• October 20, 2020

Home is What the Terminal Emulates

We’ve all been spending a lot of time at home lately. Many of us, as we live and work in our houses day-in, day-out, week after week, have found reasons to rearrange furniture, relocate hand towels and otherwise tune the environment to make it feel easier and more livable. To make it feel more like home.

Anyone with their hands on the keyboard of a mainframe, IBM i, or other centralized server knows exactly what home feels like. For most, touching the actual hardware directly was a rare experience, even before we were sent away from the data centers where they reside. These servers are accessed through emulators, as they have been for years. 

The very idea of an emulator feels pretty basic, actually. What’s to discuss? Why are you reading a blog about terminal emulation in 2020? Because getting the basics is the difference between a short-term rental and home: home feels right.

What makes a terminal emulator feel right?

  • The macros are right. Bonus points if they are easily imported from whatever you’re using now. Without them, the speed of operation drops to a crawl.
  • The custom session settings. In 1992, I recall spending hours configuring Windows 3.1 with each specific color for each specific part of the window and dialog box. The results were horrifying, but it was mine. Your terminal should look and feel like yours. 
  • Clickable areas within the terminal window. It may be a big powerful server, but you never know when you’ll need to click on an URL within your terminal window – and it’s a lot easier if that works.
  • Script recording. Record it once, execute it 100 times. A good emulator will actually make you faster at your job – and a lot less bored.

We’re actually currently working on a host of innovations—yes, innovation—in the terminal emulation space. What if your emulator could invoke more than just URLs? What if it could invoke applications, automatically? And what if it could run anywhere… in a browser, on the desktop, or in an open-source framework like Zowe? We’re interested in building solutions that improve on the familiarity of the terminal emulation space. 

Home has been around for a while. It feels hard to innovate on something so core and foundational. But, sometimes a fresh idea, a well-placed ottoman, or the right coffee maker can make home feel even more like home. Pull up a chair, grab your latte, and open up a terminal emulator that feels like it belongs.

Lilac Schoenbeck

Lilac Schoenbeck 5 Posts

Lilac Schoenbeck is the Vice President of Go-To-Market Strategy in the Power Systems Division at Rocket Software. With two decades of experience in enterprise software, data center technology and cloud, she focuses on the IBM i and IBM Power and how Rocket can best meet the unique needs of these core IT markets.

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