When using the GNOME Terminal, if I try to create a new tab, or use "C+tab" to cycle to a new one, the terminal will take up to five full seconds to change. This seems to occur whether using ZSH or Bash. Has anyone run into this issue? Or, does anyone know how to get debugging information from this?

5 Answers 5


I have the exact same problem. It doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen a majority of the time and I hate it. Also, text prints very slowly in the terminal. So if I print out a large number of characters, the terminal spits it out in jumps and increments. It's very laggy. This is a major issue.

UPDATE: I press alt-f2, then hit "r" to reset Gnome. Your session remains intact, but it reboots Gnome, and then my terminals work very nicely...so this is a memory leak or bug in Gnome.

  • Ah, thank you. It may not be a solution, but it's a great workaround.
    – Julian
    Oct 26, 2012 at 3:57
  • has that bug been reported? I'm still bitten by this in march 2013.
    – cweiske
    Mar 12, 2013 at 19:19

I have not experienced this issue. You may want to try an alternative terminal emulator such as xterm or uxterm.


  • 1
    Is there anything that compares X Window Terminals? I definitely will scroll up in Gnome-Terminal, and I use a transparent background so I can read documentation while typing in the window.
    – damon
    Oct 24, 2011 at 21:58
  • 2
    So I ended up settling with Terminator. Thanks for your help.
    – damon
    Oct 25, 2011 at 14:36

Do you use NVIDIA drivers? Then you might be affected an bug in the driver. The new 295.20 release states a potential fix:

Fixed a bug that could cause some OpenGL applications (including desktop environments like KDE and GNOME Shell) to hang.

EDIT: An more in-depth discussion if found at: https://askubuntu.com/questions/78237/unity-3d-with-nvidia-driver-becomes-very-slow-and-laggy

  • I do use nvidia drivers fwiw. The answer you link to was removed unfortunately.
    – Julian
    Oct 26, 2012 at 3:59
  • Indeed I also notice it being something of Nvidia. On my other system (which has AMD graphics) I see no slowness. Mar 17, 2016 at 9:01

I have found terminator, my favorite term, has the same problem creating or switching tabs. It makes Gnome 3 unusable. I usually have somewhere in the range of 4 or 5 tabs of console open with each one possibly split many times. Sometimes creating new tabs causes the entire Gnome 3 UI to freeze, and the only way to get back in is restart gdm from one of the actual consoles (ctrl+alt+f1)


GNOME terminal is also slow for me. From the Wikipedia list the fastest of what I tested was evilvte. That one seems to go all the way to the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of leaving out as many features as possible. (Whereas I sense that GNOME terminal chooses to be quite featureful.)

The other fast alternative for me is to use the virtual terminal. If you hit any of Ctrl+Alt+F6 through Ctrl+Alt+F1 you will get a minimal, quick console interface. Striking Ctrl+Alt+F7 returns you to the usual graphical interface with windows and such.

Combining those virtual terminals with tmux (a GNU screen replacement) has been helpful for me. In tmux it's Ctrl+b, Ctrl+c to open a new window, Ctrl+b, Ctrl+% to split the screen into two frames, each with its own terminal interface, and Ctrl+b, Ctrl+x to close a frame.

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