New Guake Drop-Down Terminal PPA (Ubuntu And Linux Mint Installation)

Guake terminal

Guake is a drop-down terminal for the GNOME desktop which includes split terminal functionality, session save/restore, support for transparency, and many other features.

Seeing that Ubuntu has quite outdated Guake versions (3.4.0 for Ubuntu 19.04, and 3.0.5 for Ubuntu 18.04, while the latest Guake version is 3.6.3), and creating a Launchpad PPA for the latest Guake releases is the most requested "feature", I created a Guake APT PPA for Ubuntu 19.04, 18.10 and 18.04. Ideally Guake should be packaged as a Snap or Flatpak package, so it can be installed on many other Linux distributions, but I don't have experience with those types of packages.

The PPA also works in Linux Mint 19.x, and any other Linux distributions based on Ubuntu (18.04-19.04).

You can see what's new in recent Guake releases by visiting its project page.

Guake drop-down terminal


Guake is inspired by the famous Quake console - the terminal stays hidden until you press a key (default is F12). Execute a command, then press the same key again to hide the terminal, going back to your previous task without breaking your workflow.

Main Guake features:

  • Drop-down terminal, is shown or hidden with a keyboard shortcut (can also automatically hide when it loses focus)
  • Supports tabs that can be renamed
  • Multi-monitor support (you can set it to a monitor, or you can have it appear on the display where the mouse is)
  • Split terminal functionality (have multiple vertical and horizontal terminals in the same window)
  • Quick open: click a file in the terminal output to open it with your favorite text editor
  • Session save/restore (by default it saves your previous session and restores it the next time you run Guake), as well as settings export and import
  • Workspace-specific tab sets (show a different tab set depending on current workspace). This only works on X11
  • Search in current terminal (Ctrl + Shift + F)
  • Many customization options: configure the window width, height and alignment, show the tabs at the top or bottom, set the window transparency, and more.
  • More than 130 built-in color palettes

Related: Tilix: The Almost Perfect Tiling GTK+ 3 Terminal Emulator

Installing and using Guake


I created this PPA for Guake only, so no other packages are in the PPA. That means no other packages on your system are upgraded, and you can easily purge the PPA if you want to downgrade Guake to the version you had installed previously.

Use this to add the PPA and install the latest Guake in Ubuntu 18.04, 18.10 or 19.04, and Linux Mint 19.x:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linuxuprising/guake
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt install guake

Guake starts hidden by default, so the first time you run it you won't see any terminal window.

Press F12 to show the Guake window if you're using X11 (this can be changed in the Guake Preferences). On Wayland, you'll need to create a custom keyboard shortcut for the guake -t command (-t toggles the visibility of the terminal window).

E.g. on Gnome, go to System Settings -> Keyboard, scroll down to the bottom, and click the + button to create a new shortcut. Use guake -t as the command, and assign a shortcut, like F12 for example.

Guake General preferences

Guake Main Window preferences

A few settings you may want to change:

  • Guake has an option to automatically start (hidden) on login, so yo don't have to launch it manually. Enable it from its Preferences, on the General tab (enable the Start Guake at login option)
  • If you want the Guake window to hide automatically when you focus another window, open the Guake Preferences, and enable Hide on lose focus on the Main Window tab
  • In some cases on multi-monitor setups with a dock on the left or right of the screen, like it's the case with the default Ubuntu Dock, Guake may be shown behind the dock, or extend slightly to the other screen. A solution for this is to set the Guake window width to less than 100% (Preferences -> Main Window -> Geometry at the bottom of the window)
  • Newer Guake versions support using a custom GTK theme (as well as preferring dark theme). Choose the theme you want Guake to use from Preferences -> General -> Gtk theme

Reverting Guake to the default Ubuntu-provided Guake version


Don't want to use the Guake version from this PPA any more? No problem, you can purge the PPA and downgrade Guake to the Ubuntu / Linux Mint provided version:

  • Ubuntu:
sudo apt install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:linuxuprising/guake

  • Linux Mint (19.x):
sudo apt install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge -d bionic ppa:linuxuprising/guake