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For example, I ssh into a server and run a command say ... wget, then I close the terminial window. Do my download continue? Or does it depend on the app? If so how do I know?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

It depends.

If you're closing a SSH session, you're logged out and all active programs are killed. This might become problematic if you've frequent connection drops and therefore it's recommended to use the screen program in a SSH session if you do not want to loose your session on exit.

Most programs are gone after a closed SSH connection if they're run on the command line, e.g. nano or apt-get. do-release-upgrade also uses screen and won't be interrupted by a connection drop.

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You can also use nohup if screen isn't available. Check the wikipedia entry on it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nohup and you'll find a couple of examples.

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