A terminal, or terminal emulator, is a program that allows users to run commands that are processed by the computer or another network device. Terminals can be completely text-based or have a graphical user interface (GUI) where users interact with windows, buttons, and icons.


Terminal programs go by different names according to the operating system:

  • macOS uses an application simply named “Terminal.”
  • Windows has a few terminal options in the Command Prompt (or CMD), PowerShell, and the Windows Terminal.
  • There are many terminal programs within the Linux ecosystem, including the following:
    • GNOME Terminal
    • Konsole
    • xterm

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