Terminal (OS X)

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For other uses, see Terminal (disambiguation).
Terminal 2.2 running the top program under Mac OS
Developer(s) Apple Inc.
Stable release 2.4 (326)
Operating system OS X
Type Terminal emulator
License Bundled with OS X
Website http://www.apple.com/osx/specs/

Terminal (Terminal.app) is the terminal emulator included in the OS X operating system by Apple.[1]

Terminal originated in NeXTSTEP and OPENSTEP, the predecessor operating systems of OS X.

As a terminal emulator, the application provides text-based access to the operating system, in contrast to the mostly graphical nature of the user experience of OS X, by providing a command line interface to the operating system when used in conjunction with a Unix shell, such as bash.

The preferences dialog for Terminal.app in OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) offers choices for values of the TERM environment variable. Available options are ansi, dtterm, nsterm, rxvt, vt52, vt100, vt102, xterm, xterm-16color and xterm-256color, which differ from the OS X 10.5 (Leopard) choices by dropping the xterm-color and adding xterm-16color and xterm-256color. These settings do not alter the operation of Terminal, and the xterm settings do not match the behavior of xterm.[2]

As an OS X-only application, Terminal includes a number of features that specifically access OS X APIs and features. These include tabs, the ability to use the standard OS X Help search function to find Man pages and integration with Spotlight. Terminal was used by Apple as something of a showcase for OS X's graphics APIs in the early days of Mac OS X,[citation needed] offering a range of custom font and colouring options, including unusual themes such as transparent backgrounds.[citation needed]

The defaults command is often used to set hidden settings via the shell and is only found in NeXTSTEP-derived systems like OS X.