konsole is faster than xterm

I was scrolling through Planet KDE when I saw this post by Kurt Pfeifle. He was saying exactly this:

So we were both very surprised. to see konsole not only being close to xterm’s performance, but being more than double as efficient!

Since I hear a lot of people praising xterm, and since I use konsole on the daily basis, I decide to see if what Kurt says actually works for me. The moment I started konsole and xterm together, I noticed that I have one additional area of interest – background transparency. I am using konsole’s “Transparent, Dark Background” scheme, so I wanted to see if that slows me down by any considerable time compared to the plain setup.

The results for time ls -lar /dev:

  • xterm (black on white): real: 0m0.141s, user: 0m0.023s, sys: 0m0.018s
  • konsole (black on white): real: 0m0.098s, user: 0m0.028s, sys: 0m0.015s
  • konsole (transparent, dark background): real: 0m0.103s, user: 0m0.020s, sys: 0m0.024s

The results for time cat /usr/share/dict/words:

  • xterm (black on white): real: 0m35.306s, user: 0m0.019s, sys: 0m0.512s
  • konsole (black on white): real: 0m24.455s, user: 0m0.011s, sys: 0m0.512s
  • konsole (transparent, dark background): real: 0m25.232s, user: 0m0.009s, sys: 0m0.547s

I ran the commands a few times in all the terminals and the relation stayed the same, but the number fluctuated a bit, as usual.


  1. While transparency slows down konsole a bit, the change is minor and can be ignored.
  2. konsole is in fact significantly faster than xterm. Both with and without background transparency.

I switched to konsole a long time ago, because it was more feature rich for me. Tabs, signal notifications, color schemes, bookmarks, and cutomizable shortcuts – I was using all of them. It also integrates nicely with the rest of the KDE desktop. It is nice to see that KDE is getting faster and richer with features. It is even nicer to see how it outperforms the de facto standard applications. Go, KDE, go!

2 thoughts on “konsole is faster than xterm”

  1. Hey, just found this post randomly on a search for Konsole. I’ve just discovered Knoppix (been a BSD user for years and I love Konsole — only thing is I wish it supported transparency in the sense that you could see applications beneath it, instead of just windowing to the desktop.

    Or can it, and I’m just doing something wrong?

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