Boing Boing: OS X terminal app mimics old-timey glass teletype

Boing Boing reports on GLTerminal, a program to emulate an old video terminal (green or amber screen, text only, with various commonly seen screen distortions).

It looks pretty cool. The article says that people are hacking on it, but even with Google I can’t seem to find the source code. Anybody know where it can be found?


I emailed the author, and got back a reply very quickly. Not only is it not open source, but it was not intended for the public, and was leaked by someone who shouldn’t have. The author is understandably unhappy about that. He said that he may release a cleaned up version someday. It wouldn’t be open source, but there would be an interface for third-party rendering plugins. It didn’t sound like it was a high priority, so don’t hold your breath.


Video Display Terminals (VDTs) were commonly used to replace Teletypes and other similar printing terminas. Thus they were sometimes known as “glass teletypes”. There was at least one actual Teletype brand VDT, the Teletype Model 40, but the phrase generally referred to any VDT.

Various operating systems, particularly those from DEC, referred to devices by three character abbreviations, and terminals were known as TTYs, an abbrevation of Teletype. In conversation between programmers, it was common to pronounce the abbreviaton as “titty”. Since VDTs were used as a functional replacement for a teletype, the OS device name was still TTY, so they were known as a “glass TTY”, or “glass titty”.

This entry was posted in Blog/website/news comments, Retrocomputing, Software. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply