How to install and customize the Kitty terminal emulator on Linux

Kitty is a versatile, snappy GPU-powered terminal emulator for Linux. It’s highly customizable and an excellent alternative for those on Linux who are not happy with the stock terminal apps that come with popular desktop environments. In this guide, we’ll show you how to install Kitty and customize it too. 

how to install and customize the kitty terminal emulator on How to install and customize the Kitty terminal emulator on Linux

Installing the Kitty terminal emulator on Linux

The Kitty emulator is widely available to all Linux users. From Ubuntu to OpenSUSE, you’ll be able to get Kitty set up and installed without any issues. To start the installation process on your Linux computer, launch a terminal window.

Once the terminal window is open and ready to use, follow along with the command-line installation instructions outlined below that corresponds with the Linux operating system you currently use.

Ubuntu

Since Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, the Kitty terminal emulator has been installable on the Ubuntu platform (Linux OSes based upon Ubuntu). To install the app on your Linux PC, start by enabling the “Universe” software repository.

To enable the Ubuntu “Universe” software repository, make use of the following add-apt-repository command. 

sudo add-apt-repository universe

After adding the new repository to your Ubuntu system, execute the update command to refresh your software sources.

sudo apt update

Finally, you can install the Kitty terminal emulator on your Ubuntu Linux PC using the Apt command below.

sudo apt install kitty

Debian

Debian 10 and 11, as well as Sid, have the Kitty terminal emulator available for installation. To start the installation on your computer, you must upgrade to at least Debian 10 and enter the Apt-get command below to get the app working.

sudo apt-get install kitty

Arch Linux

On Arch Linux, the Kitty emulator is available for installation in two methods: through the official “Community” software repository and the Arch Linux AUR. We’ll cover both.

To install the Kitty terminal emulator directly from the “Community” software repo, use the following Pacman command. However, keep in mind that you must have the “Community” software repo enabled in the /etc/pacman.conf file for the command to work.

sudo pacman -S kitty

To get Kitty via the AUR, you will need to make use of Trizen. To get Trizen, use the commands below.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/trizen.git cd trizen makepkg -sri

Install the Kitty terminal emulator with:

trizen -S kitty-git

Fedora

On every Fedora Linux release, the Kitty terminal emulator is installable through the default Fedora software repositories. To install, execute the following Dnf installation command.

sudo dnf install kitty

OpenSUSE

If you’re using OpenSUSE and want to use the Kitty terminal emulator, you will need to ensure you are using LEAP 15.2 or Tumbleweed’s latest release. Once you’ve figured that out, you’ll be able to install the app with the following Zypper command.

sudo zypper install kitty

Customizing Kitty

The Kitty terminal emulator’s customization is done through a configuration file, rather than a built-in UI like other terminal apps on Linux. As a result, you have much more control. In this section, we’ll go over some very basic customization options you can do.

To start the customization, you will need to create a new configuration file for your user. Keep in mind that this configuration file will need to exist for each user who wants to customize Kitty’s look.

To create the configuration file, make use of the following mkdir and touch commands.

mkdir -p ~/.config/kitty/
touch ~/.config/kitty/kitty.conf

Once you’ve made the new configuration file on your Linux system, open it up for editing purposes using the Nano editor with the command below.

how to install and customize the kitty terminal emulator on linux 1 How to install and customize the Kitty terminal emulator on Linux

nano -w ~/.config/kitty/kitty.conf

With the config file open, we can start customization. The most apparent customization to make is font size. By default, Kitty is using a tiny font. Use the font_size code below to specify how big you want the font.

font_size 13.0

The next thing to customize is the text color. By default, Kitty uses white (AKA #ffffff). You can change the text color to whatever you want by adding a color hex code after foreground in the config file.

foreground #YOUR-COLOR-HERE

Another thing you can customize in Kitty is the background color. By default, the terminal background color is black. Many people like the color black, and many others don’t. You can change it to any color you like by adding a color hex code after background in the config file.

background #YOUR-COLOR-HERE

After adding those three customizations to your Kitty config file, it should look like the example below.

how to install and customize the kitty terminal emulator on linux 2 How to install and customize the Kitty terminal emulator on Linux

font_size 13.0 foreground #YOUR-COLOR-HERE background #YOUR-COLOR-HERE

At this point, you can save the edits by pressing Ctrl + O on the keyboard. Or, you can add more customization options to your Kitty configuration file by visiting the Kitty website. They have tons of information on what you can do to make your Kitty terminal your own!

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