Sometimes it’s helpful to have multiple consoles open.
The best example I can think of is when you are logged in to a machine via
There are other ways, of course.
You could try to log in to the server with
-X so that X11 applications can run on the remote host but display on your computer.
That’s not always easy, though.
The administrator of the server may not allow X11 forwarding.
Your machine may not allow or even understand X11 requests.
You could log in to multiple
This is what I did for several years.
It works, but it’s not the most convenient approach, since it clutters up your desktop.
screen is a better option.
screen lets you log in once, and have multiple command line consoles open and controlled from within your single
It even keeps your session active as an added bonus.
This means that after the inevitable network hiccup that hoses your
ssh login, you can log in once more and simple start from where you left off with a simple
Where To Find
screen is part of the GNU project.
You can find more info at the GNU Screen project page.
It’s also on many distributions, so search with your package manager before you download and install the source package.
How To Use
Once you’ve installed screen by whatever approach needed, starting a screen session is as simple as invoking the
From there the best way to learn is to monkey around with screen, using the quick list of commands below as your guide. All
screen commands start with Ctrl-A, as seen below.
|Ctrl-A C||Create a new window|
|Ctrl-A A||Switch to the last window you were in|
|Ctrl-A N||Switch to the next window in |
|Ctrl-A P||Switch to the previous window in |
|Ctrl-A K||Kill the current window|
|Ctrl-A D||Detach your |
|Ctrl-A ?||Get the help screen|
|Ctrl-A A||Send an actual Ctrl-A signal to your current shell|
The commands are fairly straightforward. For example, to create a new window:
- Hold down the Control key
- Press A
- Release the Control key
- Press C
You may already know this particular shorthand for key combos, but I wanted to have the information just in case you didn’t.
Detaching your session may be the coolest aspect of
Your screen session stays in the same state until you can come back and resume later.
This lasts days - I know, I have tested it - and won’t actually go away unless forcibly killed by you or an admin.
Well, shutting down the computer will end your screen session completely.
Try to bear that in mind whenever you are about to reboot.
You reattach a session with
screen -r from the command line.
You can also reattach a session that you lost because of network failure or some other minor accident with
Be careful with Ctrl-A Ctrl-K! If you are used to working in Emacs or using emacs-style movement in your shell, you may be accustomed to that key combo moving you to the beginning of the current line and cutting that line into the kill ring. In the screen world, you would use Ctrl-A A Ctrl-K to get the same effect.