Some non-default terminals have got extra features like splitting window etc. We can always use those terminals without uninstalling the original one but is there a way to remove the original one?

EDIT-Some comments say that it is not advisable to remove the gnome Terminal. What can be the repercussions?

  • 1
    why do you want to remove the original one? keep the original and install what others you want. Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 9:05
  • @KasiyA I don't wanna waste disk space on things which I might never use. Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 9:45

3 Answers 3


I wouldn't remove it. Given it is the default terminal emulator for the Unity/Gnome desktop environment, there could be some obscure program/script that use it unconditionally and you'll have an error (probably two years from now when you didn't remember what can have caused it).

The preferred way is:

  1. Install the new terminal emulator, for example

    sudo apt-get install terminator
  2. Set the update-alternative method to choose it:

    [romano:~/tmp] % sudo update-alternatives --config x-terminal-emulator
    There are 8 choices for the alternative x-terminal-emulator (providing /usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator).
      Selection    Path                             Priority   Status
    * 0            /usr/bin/terminator               50        auto mode
      1            /usr/bin/gnome-terminal.wrapper   40        manual mode
      2            /usr/bin/koi8rxterm               20        manual mode
      3            /usr/bin/lxterm                   30        manual mode
      4            /usr/bin/rxvt-xpm                 8         manual mode
      5            /usr/bin/rxvt-xterm               10        manual mode
      6            /usr/bin/terminator               50        manual mode
      7            /usr/bin/uxterm                   20        manual mode
      8            /usr/bin/xterm                    20        manual mode
    Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number:

...and that should be it. If you have probelms, you can look here: How can I set default terminal used in Unity?

Notice however that there is a bug/misfeature of the underlying library that makes that all the things that use the "open in terminal" will not respect the selection above. The bug was reported and acknowledged in 2010, there is a patch available, but it's still here. I wouldn't hold my breath for a fix.

A system-wide workaround could be to remove the gnome-terminal binary and replace it with a link to x-terminal-emulator --- should work most of the time...

Alternatively, you you have in your PATH the $HOME/bin directory before /usr/bin (as everyone has, I suppose) you can simply ln -s /usr/bin/terminator $HOME/bin/ (no privileges required) and glib will happily use the link instead of the real gnome-terminal.

  • +1 The last alternative worked for me after a restart/logout. This was the most "non-destructive" solution for this problem. Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 18:59

Yes, there are a few methods to remove the terminal. You can use the Software Centre, and search for Terminal, then uninstall it.

Alternatively, you can use a terminal application (like Guake or Terminator, for example) to remove the original with this command:

sudo apt-get remove gnome-terminal

Simple as that!

Hope this helps.

  • 3
    I really wouldn't do it. gnome-terminal is the default terminal for both Unity and Gnome, and it's supposed to be there. It will bite you sometime in unexpected ways. Just add the other terminals and use the update-alternatives method to select the one you want by default.
    – Rmano
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 9:28
  • @Rmano can you explain update-alternatives method? Sorry if I am naive, I am a newbie. Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 9:42
  • When I had ( accidentally ) broke unity , I have removed gnome-terminal among many other things, and it somehow automatically switched to sakura , even the ctrl + alt + T. I definitely wouldn't remove it just for the sake of experimentation but my experience suggestions it should be safe enough for the system and it automatically should switch to next available terminal Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 8:17

Probably best not to remove (as in uninstall) the default terminal (Gnome) ;

probably best to install the new terminal emulator application, and then change the preferences in Unity to set the new one as the default.

From here, here, and here, and my own experience

sudo update-alternatives --config x-terminal-emulator

seems to work to set the default terminal emulator application in Unity and in Lubuntu.

  • Suggestion: Expand the second paragraph by including a screenshot, to explain how "change the preferences in Unity" is done via GUI. So far I have not seen such answer yet.
    – user37165
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 7:36

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