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I am running Ubuntu Server and want to have multiple terminals. Screen works fine but..it is not user friendly. I mean..after pressing Ctrl+A you get no notification of you being in command mode, in order to display terminals you have to enter " which is not friendly at all (on my keyboard it is Shift+1), and so on..

I looked at byobu but it seems bugged: the cpu status lines keep increasing downside up and eventually cover my screen..but overall I still don't like it much.

I was searching for something with nano's graphic..with bottom part of the screen filled with instruction/status and upper part, of course, my current terminal.

Does something like that exist? Or, alternatively, can you help me fix the byobu bug?

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    "user friendly" is rather subjective ;) "screen" indeed has it flaws but I do not consider it "user unfriendly" ;)
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 10:24

4 Answers 4

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Tmux is a rewrite of GNU Screen, tmux offers a variety of improvements. Some of the most important include a client-server model, which allows you to connect to a tmux session from multiple locations, and a cleaner configuration file format. Check out tmux’s FAQ to discover a list of ways it differs from GNU Screen.

Use this command to install tmux on Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install tmux

How to on howtogeek. That link also has something on Dvtm & Dtach (Dvtm is a console multiplexer inspired by tiling window managers, and dtach adds the ability to detach from and reattach to dvtm sessions).

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I wrote a more extended answer here.

byobu with/or tmux

I think byobu is a more friendly alternative. It uses tmux as backend, so you have friendly byobu shortcuts, and also tmux ones (by default Ctrl+a+..., you can change it with F9 or byobu-config).

From its site (see also there the excellent screencast):

Byobu is a GPLv3 open source text-based window manager and terminal multiplexer. It was originally designed to provide elegant enhancements to the otherwise functional, plain, practical GNU Screen, for the Ubuntu server distribution. Byobu now includes an enhanced profiles, convenient keybindings, configuration utilities, and toggle-able system status notifications for both the GNU Screen window manager and the more modern Tmux terminal multiplexer, and works on most Linux, BSD, and Mac distributions.

Install it with

sudo apt install byobu

Probably tmux could be tuned (with plugins like sensible) to be much more friendly.

A screenshot using hollywood:

screenshot

Here is also a howtogeek article about it.

I use it with Alacritty (and more) in full-screen. Not another window: Just there at F12.

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  • Indeed. Byobu is a combination of screen and tmux but actually usable. Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 23:55
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Screenie

From the Man page:

screenie is a small and lightweight screen(1) wrapper designed to simplify session selection on a system with multiple screen sessions. screenie provides simple interactive menu to select the existing screen session or to create a new one.

Entering screenie by itself starts it in the interactive mode and shows this menu:

screenie - terminal screen-session handler

 a) new session
 q) quit

 A parameter character can be appended to session selection:
   'x' to attach selected session with 'screen -x' command,
   'd' to attach selected session with 'screen -rd' command.

select: 

Then it walks you through creating a new background session. You have to name your session (test below) and you can leave job: blank. If there are any background sessions running screenie lists them in its menu:

screenie - terminal screen-session handler

 1) 105970.test (06/10/2022 02:22:21 PM)

 a) new session
 q) quit

 A parameter character can be appended to session selection:
   'x' to attach selected session with 'screen -x' command,
   'd' to attach selected session with 'screen -rd' command.

select: 

Selecting the index number before the background session, such as 1 will open that session.

Detach from screen by pressiing Ctrl+A followed by D, and you will be back in the screenie interactive menu.

Then you can leave screenie by pressing Q and then Enter.

When you want to return to the background sessions again, enter screenie again in the terminal to see the menu again.

Hope this helps

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Zellij

I was also looking for a real user-friendly alternative, tmux and byobu didn't really fit the bill, screenie is just a wrapper around screen, but Zellij actually tries to improve on usability and does a good job for me.

By default you immediately see at the bottom of the screen the keybindings, and following along the updating instructions makes it trivial to split your screen, detach, switch to another session, etc.

All you really need to remember in terms of command line is zellij or zellij attach, and because of the clear instructions for using the session switcher the latter is optional.

No need to memorize all the complex keyboard bindings because they are always explained to you on the screen, but if you want a demonstration of its capabilities the tutorials and screencasts do a pretty good job.

The interface also responds to mouse clicks to select active panels and tabs.

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