Terminal Colours

Posted on January 29, 2015 by Richard Goulter

Using a terminal which is all black-and-white is boring.
It’s also pretty hard to read. – One advantage to having a colourful shell prompt (I use Powerline; overkill, but certainly colourful) is it’s easier to see the delimitations of program output and shell commands. Much easier.

Besides being easier to use, it’s also prettier. It’s quite nice to see ls command have different colours for folders/etc..
Indeed, to the extent that when I found out the old Solaris ls which my NUS Sunfire account was using didn’t have colour, I decided to replace it with the GNU coreutils version instead.
I was dismayed to see my new-and-improved terminal emulator, with a Solarized colour-theme wasn’t showing the colours. Or, rather, it was, but “light blue” and “light grey” were awfully similar.
– Btw, icymi, the $LS_COLORS environment variable can be used to colour all sorts of things, e.g. files with certain extensions, or to distinguish symlinks and such. I don’t know all the details here.

Because having the Solarized colour theme for the terminal emulator meant I could use the vim/solarized plugin so-that it’d make use of the ANSI 16-colours, which the terminal emulator mapped to the “true” Solarized colours. … Clear as mud, right?
Yes, it’s more of a pain than using GVim. But with GVim, it’s not particularly easy to use Slimux, I’d think. At best, the terminal would be on the adjacent workspace. (“Why don’t you use Sublime?”. i) No, fuck you. ii) I think you mean Atom. “Why don’t you use Atom?”.).

“Why do terminals use archaic 256-colour?”, is the next thing to wonder.
Which somehow I’ve not wondered before.
I wasn’t the first. And that result from Google wasn’t the first, either.
Which leads to this fantastic gist from XVilka, who has apparently taken a comprehensive interest in the subject.
I was interested to note, among other things, that ZyX_l has a branch of Vim with truecolour support.

I’d love to quote from the Gist, but it’s full of goodness, or at least things to start investigating.

Newer post Older post