Quite often I find myself using a particular application for a long time, and only realising that something I'm doing can be done a lot simpler, or even automatically. A quick smack on the head with the palm of my hand and a few shots of espresso is generally called for, followed by implementing the previously unused feature.
In this case it's a feature of the improved and vastly more usable new Terminal.app bundled with Mac OS X Leopard. In earlier versions of OS X I used mrxvt in X11 for most of my shell goodness; a less elegant alternative to iTerm but one which I found more reliable. Unlike previous Terminal.app versions, mrxvt had a tabbed interface, and exited automatically whenever the process you were working on finished cleanly. I knew Terminal.app in Leopard had the former feature but not the latter… despite it being right under my nose the whole time.
The Leopard Terminal indicating a process has been completed, with the window still open
To get the Leopard Terminal.app to automatically close its window when the process you're working on finishes cleanly:
[,]to bring up the Preferences screen
Settings, then click the theme you want to change.
Close if the shell exited cleanlyfrom the
When the shell exits:listbox.
Now whenever a process you've initiated finishes, or if you type
exit in your shell, the window closes automatically. When you have tens of tabs open at once, this saves a LOT of time!
The Leopard Terminal Preferences window showing changed setting