What Is Your Favorite Terminal Setup?

Brett Rasmussen brett.rasmussen at twoedge.com
Mon Oct 11 11:17:54 MDT 2010


+1 for tmux.  I've never used screen, but from what I read, tmux's
client-server model is more straightforward than screen's approach, plus it
has emacs and vi modes for the scrollback buffer.  I'm a vi boy, and I quite
like using my vi keys to move around, select and copy text, etc, in the
scrollback buffer.

But whether it's screen or tmux, a terminal multiplexer is one of those
things that until you start using it you don't know what you've been
missing.  When you shell up to a remote box and then open up new shell
windows on the remote box with a quick shortcut key (i.e., without having to
open up a new tab and shell up again), it's very nice.  Since I tend to jump
between users on remote boxes a lot for my current job, I've set up a bash
alias for each "non-me" user I log in as, which alias launches tmux with my
own config file from my home directory.  So with a single command I'm in my
own environment with my own shortcuts and vi command-line editing and vi
scrollback buffer and immediate launching of new windows and the ability to
come back to this session latter.  (Admittedly, you could do some of that by
just sourcing a /home/me/.bashrc file in your alias, but this shows the sort
of fun stuff I'm doing in my environment.)

I've gotten so used to tmux that I run it locally as well.  So I'll be in a
terminal on my machine at work, detach the session, and go home and shell
into my work machine, reattach the session, and pick up where I left off.

I don't know if you can do this one in screen or not, but tmux's
client-server model allows for multiple clients to be attached to the *same*
session.  So, for example, I can be working from home and on a skype call
with another developer, each of us logged in as a user whose credentials we
both know.  I'll attach to a tmux session he's already started, and we'll
get dual controls.  He sees as I type, and I see as he types.

Anyway, I could probably describe lots of fun things that I enjoy doing with
tmux, and I'm sure screen users would say the same.  Give it a try, spend
enough time to get past the light learning curve, and I bet you'll never go
back.

- Brett


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