The nuts and bolts of Linux seem destined to be increasingly hidden away from the desktop user. The continuing development of popular desktop environments offering attractive interfaces and fancy features shows no sign of abatement. However intuitive and slick desktop environments become, there is little prospect that the faithful terminal will be consigned to the recycle bin in the near future. There is simply too much power at the hands of a terminal for many experienced Linux users.
Users that want to exploit the full power of the terminal may benefit from using a terminal multiplexer. This type of application can be considered to be a text version of a graphical window manager. It enables users to run multiple text programs simultaneously, as well as offering features that allow users to switch seamlessly between these programs in operation. Terminal multiplexers also allow multiple computers to make simultaneous connections.
To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 7 useful terminal multiplexers. Hopefully, there will be something here to help improve your productivity at the console. Combine one of these terminal multiplexers with a tiling window manager, and you’ve got a low resource desktop environment.
Here’s our recommendations. They are all free and open source goodness.
Let’s explore the 7 terminal multiplexers. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screenshot, together with links to relevant resources.
|Tmuxinator||Create and manage complex tmux sessions easily|
|tmux||Truly sublime terminal multiplexer which uses a client-server model|
|Byobu||Powerful, text based window manager and shell multiplexer|
|3mux||Terminal multiplexer inspired by i3|
|GNU Screen||Terminal multiplexer with VT100/ANSI terminal emulation|
|mtm||Micro terminal multiplexer|
|dvtm||Dynamic virtual terminal manager|
Of course, a tiling window manager combined with a terminal multiplexer won’t be a solution for everyone. If you’re looking for a great desktop environment, check out our review of the Best Linux Desktop Environments.
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.