Microsoft Open Sources Terminal Chat
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Tuesday, 05 December 2023

Microsoft is making Terminal Chat, an AI feature for Windows Terminal that was announced at Microsoft's Build 2023 conference, open source.

The announcement at Build said that the new Chat feature means Windows Terminal users will be able to take advantage of natural language AI to recommend commands, explain errors and take actions within Windows Terminal. Microsoft says that since the announcement, they've been listening to customer feedback and "iterating on our AI chat experiments in Windows Terminal".

Terminal Chat is a feature in Windows Terminal Canary that allows the user to chat with an AI service to get intelligent suggestions (such as looking up a command or explaining an error message) while staying in the context of their terminal.

terminal chat

Terminal Canary is a new 'canary' channel of Windows Terminal that is more experimental than the release version or the preview version. Microsoft is increasingly offering a canary channel version of forthcoming products; when it announced the Windows Insider Canary Channel earlier this year, the channel was described as:

"the place to preview platform changes that require longer-lead time before getting released to customers... And like the Dev Channel, some of the changes we try out in the Canary Channel will never ship, and others could show up in future releases when they’re ready."

The term canary refers to the way miners would, in the past, take a canary with them into the coal mine where the canary's greater sensitivity to dangerous gases would cause the canary to collapse, giving the miners a chance to evacuate the problem area.

Terminal Canary ships nightly and includes "hot off the presses" features. It can be installed side-by-side with Windows Terminal stable and Windows Terminal Preview.

The new AI feature doesn't ship with its own large-language model. For now, users will need to provide their Azure OpenAI Service endpoint and key to use Terminal Chat. Terminal Chat only supports Azure OpenAI Service for now.

The code for Terminal Chat, is available on GitHub.

MSTerminalChatlogo

More Information

Windows Terminal Canary

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 05 December 2023 )