foot is a fast Wayland terminal emulator.
- What does not work?
- Server (daemon) mode
- Fast (TODO insert benchmark results here)
- Wayland native
- DE agnostic
- User configurable font fallback
- Scrollback search
- Color emoji support
- "Server" mode (one master process, many windows)
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.
- 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)
Reflow text on window resize
GNOME; might work, but without window decorations.
Strictly speaking, foot is at fault here; all Wayland applications must be able to draw their own window decorations (but foot is not).
However, most people want a uniform look and feel on their desktop, including the window decorations. For this reason, a Wayland application can request Server Side Decorations (SSD). GNOME will reply with a "I hear you, but sorry, I wont do that".
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.
At the moment, all shortcuts are hard coded and cannot be changed. It is not possible to define new key bindings.
- shift+page up/page down
- Scroll up/down in history
- Copy selected text to the clipboard
- Paste from clipboard
- Start a scrollback search
- Search backward for next match
- Search forward for next match
- 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.
- Same as ctrl+w, except that the only word separating characters are whitespace characters.
- escape, ctrl+g
- Cancel the search
- Finish the search and copy the current match to the primary selection
- 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
- Paste from primary selection
- 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 (
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.
In addition to the dev variant of the packages above, you need:
- wayland protocols
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/tllist.git (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.
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.
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
meson --buildtype=release ../..
Three, build it:
You can now run it directly from the build directory:
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
./foot --term xterm-256color
But, I recommend you install the
files. You can either copy them manually (typically to
/usr/share/terminfo/f - but this is dependens on the distro), or
just install everything: