Correct as of Eterm 0.8.9 (current version is 0.9.4)

Eterm blows away most other terminals. Simply stated, Eterm kicks some major ass. The people responsible for Eterm are Michael Jennings (KainX on IRC) and Tuomo Venäläinen (vendu on IRC). Michael Jennings used to work for the venerable VA Linux Systems, before the company imploded. You can download Eterm from the official website,

There's an Eterm Reference Manual, but it's mainly for escape sequences, mouse reporting, pixmap/menubar escape sequences, etc.

First, you should know that the environment variable ETERMPATH points to all the directories containing pics which are to be used by Eterm. So if you're using bash and you have some groovy pictures located in /usr/local/mypics/ that you want Eterm to display, the first step would be to include the following line in your bash configuration files:

export ETERMPATH=$ETERMPATH:/usr/local/disgusting_porn

Eterm displays picture files in one of two ways. First, when you start up an Eterm, it displays a picture automagically. Secondly, you can choose a picture file to display by hitting Eterm | Background | Pixmap | Tiled for tiled patterns or Eterm | Background | Pixmap | Scaled for a scaled picture. The Eterm button is in the upper left corner and says `Eterm' on it.

First I'll describe how Eterm chooses a picture file to display automatically upon starting. In /usr/share/Eterm/pix (which is symlinked to both /usr/share/Eterm/themes/Eterm and /usr/share/Eterm/themes/chooser) there's a file called pixmaps.list with a format of:

for tiled patterns:

" 0  0  backwave.jpg"
" 0  0  button5.jpg"
" 0  0  circuit.png"
" 0  0  nebula.jpg"

for scaled pictures:

"-1 -1  fourthday.jpg"
"-1 -1  gaia.jpg"
"-1 -1  galleon.jpg"
"-1 -1  night_of_the_dragon.jpg"
"-1 -1 Bladerunner-bg.png"
"-1 -1 Building.jpg"

This list is used by Eterm to automatically show backgrounds when you start an Eterm. If you ever start an Eterm and have the background image as simply a black screen, it means that there's an entry in this file that points to a picture file that doesn't exist. You have two options To find out which picture Eterm had tried to load (but failed):

  1. Switch to the virtual console which you started X from and you'll see an error message which looks something like:
    Warning: Eterm couldn't find file missing_pic.jpg
  2. The Eterm menu button: Hit Eterm | Status and you'll see the the name of the missing picture file in the upper Eterm border.

If the picture actually does exist on your system, you need to make sure that:

  1. The environment variable ETERMPATH points to the directory in which the missing picture file is located.
  2. The name of the file isn't mispelled in the file pixmaps.list.

On the other hand, if the picture file really doesn't exist on your system you can either try to find it and put it in one of the directories pointed to by the environment variable ETERMPATH or simply delete its entry from pixmaps.list.

Note that when you get Eterm `out of the box', there are some entries in pixmaps.list which don't come with Eterm! This means that you WILL get the blackscreen every so often. If you go to the Eterm website, you'll find that there are 2 or 3 tarballs of just picture files. You need to download these and install them to directories pointed to by ETERMPATH to make sure that all the entries in pixmaps.list exist on your system.

The actual menu that you see when you hit the Eterm button to choose a different background is configured by /usr/share/Eterm/themes/chooser/ A typical example of a tiled entry is:

   {Gray Waves}            ^@\e]10;[pixmap:gray_waves.png;0x0+50+50]

and a typical example of a scaled entry is:

   {Alien Spheres}            ^@\e]20;alien_spheres.jpg;100x100+50+50\a

If you find that there are scaled or tiled pics that you have but aren't in your Eterm chooser menu, you can use this file to make them appear. Suppose you have a tiled pattern pretty_pattern.png located in /usr/local/share/Eterm/bg/tile and a scaled pattern called pretty_picture.jpg located in /usr/local/share/Eterm/bg/scale but don't appear in the Eterm menu. Fire up vi /usr/share/Eterm/themes/chooser/ (or whatever editor you use) and make two copies of a tiled entry and two copies of a scaled entry:

{Gray Waves}      ^@\e]10;[pixmap:gray_waves.png;0x0+50+50]
{Gray Waves}      ^@\e]10;[pixmap:gray_waves.png;0x0+50+50]
{Alien Spheres}   ^@\e]20;alien_spheres.jpg;100x100+50+50\a
{Alien Spheres}   ^@\e]20;alien_spheres.jpg;100x100+50+50\a

and change the two appropriate strings in each line:

{Gray Waves}      ^@\e]10;[pixmap:gray_waves.png;0x0+50+50]
{Pretty Pattern}  ^@\e]10;[pixmap:pretty_pattern.png;0x0+50+50]
{Alien Spheres}   ^@\e]20;alien_spheres.jpg;100x100+50+50\a
{Pretty Picture}  ^@\e]20;pretty_picture.jpg;100x100+50+50\a

Fire up an Eterm, hit Eterm | Background | Pixmap | tiled (or scaled) and you'll see your new pictures in the menu! Also, make sure that the directories /usr/local/share/Eterm/bg/tile and /usr/local/share/Eterm/bg/scale (or wherever the new pictures are located) are in your $ETERMPATH.