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So adb shell has an annoying bug where it doesn't realize that your graphical terminal app is larger than 80x24, so when you try to run any kind of full-screen console apps like vi or emacs (or any ncurses app), it does not take up the full screen, only a small portion of it. Is there a way to fix this easily?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

What I usually do is to use ssh instead of adb. That one configures the terminal properly (besides setting many other things up better than adb does).

Put this into your ~/.bash_aliases (on the host computer, not the device)

alias sd='adb shell start ssh; \
    adb forward tcp:2222 tcp:22; \
    ssh-keygen -f ~/.ssh/known_hosts -R [localhost]:2222; \
    ssh -o UserKnownHostsFile=/dev/null -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no \
        phablet@localhost -p 2222'

and close/reopen the terminal window.

Now you can just do a "sd" (short for ssh device) and you'll be logged in as user phablet on the phone, with a properly configured terminal and a properly set up user environment.

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Scroll down for an expansion of this approach that offers a couple advantages. –  Robru Apr 29 '14 at 22:23
This idea has been expanded and is now available in Ubuntu (at least in Utopic). Run apt-get install phablet-tools and it comes with a tool called phablet-shell which enables SSH on the device, copies your ssh key id down to the device, and then connects in with ssh for a nice smooth terminal experience. –  Robru Jul 2 '14 at 16:09

Building off of mzanetti's answer above, I've expanded it to have a couple advantages that I'm now using regularly:

function adbshell {
    adb shell start ssh
    adb forward tcp:2222 tcp:22
    ssh-keygen -f ~/.ssh/known_hosts -R [localhost]:2222
    ssh-copy-id -o UserKnownHostsFile=/dev/null -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no \
        phablet@localhost -p 2222 2>/dev/null
    scp -o UserKnownHostsFile=/dev/null -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no \
        -q -P 2222 -r ~/.bash* ~/.profile* phablet@localhost:/home/phablet
    ssh -o UserKnownHostsFile=/dev/null -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no \
        phablet@localhost -p 2222
  • It remembers your credentials so you don't have to type your password every time

  • It copies your bash config from the host to the device so you can use all your favorite aliases (and custom prompt config!)

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It's not a bug in the terminal - the default setup of the shell on android is just not configured to handle changing window sizes.

After you resize the actual terminal window, use the resize command - then use your fullscreen program.

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