Looking for a good color set (background/font) for Xterm, drastically different from "standard" light on dark combos

by DVK   Last Updated May 16, 2019 02:16 AM

My task: I need to set up standard colors for Xterms for a large set of users in a company. The requirements are:

  • There are four types of Xterms (Development, Production, External Client, and Multiclient).

  • Production Xterm is green text on black background (think Matrix :)

  • External client Xterm was decided to be yellow on darkish blue. It's easily distinguishable from black/green Production palette, but still dark-background, signifying production context.

  • Multi-client is some weird light-on-dark combination, of no specific significance other than it is different from either production or External client but also light-on-dark.

Challenge: I need to decide on the text and background colors for Development Xterm.


  1. First, it needs to be drastically different from Production and Client ones, strongly preferred to be light background

  2. On the other hand, contradictory, software developers (of which probably 1/3 or even 1/2 Xterm users are), have to spend a LOT of time in Development Xterm; which means that the colors picked must be

    • Easy to read

    • Not cause eyestrain from long staring at

    • Preferably, be at least not heavily widely displeasing (that's subjective, but it's generally understood that - for example - green on red is ugly, even leaving aside color blind user issues).

    The problem being, of course, that the best palette choices to satisfy these constraints are dark background with light text, which generally conflict with consideration #1 (not obviously different enough from production type Xterms which all have dark background theme going).

Originally I chose black on light blue, but there were numerous complaint that light blue background (#51 in table below) was too bright and hard on the eyes.

The color choice is a standard 256 color ANSI color set:

enter image description here

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