Application of the Month: Konsole

As part of the March 2004 issue
of the "Application of the month" series on, Andreas C. Diekmann
has interviewed Lars Doelle, author of
Konsole. Konsole is what is known as an X terminal emulator and gives you the equivalent of an old-fashioned text screen on your desktop, but one which can
easily share the screen with your graphical applications. The Dutch KDE website is
offering an English translation of the interview
and the overview of this issue. Many thanks to Tom Verbreyt and Wilbert Berendsen for their help in translating this issue.


Konsole is a great app and by far the best terminal emulator I have ever seen, but I never understood why I can't use the CTRL+T shortcut to open a new tab. I just get a visual bell signal, although I have assigned it in the options.

I thought it might be blocked because ctrl+t would be a bash shortcut (like ctrl+d is for instance), but it works in gnome-terminal

By fl at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

Ctrl+T is the readline (emacs mode) binding for transpose character.

By Will Newton at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

You can use Ctrl-N or Ctrl-Alt-N to open a new tab. It's one or the other, just can't remember which. This shortcut has been available for quite some time.

As an added bonus, you can hold down the Shift key and press the right and left arrow keys to navigate the tabs, similar to holding Alt and pressing left and right to navigate virtual consoles.

By Jared at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

Ctrl-Shift-N or similar. This is why I still prefer multi-gnome-terminal as terminal emulator: key-chains. Press Ctrl+L and any letter to perform action, no chords, no problems.

By m. at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

KDE in general supports key-chains (labelled multi-key mode) too, it's just not working in Konsole with Ctrl (#61667).

By Anonymous at Tue, 2004/03/23 - 6:00am


By m. at Tue, 2004/03/23 - 6:00am


does the trick.

By cascadefx at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

Hold down CTRL+SHIFT and press the left/right arrow keys to rearrange the order of the tabs.

By Mike at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

Or use middle mouse button.

By Anonymous at Tue, 2004/03/23 - 6:00am

The cvs digest said this was added this week.

By John Tapsell at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

To konqueror. Not to konsole.

By Leo Savernik at Wed, 2004/03/24 - 6:00am

I know it's off topic, but I don't know where to look for information. The Spanish KDE website (KDE Hispano,, is down (ans has been down for about a week now). Does anyone have any news on this?

By j00z at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

It's back online now.

By Anonymous at Wed, 2004/04/14 - 5:00am

I can't even imagine my life without using konsole ;-). It brought so much sanity to my everyday work. I always keep several shells open: one for root, two or three in different projects I am working on, one on a remote machine, etc. I switch back and forth, change fonts if needed, etc. Lovely app.

Cheers !

By MandrakeUser at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

I you like Konsole, you should give "screen" a try someday... it has too many features to list here, but it's enough to say that it is the most underrated unix utility there ever was.

By Pedro at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

imo screen lacks a feature for easy scrolling. Shift+PgUp/PgDn is much more convenient.

By Dominic at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

screen keeps a configurable number of lines in each virtual terminal buffer. You can see previous screensful by typing "^Z[esc]" (thus entering copy-mode), and using your page-up, page-down, up ,and down keys. Press any non-copy-mode key ("Z" works) to go back to normal mode.

I'll note that I use screen *with* konsole. One ssh session in konsole per host, each with its own screen session.


By Chris Goldman at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

Same here ... recursive screen's gets a little hard to use ...

By Pedro at Tue, 2004/03/23 - 6:00am

Yes, but Shift + Page Up/Down is much, much easier :) The following line in ~/.screenrc does the trick for me:

termcapinfo xterm [email protected]:[email protected]

By Gaute Hvoslef K... at Tue, 2004/03/23 - 6:00am

Very nice, thank you.

By Dominic at Tue, 2004/03/23 - 6:00am

Super cool.
That even makes the mouse scroll work in screen.


By Bruce Edge at Thu, 2006/03/23 - 6:00am

Is it possible that Lars contributed to Konsole last time in 9/2000 (

By Anonymous at Tue, 2004/03/23 - 6:00am

I use Konsole most of time. It is great! But I found that I don't see many features in my computer:

I don't have Bookmarks Menu in my Konsole. I don't have Settings->Save Sessions Profile...

I use RedHat 7.3. KDE 3.?

Thank you very much for your help

By xs at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

RedHat 7.3 shipped with KDE 3.0.0 which has its second anniversary next week.
Use a current KDE version and you will have the current feature set.

By Anonymous at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

you may type the following in a konsole to see what version you are running:

rpm -qa |grep kde

Or even simpler, go to " Help -> about " in any kde app (assuming RedHat didn't modified these help entries)

In the end, yes, you'll need to update both your OS and KDE version to have the latest features ...

By MandrakeUser at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

> In the end, yes, you'll need to update both your OS and KDE version to have the latest features ...

Why should he update his whole desktop environmen? He just needs one app updated.

-> Just download konsole and do "./configure; make; checkinstall"

Oh, wait, it's KDE! MandrakeUser is right, you have to update your whole desktop environment. That's one of the reasons, KDE has not jet reached 50% (unix) market share.

By Hans Chen at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

> Oh, wait, it's KDE! MandrakeUser is right, you have to update your whole
> desktop environment. That's one of the reasons, KDE has not jet reached 50%
> (unix) market share.

Uh Uh, I didn't mean any of these assertions. KDE is one of the two big Linux desktops, I understand it is the most popular but I couldn't care less. It just works great for me.

Now, you might be able to compile konsole by itself if your kdelibs' version is greater than 3. I am not sure though. However, I recommended upgrading the whole desktop environment simply because the original poster is certainly several features everywhere. And it is much faster and safer, at least in mandrake, to upgrade the whole kde than compiling stuff by yourself.

By MandrakeUser at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

This is not about KDE. It's a general fact that programs require the minimum version of libraries which offer the functionality they depend on. Troll elsewhere.

By Anonymous at Tue, 2004/03/23 - 6:00am

Konsole is a great application, and I use it quite extensively every day. However, one thing bugs me about it that I cannot seem to resolve. Prior to KDE 3.1, selecting (highlighting) text in Konsole would automatically copy it to the clipboard. From there, I could go to any other application, and use the Paste function to paste it (in addition to the standard X11 method of middle-clicking).

As of 3.1, however, this functionality was changed so that text is not automatically copied to the clipboard; you have to manually click Edit, Copy to be able to then use the Paste function in another application to copy/paste text. Yes, you can still middle-click, but this is often limiting (middle-clicking to paste text in a browser's URL bar, for example, is an awful experience - you highlight the text you want to copy/paste, click on the URL bar (which automatically highlights the current URL to delete it) and then you paste... the same URL that you already had loaded.)

I presume this change was made as a convenience, which I can understand, but I can't figure out any way to change it back. Basically, I'd like to do one of two things - either revert the behavior back to it's pre-3.1 style, or just be able to manually copy the text I have highlighted (eg., a hotkey sequence like Ctrl-C). I've tried the hotkey method before, but that didn't want to work for me either.

Any suggestions on this? Thanks.

By Jared at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

You can configure your very own shortcuts via the settings menu. Just don't use Ctrl-C, that's pretty much reserved in a console.

Also, you don't have to paste an URL in the address bar, just middle click somewhere in the browser window. Konqueror will then open the URL. Beats Ctrl-V hands down, in my opinion.

Cheers, Fogger

By Jan Felix Reuter at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

I found this link while trying to figure out why pasting something like this;


into konsole results in only


being pasted in.

This behavior sucks and I am at a loss to configure it away or even explain it.



By Steve Wray at Mon, 2004/09/13 - 5:00am

I like Konsole too. But I still do not know how to config the setting to make the copy/paste working.

I use WindowsXP, VNC, and Linux (VNC). I would like be able to copy/paste text between windows and Linux Konsole, also between Konsole in one VNC to another Konsole in another VNC.

My environment could copy/paste texts between windows and xterms. The text could also be copy/paste between xterm and Konsole in one VNC.

I would be appreciate that someone could give me a solution.

Best regards


By Jonathan Su at Sat, 2005/12/10 - 6:00am

The copy / paste works by adding two lines to xstartup:

/home/gnu/vnc-4.0/bin/vncconfig -nowin &
/home/utils/autocutsel-0.8.0/bin/autocutsel -selection PRIORITY &


By Jonathan Su at Fri, 2005/12/16 - 6:00am

Just to point out that you can select an URL and then middle-click it anywhere into a Konqueror window and it will load that page.
The same is truth to Mozilla.

By Ricardo Cruz at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

I think this is a setting in Klipper (assuming you're running it). Look in "configure Klipper...", and choose "Synchronise contents of the clipboard and the selection". This reverts to pre-3.1 behaviour (for me).


By martinc at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

"Synchronise contents of the clipboard and the selection" is an
additional feature that some people might want, but is not the
same as the pre-3.1 behavior. The klipper documentation explains
that X keeps it's own clipboard which is separate from klipper's
clipboard. The problem is that the new version of kde seems to
have disabled X's clipboard. I also am having this problem and
selecting "Synchronise contents of the clipboard and the selection"
doesn't fix the problem (even if it did, I still would prefer the
old behavior of having independent clipboards). Any help would
be greatly appreciated.

By Jon Gabrielson at Tue, 2004/03/30 - 6:00am

Ok, I figured it out. I disabled klipper and then restarted X
and now it works like pre-3.1

By Jon Gabrielson at Tue, 2004/03/30 - 6:00am

There's now an option in Klipper to synchronize copy and select. I was having the same problem, so I found this thread and just enabled it instead of quitting Klipper altogether.

By Archon810 at Thu, 2007/08/16 - 5:00am

Wow, great app, a black screen with text. Really cool guys.

I wonder why Konsole shows up as app of the month all the time,
are there only hackers voting?

By OI at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

I haven't noticed it being app of the month before.

I think you're ranting :-)

By jeremy at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

If you don't like white text on black background, change it! There are several predefined color schemes, including several transparent themes.

By David Johnson at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

How Proprietary! Predefined Schemes!
In the font menu, we can choose 'custom', but I'm sure glad we don't get the option in the Schema menu! Yup, I just love it when some programmer decides what we're allowed to customize and what we're not. We should all switch to Microsoft and vote CMD as the "Cool new application of the month"!

What if we don't like the four preconfigured transparent schemes we get? What if we want to make it fit in with our desktop? I guess we have to suffer, eh? Or vote for some OTHER console! Anybody ever tried ATerm?

By Chibix at Thu, 2004/08/05 - 5:00am

> What if we don't like the four preconfigured transparent schemes we get?

Create new ones with the scheme editor.

By Anonymous at Thu, 2004/08/05 - 5:00am

There are a huge number of indispensable utilities available in the command line. Nothing beats a shell for admin work, programming, etc. Nothing. Even Microsoft is enhancing their command line stuff. These users may be over represented right now among linux users. I don't hear them denigrating people for using and prefering graphical tools to draw pictures. Why have a heavy weight application when a simple lightweight shell utility works best?

For those who need it, Konsole is very nice.


By Derek Kite at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

A little further and maybe a rant.

In my work, among other things I maintain digital control systems for buildings and refrigeration plants. Invariably they come with some pretty graphical displays. Note I said maintain, not install. There is a reason for that. They are sold on the premise that pretty pictures will help the unskilled maintain their systems. I can't lie very well, so I can't sell them. But I digress. The graphical screens are inevitably useless for the technicians that maintain the systems. They only show things, maybe accurately, maybe not. To fix problems require white text on black, or the inverse. Changing configuration, reprogramming, etc. And what happens is the graphical screens, which are an expensive useless addon, get out of sync with what is happening in the system. We don't maintain them since the software to do so is hugely expensive and proprietary, and the customers can't see any payback anyways. So they end up being an expensive boat anchor.

Graphical programming is very expensive in resources, manpower and engineering. In some situations the costs are worth it. Most times they are not, especially with embedded controls with limited hardware. What that means is the graphical effort takes resources away from the basic and necessary stuff, like control algorithms, hardware design, etc. What we end up with is a pretty useless piece of junk.

So don't go ragging on command line tools. They work. That alone puts them above 95% of everything else. And when money is on the line, I'll go for what works. That way I may get paid for my effort.


By Derek Kite at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

I certainly don't think anyone was ragging on console-based tools, Derek. It is no doubt a valuable tool for many people.

By anon at Tue, 2004/03/23 - 6:00am

Expensive and proprietary to keep the graphical environment up to date? Jesus, sounds like Linux needs a lot of work. If they're such boat-anchors, maybe it's time to change the operating systems. You could go with a version that comes without X11, maybe? Maybe if all you GOT was white text on a black screen, They'd be less boat-anchory?

Then again, You never have problems with Microsoft Operating Systems getting "Out of Sync" with themselves, since the graphical environment Only Reflects what is true in the command-line.

Hey, Go with BeOS if you want something impressive, though. Then you don't have to worry about tools for graphical maintenance because the company's dead! They won't be MAKING any more tools! =D FUN!

By Chibix at Thu, 2004/08/05 - 5:00am

Heh, I love it, anybody who uses a command line is a 'hacker'. Perhaps you'd be more comfortable using Microsoft Bob.

Or Just wait until they come out with computers with only one button, that comes pre-pressed at the factory?

Or mabye you'd like to scrap the written word altogether and go back to crude cave paintings?

By Tom at Tue, 2004/03/23 - 6:00am

Does anyone know how to get konsole to set the last executed command to konsole's window title. For example issuing the command 'find /' would set the title as "[email protected]: find /" or for telnet sessions to other hosts like "[email protected]".

By larry at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am

It appears this can't be done (from bash, at least). The shell command that can be used to get the last command - fc -l - could potentially work, *except* that it appears the last command isn't entered into the history at the time the prompt is prepared. (Try setting PROMPT_COMMAND to "fc -ln|tail -1" - you'll see not the last command, but the one before that.)

The closest one can get is to put $_ in PS1; unfortunately this is only the last argument to the last command, so it only works if the command had no arguments. (i.e. for 'find / -name foo', you'd get just 'foo').


By Grant McDorman at Mon, 2004/03/22 - 6:00am