TinyTERM ITX for Mac

I was happy to see Century Software announce TinyTERM ITX for Mac and Linux. There are dozens of decent Windows emulators to choose from, but not much for Mac or Linux.

The other side of that is that there isn't great demand, either. I get by with Terminal on Mac and a console login on Linux for just about everything I need to do. Once in a great while I would find things a bit easier with accurate and complete emulation, but that is rare. Yet, I have had more than a few other folks say they are looking for a real emulator, so the need does exist.

I was a bit surprised at the price: Century seems to think $99.00 is a "low" price for a terminal emulator - it certainly is not low today. However, we need to keep the demand side in mind - Century may not be able to sell many of these both due to the size of the markets and the fact that few users will need it. That $99.00 may be necessary because of that.

So, I requested an evaluation copy to install on my 32 bit Mac Book Pro.

Death by Filepro

As it happened, I had some work scheduled on a SCO Unix box running Filepro. That's a great test for a wanna-be terminal emulator - SCO's "scoansi" emulation and Filepro's screen drawing have tripped up more than one contender. I typed in the IP address for an ssh connection (TinyTERM ITX does telnet too) and seconds later I had a Filepro menu on my screen. Wonderful!

And then it froze.

Now that's something I had not seen before. Bad screen drawing, sure. But frozen solid? I wrote to my contact at Century to tell him the bad news.

Oddly, he couldn't duplicate the issue. I thought maybe it was 32 bit vs 64 bit, so I moved the TinyTERM ITX to my wife's machine and tried again. Same lockup.

Century asked that I export my settings and with that, they were able to see the problem. It actually wasn't Filepro; hitting a function key would do the same lockup. Further testing showed that it was confined to SSH and it ultimately turned out to be an obscure SSH bug. They fixed it within a few days and sent me a new version to try.

That worked perfectly - no lockup, no Filepro glitches, no scoansi problems. Perfect..

Well, not perfect

The picture below shows TinyTERM ITX next to Mac Terminal. Notice the screen edges - Terminal leaves a small margin, TinyTERM ITX does not. Yes, that's not a functional issue, but it is annoying and not polished. I'm sure that's easy to fix and I'm sure they WILL fix it.

TinyTERM ITX and Mac Terminal

Update: fixed as of June 7th - five pixel margin left and right, two pixels top and bottom.

Preferences??

When I finished up with that Filepro work, I went back into TinyTERM ITX to make a connection to my web site, Where's "New Connection"? Hmmm..

They put it in Preferences!

That is so wrong.. connection lists are not preferences. Thay's very un-Mac.

There's something else wrong in the defining connections area. Notice the tabs in this picture for Emulation, Attributes and so on..

TinyTERM ITX and Mac Terminal

If you are using a track pad or Magic Mouse, the slightest left or right movement will shift you to another tab. That's bad, because it is unexpected - it's why Apple and most everyone else ignores sideways gestures except in places where you expect it to work. This is not such a place; I hope they realize that soon.

Cut and Paste

Oops. Big mistake here. The Cut and Paste requires SHIFT-Command-C and SHIFT-Command V. Every other Mac app uses the unshifted keys, making this very confusing and clumsy. Worse, the ability to drag a block of selected text into the window won't work either.

Fixed as of June 7th. Normal Mac cust and paste.

QT at fault

Century has informed me that everything except the lack of margins and the use of Preferences for new connections comes from their use of QT. They agree these things are undesirable and say they will fix them, but of course it will take time..

So?

Well, except for the cut and paste (which wouldn't be an issue on Linux), those complaints are minor and mostly cosmetic. The terminal emulation is accurate in my testing and Century has a long and well deserved reputation for terminal emulators.

I would like to see it have multiple windows or tabs and also I wish it would use TextExpander and add a user specified scroll-back buffer, but again those are minor things. This is Version 1.0; it will improve. If you have been patiently waiting for Mac terminal emulation, it is here.

June update

As noted above, this update added margins and corrected the cut/paste issue. It also does screen resizing differently. Shown below are Terminal and TinyTERM ITX side by side after resizing by dragging. I like the way they do this.

TinyTERM ITX and Mac Terminal resized



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