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Glossary » virtual terminal

virtual terminal

A virtual terminal defines a set of capabilities that an application working over a network can assume that a user has at the user’s local site. It responds to a network protocol that allows the specification of interactions with the user. A terminal can be a simple text terminal, a graphics terminal (like X Windows), or a multimedia terminal defining audio and video capabilities (to a limited extent, a Web browser fits this definition of a multimedia terminal).

One important advantage of terminal standards is that they give the application an abstraction for the terminal capabilities, and the terminal takes care of mapping requests (for drawing graphics, writing text, displaying video, etc.) to whatever kind of hardware and software is available.