This terminal app uses AI to help you understand the command line

If you feel the Linux and MacOS terminals aren't powerful enough, it's time to warp them to the next level.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
The Warp terminal app on Linux.

The Warp terminal in action.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • Warp is the Linux and MacOS terminal app of the future and can be installed now.
  • The features of Warp are about as impressive as you'll ever find in a terminal application, with built-in AI, Workflows, and Notebooks.
  • To access the shared Warp Drive feature, you must have a paid plan.  

Every so often I run into a piece of software that, even at first glance, I realize just how special it is -- and that's the situation with the terminal app Warp. You might not think a terminal application would be all that special. After all, a terminal window is just meant for running commands, right?

If you're stuck in the past, sure. But that view of the past is fading faster into the rearview mirror and the future is racing toward us at light speed. Or, even better, warp speed.

Also: The first 5 Linux commands every new user should learn

When I first discovered the Warp terminal application, I was almost overwhelmed. I'd been using the Linux terminal since the late 1990s and knew it like the back of my hand. I was certain there were few tricks left up its sleeve.

However, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) meant it was only a matter of time before a terminal app shipped with integrated AI. Before you dismiss AI integration because of the hyperbole associated with emerging technology, you should note that Warp's AI is geared specifically toward helping users understand the command line. And to that end, it works brilliantly.

Let's say, for example, you download a script that does X. Because this is open-source software, you can open the script and scan it for anything malicious. But what if you run into a line of code and you're not sure what it does? Let's use this line as an example:

sed -i 's/open "\${image_url}"/xdg-open "\${image_url}"/g' '/usr/local/bin/chatgpt'

With Warp, if you open the built-in AI tool, highlight the text, and hit Ctrl+Shift+Space, it will paste the line. Hit Enter on your keyboard and the AI will explain what the line does. 

Every time I've tried this feature, the AI was spot-on, making Warp a handy tool for explaining the bits and pieces of commands, scripts, and even code. So, if you're new to Linux or the MacOS terminal and want to get up to speed fast, Warp is a great tool.

But Warp isn't only about AI. The app also includes a cool Notebooks section, where you can create notebooks for all purposes. For example, you could save code snippets, commands, shopping lists, book ideas, or anything you can imagine.

Also: Thinking about switching to Linux? 10 things you need to know

Another cool feature is Workflows, which provides template commands that can be saved for later and repeated usage. Workflows can be saved on your local drive, or Warp Drive (more on that in a bit). When you create a new Workflow, a popup will appear, where you type the name, description, command, and arguments. Once you've created the Workflow, save it and you can then use it any time you like.

The Warp Workflow creation pop-up.

Creating a Workflow in Warp can save you time and effort at the terminal prompt.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Workflow is impressive, especially if you run commands with arguments regularly. You will use this feature quite a bit.

Warp Drive

Warp Drive allows you to create teams and invite members to join the fun. You can invite team members via link or email, and restrict teams by domain. Once you've created a team, you can add Workflows and Notebooks, all of which will be accessible by team members.

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I've been working with Warp for a couple of weeks now. It's a long time since I've been this impressed with a terminal application. Warp is the best terminal app I've ever used, and anyone who works with Linux or MacOS commands should download and install this app immediately. 


Warp can be used for free by individuals and professionals. The free account includes Warp AI with a 40-request limit per month, personal Warp Drive for Notebooks and Workflows, up to three shared Notebooks and 10 shared Workflows, free support via the public forums, modern input text editing, and all offline terminal features.

The Team plan ($22/user/month) includes everything in the Free option, but adds up to 200 Warp AI requests per month, shared Notebooks and Workflows in Warp Drive, real-time session sharing, and private email support.

The Enterprise plan (contact for pricing) offers everything in Team plus SAML-based SSO, user-provisioning with SCIM, admin panel, zero-date retention policy, and a dedicated account manager with onboarding support through Slack.

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