Tart up that terminal!

Apr 14th 2021

Reading Time:
4 minutes

blog Mike Jones Writer

In the last few blog entries i have about Ubuntu a lot. from building a dev environment from scratch all the way through to how it feels still using it a week on. As i'm getting more and more familiar with Linux again after so many years away from it i want to make my terminal look a little better :)

Now there is a lot of people who will say this is a waste of time and blah blah blah but its something i like doing, with the PHP and Laravel stuff i do i have a terminal window open pretty much all the time (so i don't need to open the IDE one) so making my terminal look nicer is just a personal preference.

Terminal Alternatives...


I installed this on a recommendation from a friend and it was pretty cool to be fair, its a drop down styled terminal which is highly configurable and is lightweight!

Install with this:

sudo apt-get install guake -y

Cool Retro Term

Remember the days of monitors that only gave you a few colours and threatened to burn your eyes out of your head? or monitors similar to the PipBoy from Fallout?

Well if you want something retro like that Cool Retro Term is for you... it installs a retro looking terminal monitor including the screen bezel... with all of the retro emulation it ironically makes it very resource intensive so you need a decent machine.

Install with this:

sudo snap install cool-retro-term --classic


another recommendation from a buddy, yet another drop down terminal which is very lightweight and highly configurable so you can tweak pretty much everything to how you like. after trying the Guake terminal and not really liking it i decided not to install this one but thought it was worth a mention from my buddies suggestion :D

sudo apt-get install tilda

Which one did i go with then?

None of them... I've recently move my dev environment from Mac to Linux and on the iMac i had iTerm2 and had installed Powerlevel10k. I really liked my setup on the Mac so wanted to replicate it on my Ubuntu Terminal. And its fairly easy to setup, just follow the Powerlevel10k instructions... or read below :)

Recommended Fonts

Now in the documentation it states you don't need to install these but its recommended... Install them, when i initially installed with with iTerm2 i didn't use the font and for me it looked garbage so in the end i installed them.

To ensure your terminal is using this font you need to set it in your Terminal Preferences. Preferences > (your profile name - usually unnamed) > Custom Font and select MesloLGS NF Regular

Installing Powerlevel10k

IL be talking through installing it with Ubuntu Terminal and Oh My Zsh if you followed my first linux dev environment setup we setup Oh My Zsh in that. If you want to use something else checkout the Get Started section of the Powerlevel10k GitHub Repo for instructions.

If you're using Oh My Zsh follow along.

git clone --depth=1 https://github.com/romkatv/powerlevel10k.git ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-$HOME/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/themes/powerlevel10k

This will pull the necessary files to your machine ready to set the ZSH Theme

If you are in Mainland China you need to use a different clone.

中国大陆用户可以使用 gitee.com 上的官方镜像加速下载. (Direct from Github account)

git clone --depth=1 https://gitee.com/romkatv/powerlevel10k.git ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-$HOME/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/themes/powerlevel10k

Now that you have files cloned you need to set the Theme in your ZSHRC config

sudo nano ~/.zshrc

find the line that has ZSH_THEME="robbyrussell" and change it too ZSH_THEME="powerlevel10k/powerlevel10k" and that's it for the main clone and Oh My Zsh config

Now the next bit is up to you... there is a fair few options available to you when you run the next command and the beauty of it is you can run it as many times as you like if your not quite happy with what you have.

There is two options here... First and recommended is to close your terminal and reopen it. if you followed the install process above correct you will be face with the following screen:

If this doesn't appear run p10k configure in the terminal and that should bring up the screen above. If not, something has gone wrong id suggest starting from the beginning.

Follow the onscreen prompts to setup your terminal exactly how you want :)

after going through mine this is what i got:

I had to black out some files as they relate to a private project i'm working on (due to be released soon hopefully)

I had to black out some files as they relate to a private project i'm working on (due to be released soon hopefully)

And thats it! Its not necessary to do this but i like how it looks, it also helps me when im flipping between projects to know what Git Branches im on etc.

As usual if you have anything you want me to look at and cover please let me know by using the contact page.