When comparing Spacemacs vs iTerm2, the Slant community recommends iTerm2 for most people. In the question“What are the best developer tools for Mac OSX?” iTerm2 is ranked 2nd while Spacemacs is ranked 8th. The most important reason people chose iTerm2 is:
iTerm has autocomplete features built in. It remembers your past commands and when you are writing something on the terminal, simply pressing `Control-;` it will show you a drop down menu of suggestions from which to choose.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Combines the best parts of Vi and Emacs
Spacemacs combines the Emacs platform (with the full power of the Emacs plugin ecosystem) and the Vi keybindings (via EViL), all in the same box.
Pro Simple but powerful configuration architecture
At the heart of Spacemacs, the configuration layers group packages configuration into semantic units that can be toggled on and off. The architecture is simple but powerful, allowing the user to easily manage configuration dependencies between hundreds of packages.
Pro Community-driven configuration
Spacemacs is the biggest community-driven Emacs starter-kit.
Pro Above average documentation quality
Documentation is mandatory for each new configuration layer and can be accessed directly within the editor in Org format.
Emacs runs on Gnu/Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.
Pro Great support from the community
The community surrounding Spacemacs is very active and there is a welcoming gitter chat for users to ask questions.
Pro Completely configured out of the box
Stuff like version control, file management, good default theme are all configured out of the box.
Pro Mnemonic and consistent keybindings
Space-lead key bindings are organized in mnemonic namespaces. For instance, buffer actions are under
SPC b, file actions are under
SPC f, project actions are under
SPC p, search actions are under
SPC s, and so on. Keybindings are consistent across the whole distribution thanks to a set of conventions.
Pro Fast-paced development
New functionalities and fixes are added to Spacemacs every day, while release cycles are short.
Pro Lowers the risk of RSI by using the spacebar as leader
Spacemacs got its name from the fact that it is uses the space bar as a default leader key. The key was chosen because it is easy to press and to hopefully lower the risk of RSI.
Pro Gradual learning curve
Evil package is a first class citizen and Spacemacs embraces it from day one. Evil package allows Vim users to be productive very quickly while still allowing regular Emacs users to use Spacemacs.
Pro Can be controlled fully with the keyboard
There's no need to reach for the mouse again since Spacemacs can be fully controlled with keyboard.
Pro Manage many code bases easily
Pro Remote file editing
Files can be edited in Spacemacs remotely.
Pro Great note-taking and agenda "app" built-in
Allows for great organization applications that can be saved in future-proof format, plain text, can be integrated with LaTeX, markdown, HTML, Literate Programming and be committed to source control.
Pro Offers a number of practical features
Spacemacs has some great features for taking notes, tracking to-do lists, and tracking time.
Pro Works well with Common Lisp
Pro LaTeX support
LaTeX allows for auto-completion, syncing, and more.
Pro Can work in terminal mode
Sometimes you only have terminal access, over ssh or something.
Pro Manage R files easily
Pro Great CFEngine support
Syntax highlighting and org-babel extensions
Pro Autocomplete is built-in
iTerm has autocomplete features built in. It remembers your past commands and when you are writing something on the terminal, simply pressing
Control-; it will show you a drop down menu of suggestions from which to choose.
Pro Any key can be mapped to any function
Using the Preferences Menu you can set up hotkeys to map virtually any action you can think of to a single key or a combination of them. This is extremely helpful as it allows you to use shortcuts to edit commands you are typing in the terminal and while most terminal emulators have shortcuts for this sort of thing, few of them let you define your own.
Pro Fine tuning for fonts
It's possible to choose a font and adjust vertical and horizontal spacing.
Pro Extremely customizable
Other than being able to customize the various shortcuts, iTerm2 also lets you customize the colorscheme, font, transparency, etc.
Pro Can immediately open files inside a text editor
You can Ctrl+Click on a file path to open said file in a text editor.
Pro Complete out of the box
Unlike most terminal emulators, iTerm2 comes with a pretty complete set of features. It has built-in search, autocompletion, tabbed navigation, Growl support and even a built-in clipboard manager for various API keys and such.
Pro Active maintainers
Issues resolved fast by quality contributors.
Pro Supports mouse actions
Has support for mouse actions like clicking, dragging, selecting, etc.
Pro Works well with powerline fonts
Pro Works well with tmux
The great mouse and clipboard support that are built-in go really well with tmux.
Pro Split panes
Easy to split panes to either horizontal or vertical sections. Makes it easy to observe multiple console windows.
Pro Can be configured as a drop-down terminal
Can be configured to work as a drop down terminal like Quake.
Pro Supported by many applications as a terminal app selection
If an application has terminal integration, there is high probability it allows iTerm2 to be selected.
Pro Cmd+D to split plane vertically
Very handy to use multi-tab.
Pro Cmd+Shift+I to Input all
Wanna SSH your server from multiple tabs, here you go.
Pro Completely free and open source
iTerm2 is completely free and open source. It's released under the GPLv2 license.
Pro You only need to type in commands once
iTerm2 can store up to 4M of history of commands you already used. This, coupled with the built-in search features makes it possible to type a command only once and then search for it through the history for subsequent uses.
Con Can be quite glitchy at times
Spacemacs combines many packages from many different authors that were never designed to work together. Sometimes they interact in unexpected ways, and things randomly break as one package interferes with another's features. This combined with delayed auto-loading of packages in unpredictable order, different modes for different file types, frequent package updates, and necessary customization by selection of layers and packages, can make these glitches hard to reproduce. It takes a lot of emacs know-how to fix these problems. Fortunately there is a very active community willing to help with these problems, but it might take a while.
Con Functionality layers of complicated configuration
To configure Spacemacs, settings for Emacs/Evil/Spacemacs may need editing. It's not always clear which need to be changed or how to change settings globally: sometimes hooks are needed, other times Spacemacs provides options.
Con Slow startup time
Although configuration is heavily loaded, the starting time of Spacemacs is usually between two and five seconds. Emacs can be run as a daemon though which reduces the client's startup time to a few milliseconds.
Con High CPU and unresponsive at times
There are occasions when Spacemacs would suddenly consume a LOT of CPU and then other times would become completely unresponsive. This instability took place only 6 months or so ago. Restarting Spacemacs can fix it for a while but perhaps this issue is already fixed in newer versions.
Con Complex learning difficulty
You must be familiar with either Vim or Emacs. In addition, you should be familiar with the unique features of Spacemacs. The Layer concept of replacing Emacs settings is still difficult and abstract compared to modern editors.