On my NAS box running Ubuntu 11.04 I'm experiencing an odd issue with dircolors inside byobu. Per the image below, everything works fine outside byobu. The prompt (zsh), vim, and everything else works fine... it's just dircolors that don't appear to be working correctly. One additional note, in Putty on Windows and iTerm2 on OS X I'm using the Solarized color theme.

Steps I've taken to fix, inside byobu:

alake@foxery:~/askubuntu » dircolors -p > ~/.dircolors
alake@foxery:~/askubuntu » echo $TERM >> ~/.dircolors

### Restarted ssh session here

alake@foxery:~/askubuntu » alias ls
ls='ls --color=tty'
alake@foxery:~/askubuntu » echo $TERM && grep $TERM ~/.dircolors
TERM screen-256color-bce
alake@foxery:~/askubuntu » dpkg -la | grep -i byobu
ii  byobu                                     3.33-0ubuntu1.1                            a set of useful profiles and a profile-switcher for GNU screen

iTerm: iTerm byobu / non-byobu dircolors difference Putty: Putty byobu / non-byobu dircolors difference - Overriding the alias with ls --color=auto doesn't work.

  • why are you aliasing ls to add --color=tty ? valid values are never, always and auto according to the manpage
    – user22257
    Jul 26, 2011 at 15:33
  • The color "tty" is a valid color, but it is so very rarely used.
    – Thomas Ward
    Jul 26, 2011 at 15:39
  • Did you try overriding that alias, by doing ls --color=auto and see if that helps?
    – Thomas Ward
    Jul 26, 2011 at 15:40
  • Ah yes ls.c seems to have backwards compatibility support to map between those. So tty is actually equivalent to auto.
    – user22257
    Jul 26, 2011 at 15:50
  • Not sure how that got in there in the first place, but it wasn't ever broke before, so why fix it. I never manually set that so it was something Ubuntu did somewhere along the line.
    – Aaron Lake
    Jul 26, 2011 at 16:15

2 Answers 2


After a bit more digging I believe this is a bug with byobu, and not a configuration problem as I originally thought. I've filed bug #817690 in Launchpad, where it probably belongs. Thanks for your help everyone!


The only thing I can think of is that the byobu color configurations (which can sometimes get handled separately on its load) are overriding the automatic coloring of the system in dircolors or whatever it is. I dont have a solution, but this might be a bug (although to be perfectly clear, I use ZSH and Bash, and running either in byobu/screen does not override my colors). I'd recommend either filing a bug report or waiting for a while.

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