
doc: foot/footclient: fix highlighting of TITLE argument to --title
1 day ago
completions conf: add 'title' conf option and --title command line option 1 day ago
doc doc: foot/footclient: fix highlighting of TITLE argument to --title 1 day ago
scripts scripts/generate-alt-random-writes: use TIOCGWINSZ instead of shutil 3 weeks ago
.build.yml ci: initial sr.ht build manifest 5 days ago
.gitignore fcft/tllist: remove git submodules 2 months ago
.gitlab-ci.yml ci: checkout/clone (doh!) 2 months ago
.gitmodules fcft/tllist: remove git submodules 2 months ago
CHANGELOG.md conf: add 'title' conf option and --title command line option 1 day ago
LICENSE add license 9 months ago
PKGBUILD Merge branch 'releases/1.2' 2 weeks ago
README.md README: document ctrl+shift+n 2 weeks ago
async.c async: add async_write(), a write primitive to write to a NONBLOCK:ing FD 5 months ago
async.h async: add async_write(), a write primitive to write to a NONBLOCK:ing FD 5 months ago
base64.c base64: implement encode() 8 months ago
base64.h base64: implement encode() 8 months ago
client.c conf: add 'title' conf option and --title command line option 1 day ago
commands.c scroll-up: ensure view is valid after adjusting an overshot scrollback 1 month ago
commands.h scrollback: initial support for mouse scrolling 8 months ago
config.c conf: add 'title' conf option and --title command line option 1 day ago
config.h conf: add 'title' conf option and --title command line option 1 day ago
csi.c alt-screen: use a custom 'saved' cursor when switching to alt screen 2 weeks ago
csi.h performance improvements 9 months ago
dcs.c sixel: initial support 1 month ago
dcs.h dcs: initial handling of DCS in general 2 months ago
fdm.c fdm: fix log message 2 months ago
fdm.h fdm: add hook priorities 2 months ago
foot-server.desktop .desktop: 'terminal' is not a common icon name 3 weeks ago
foot.desktop .desktop: 'terminal' is not a common icon name 3 weeks ago
foot.info terminfo: use ST, not BEL as OSC terminator 2 months ago
footrc conf: rename 'startup-mode' to 'initial-window-mode' 5 days ago
generate-version.sh generate-version: check for .git directory in *src* dir 3 weeks ago
grid.c sixel: improve handling of images when reflowing the grids 2 weeks ago
grid.h render/grid: move grid reflow code to grid.c 1 month ago
input.c search: replace hard-coded key bindings with "user configurable" ones 2 weeks ago
input.h search: replace hard-coded key bindings with "user configurable" ones 2 weeks ago
keymap.h keymap: tab: handle all modifiers 1 month ago
log.c log: always log file:lineno 1 month ago
log.h main: add --print-pid=FILE|FD 1 month ago
main.c conf: add 'title' conf option and --title command line option 1 day ago
meson.build meson/PKGBUILD: bump version to 1.2.3 2 weeks ago
misc.c selection: break out isword() to a new file 4 months ago
misc.h selection: break out isword() to a new file 4 months ago
osc.c osc: implement OSC 12 and OSC 112 (set/reset text cursor color) 2 months ago
osc.h ocs: renamed parameter size -> required_size in osc_ensure_size() 8 months ago
quirks.c quirks: add KDE quirk: surface must be damaged *after* being attached 1 week ago
quirks.h quirks: add KDE quirk: surface must be damaged *after* being attached 1 week ago
render.c shm: scroll: keep shm pool around, and fix its size at max allowed 1 week ago
render.h render: pace title updates 1 week ago
search.c search: replace hard-coded key bindings with "user configurable" ones 2 weeks ago
search.h search: add support for user configurable key bindings 3 weeks ago
selection.c term: convert cell 'linefeed' attribute to a row 'linebreak' property 1 month ago
selection.h selection: track selection type; normal or block selection 3 months ago
server.c conf: add 'title' conf option and --title command line option 1 day ago
server.h server: implement a --server mode 5 months ago
shm.c conf: max-shm-pool-size-mb=0 now disables SHM scrolling 1 week ago
shm.h shm: make max pool size user configurable (via a 'tweak' setting) 1 week ago
sixel-hls.c sixel: add HLS color format support 1 month ago
sixel-hls.h sixel: add HLS color format support 1 month ago
sixel.c sixel: improve handling of images when reflowing the grids 2 weeks ago
sixel.h sixel: add sixel_delete_at_row and sixel_delete_in_range 1 month ago
slave.c slave: set $SHELL when command line is a shell listed in /etc/shells 1 month ago
slave.h slave: prefix argv[0] with a '-' when spawning a login-shell 1 month ago
terminal.c conf: add 'title' conf option and --title command line option 1 day ago
terminal.h Merge branch 'master' into scroll-damage-performance 6 days ago
tokenize.c slave: break out command line tokenizer 8 months ago
tokenize.h slave: break out command line tokenizer 8 months ago
vt.c alt-screen: use a custom 'saved' cursor when switching to alt screen 2 weeks ago
vt.h Rename: vt_to_slave() -> term_to_slave() 5 months ago
wayland.c conf: add app-id config option and --app-id command line option 1 day ago
wayland.h search: replace hard-coded key bindings with "user configurable" ones 2 weeks ago

README.md

foot

foot is a fast Wayland terminal emulator.

Index

  1. Features
  2. Non-features
  3. What does not work?
  4. Fonts
  5. Shortcuts
    1. Keyboard
      1. Normal mode
      2. Scrollback search
    2. Mouse
  6. Server (daemon) mode
  7. Alt/meta
  8. Backspace
  9. DPI and font size
  10. Requirements
    1. Running
    2. Building
  11. Installing
    1. Arch Linux
    2. Other

Features

  • Fast

  • Lightweight, both on-disk and in-memory

  • Wayland native

  • DE agnostic

  • User configurable font fallback

  • On-the-fly font resize

  • On-the-fly DPI font size adjustment

  • Scrollback search

  • Color emoji support

  • Server/daemon mode (one master process, many windows)

  • Sixel image support

    wow

Non-features

This is a non-exhaustive list of things some people might consider being important features (i.e. “must-haves”), that are unlikely to ever be supported by foot.

  • Tabs
  • Graphical elements (menu, buttons etc)

What does not work?

This is a list of known, but probably not all, issues:

  • Unicode combining characters

    Examples: á (LATIN SMALL LETTER A + COMBINING ACUTE ACCENT)

Fonts

foot supports all fonts that can be loaded by freetype, including bitmap fonts and color emoji fonts.

Foot uses fontconfig to locate and configure the font(s) to use. Since fontconfig's fallback mechanism is imperfect, especially for monospace fonts (it doesn't prefer monospace fonts even though the requested font is one), foot allows you, the user, to configure the fallback fonts to use.

This also means you can configure each fallback font individually; you want that fallback font to use this size, and you want that other fallback font to be italic? No problem!

If a glyph cannot be found in any of the user configured fallback fonts, then fontconfig's list is used.

Shortcuts

These are the default shortcuts. See man 5 foot and the example footrc to see how these can be changed.

Keyboard

Normal mode

shift+page up/page down
Scroll up/down in history
ctrl+shift+c
Copy selected text to the clipboard
ctrl+shift+v
Paste from clipboard
ctrl+shift+r
Start a scrollback search
ctrl++, ctrl+=
Increase font size by 0,5pt
ctrl+-
Decrease font size by 0,5pt
ctrl+0
Reset font size
ctrl+shift+n
Spawn a new terminal. If the shell has been configured to emit the OSC 7 escape sequence, the new terminal will start in the current working directory.
ctrl+r
Search backward for next match
ctrl+s
Search forward for next match
ctrl+w
Extend current selection (and thus the search criteria) to the end of the word, or the next word if currently at a word separating character.
ctrl+shift+w
Same as ctrl+w, except that the only word separating characters are whitespace characters.
escape, ctrl+g
Cancel the search
return
Finish the search and copy the current match to the primary selection

Mouse

left - single-click
Drag to select; when released, the selected text is copied to the primary selection. This feature is disabled when client has enabled mouse tracking.
Holding shift enables selection in mouse tracking enabled clients.
Holding ctrl will create a block selection.
left - double-click
Selects the word (separated by spaces, period, comma, parenthesis etc) under the pointer. Hold ctrl to select everything under the pointer up to, and until, the next space characters.
left - triple-click
Selects the entire row
middle
Paste from primary selection
wheel
Scroll up/down in history

Server (daemon) mode

When run normally, foot is a single-window application; if you want another window, start another foot process.

However, foot can also be run in a server mode. In this mode, one process hosts multiple windows. Note that this is nothing like tabs. When first started in server mode, no windows are available.

You open new windows by running footclient. This is a small process that instructs the foot server to open a new terminal window. The client process remains running until the terminal window is closed. The exit value of the client process is that of the shell that was running in the terminal window.

The point of this mode is a) reduced memory footprint - all terminal windows will share fonts and glyph cache, and b) reduced startup time - loading fonts and populating the glyph cache takes time, but in server mode it only happens once.

The downside is a performance penalty; all windows’ input and output are multiplexed in the same thread (but each window will have its own set of rendering threads). This means that if one window is very busy with, for example, producing output, then other windows will suffer.

And of course, should the server process crash, all windows will be gone.

Typical usage would be to start the server process (foot --server) when starting your Wayland compositor (i.e. logging in to your desktop), and then run footclient instead of foot whenever you want to launch a new terminal.

Alt/meta

By default, foot prefixes Meta characters with ESC. This corresponds to XTerm's metaSendsEscape option set to true.

This can be disabled programatically with \E[?1036l (and enabled again with \E[?1036h).

When disabled, foot will instead set the 8:th bit of meta character and then UTF-8 encode it. This corresponds to XTerm's eightBitMeta option set to true.

This can also be disabled programatically with rmm (reset meta mode, \E[?1034l), and enabled again with smm (set meta mode, \E[?1034h).

Backspace

Foot transmits DEL (^?) on backspace. This corresponds to XTerm's backarrowKey option set to false, and to DECBKM being reset.

To instead transmit BS (^H), press ctrl+backspace.

Note that foot does not implement DECBKM, and that the behavior described above cannot be changed.

Finally, pressing alt will prefix the transmitted byte with ESC.

DPI and font size

Font sizes are apparently a complex thing. Many applications use a fixed DPI of 96. They may also multiply it with the monitor's scale factor.

This results in fonts with different physical sizes (i.e. if measured by a ruler) when rendered on screens with different DPI values. Even if the configured font size is the same.

This is not how it is meant to be. Fonts are measured in point sizes for a reason; a given point size should have the same height on all mediums, be it printers or monitors, regardless of their DPI.

Foot will always use the monitor's physical DPI value. Scale factors are irrelevant (well, they affect e.g. padding, but not the font size). This means the glyphs rendered by foot should always have the same physical height, regardless of monitor.

Foot will re-size the fonts on-the-fly when the window is moved between screens with different DPIs values. If the window covers multiple screens, with different DPIs, the highest DPI will be used.

Tip: QT applications can be configured to work this way too, by exporting the environment variable QT_WAYLAND_FORCE_DPI=physical.

Note: if you configure pixelsize, rather than size, then DPI changes will not change the font size. Pixels are always pixels.

Requirements

Running

  • fontconfig
  • freetype
  • pixman
  • wayland (client and cursor libraries)
  • xkbcommon
  • tllist 1
  • fcft 1

Building

In addition to the dev variant of the packages above, you need:

  • meson
  • ninja
  • wayland protocols
  • ncurses
  • scdoc

Installing

foot makes use of a couple of libraries I have developed: tllist and fcft. As such, they will most likely not have been installed already. You can either install them as system libraries, or you can build them as subprojects in foot.

When building foot, they will first be searched for as system libraries. If found, foot will link dynamically against them.

If not found, they will be searched for as subprojects. In this case you need to create the subprojects directory and clone https://codeberg.org/dnkl/fcft.git and https://codeberg.org/dnkl/tllist.git (see Other below).

Arch Linux

Install from AUR:

Or use makepkg to build the bundled PKGBUILD (run makepkg in the source root directory).

Unlike the AUR packages, the bundled PKGBUILD requires tllist and fcft to be installed as system libraries. If you do not want this, please edit the PKGBUILD file, or install manually (see Other below).

Note that it will do a profiling-guided build, and that this requires a running wayland session since it needs to run an intermediate build of foot.

Other

Foot uses meson. If you are unfamiliar with it, the official tutorial might be a good starting point.

I also recommend taking a look at the bundled Arch PKGBUILD file, to see how it builds foot. Especially so if you intend to install a release build of foot, in which case you might be interested in the compiler flags used there.

If you have not installed tllist and fcft as system libraries, clone them into the subprojects directory:

mkdir -p subprojects
pushd subprojects
git clone https://codeberg.org/dnkl/tllist.git
git clone https://codeberg.org/dnkl/fcft.git
popd

To build, first, create a build directory, and switch to it:

mkdir -p bld/release && cd bld/release

Second, configure2 the build (if you intend to install it globally, you might also want --prefix=/usr):

meson --buildtype=release ../..

Three, build it:

ninja

You can now run it directly from the build directory:

./foot

But note that it will default to TERM=foot, and that this terminfo has not been installed yet. However, most things should work with the xterm-256color terminfo:

./foot --term xterm-256color

But, I recommend you install the foot and foot-direct terminfo files. You can either copy them manually (typically to /usr/share/terminfo/f - but this is dependens on the distro), or just install everything:

ninja install

  1. can also be built as subprojects, in which case they are statically linked. ↩︎

  2. for advanced users: a profile guided build will have significantly better performance; take a look at PKDBUILD to see how this can be done. ↩︎