For our May “Community Choice” Project of the Month, the community elected ConEmu, a Windows Console Emulator with Far Manager plugins. ConEmu’s main developer, Maximus, shared his thoughts about the project’s history, purpose, and direction.
SourceForge (SF): Tell me about the ConEmu project please.
Maximus: The goal of the ConEmu project is to bring to the Windows world a handy and reliable terminal application, in other words, a better console window to boost user productivity.
SF: What made you start this?
Maximus: The alternatives were either too bare, proprietary, or nearly abandoned. Anyway they did not fit my expectations or requirements so I forked the project.
SF: Has the original vision been achieved?
Maximus: I hope so. Of course there is much to do yet, but ConEmu can be used on daily basis and it can greatly improve the console experience.
SF: Who can benefit the most from your project?
Maximus: Anyone who uses command line daily; developers and administrators are the general target audience.
SF: What is the need for this Windows console emulator with Far Manager plugins?
Maximus: ConEmu was initially created as a Far Manager companion or a kind of graphical interface for the old school but oft-used two-panel, console file manager. It’s my favorite ‘shell’ actually. ConEmu gives to Far many “nifties” like visualizing Far editors and viewers with tabs, dragging files and folders, customizing panels with background images and more. Plugins do all the magic.
SF: What’s the best way to get the most out of using ConEmu?
Maximus: According to one user, ‘It seems like every time I think it would be nice if ConEmu did something, I’ll find that option if I search for it’. So, if you can’t find what you need, just go to the ConEmu website and check out the documentation. There are also many answers on StackOverflow.com and SuperUser.com too.
SF: What has your project team done to help build and nurture your community?
Maximus: We are trying to release reliable software and provide good support to our users by maintaining thorough documentation.
SF: Have you all found that more frequent releases help build up your community of users?
Maximus: Yes, why should a user have to wait weeks or months for a new release? We believe in good support, especially if something can be fixed or implemented in minutes and delivered to users ASAP.
SF: What was the first big thing that happened for your project?
Maximus: I think the blog-post of Scott Hanselman added much to ConEmu fame worldwide.
SF: What helped make that happen?
Maximus: At that moment ConEmu was already a neat and handy project with many practical features, so Scott noticed them and let thousands of his followers recognize this new terminal application.
SF: What was the net result for that event?
Maximus: A large augmentation in our download count! Seriously, ConEmu became much more notable and known.
SF: What is the next big thing for ConEmu?
Maximus: The project is mature enough but there are a lot of interesting suggestions waiting to be implemented and there is a RoadMap. However, if we take a moment to dream about good fortune, it would be nice to see ConEmu bundled with environments like Git or MinGW. That would be a real acknowledgement.
SF: How long do you think that will take?
Maximus: I can’t tell. We strive to make a great product but people don’t necessarily think that handy terminal is a necessity, even if they use the console environment daily. They still can’t imagine how ConEmu may improve their day-to-day productivity.
SF: What resources do you need to make that happen?
Maximus: That does not depend on ConEmu team alone, we are a live open source project available to anyone. But raising ConEmu’s popularity helps, like being the SourceForge project of the month!
SF: If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently for ConEmu?
Maximus: Well, I would start it much earlier.
Maximus: With more years of development ConEmu would be more powerful now.
SF: Any reason you can’t do that now?
Maximus: There is no time machine unfortunately. 😉
SF: Is there anything else we should know?
Maximus: That’s it for now, please visit our website for more information and have a happy command line experience!
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