What are the main features of default byobu behavior/config for tmux user?

I am thinking what to deploy by default to production servers. tmux wins over screen, because it is immediately visible when remote console is "protected from disconnection". Will byobu provide more interesting default features?

  • Another reason for liking tmux or byobu is they support the scrollbar in your terminal emulator. (Apparently screen can do it, but needs configuring to do so). – sourcejedi Feb 18 '13 at 9:29

Byobu is intended to give a consistent look-and-feel user interface across your servers running different versions and distributions of Linux and UNIX. It also bridges Screen and Tmux a bit, with a consistent set of key bindings and conky-like status extensions.

Tmux and Screen are both awesome on their own, and even better if you highly customize your configuration in ~/.screenrc and ~/.tmux.conf and have the wherewithal to synchronize that configuration across all your servers. Byobu tries to do that for you, out of the box from within your distro.

I wrote a far more complete answer to a very similar question here:


  1. The apt-check bug the other poster mentioned has been fixed in a subsequent revision, r1952, on 2012-06-24.
  2. Full disclosure, I'm the upstream author and maintainer of Byobu.
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    Does your answer imply that tmux has inconsistent look-and-feel across different versions and distributions? – anatoly techtonik Feb 18 '13 at 7:07
  • BTW, does F1 work as help in byobu by default? Or is there a help displayed on the first run like in irssi? Because tmux is unusable without reading documentation first. – anatoly techtonik Feb 18 '13 at 7:10
  • And, does byobu has automatic ability to attach or create session (if it doesn't exist)? In tmux these are two different commands with two different arguments. – anatoly techtonik Feb 18 '13 at 7:12
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    F1 does work in byobu. And byobu does automatically attach to an existing session if available / create a new one if it's not. – sourcejedi Feb 18 '13 at 9:16
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    Tmux does not have an "inconsistent look-and-feel" at all. I provided a much lengthier explanation as to the motivations behind Byobu beyond Screen/Tmux here: superuser.com/a/423397/115303 – Dustin Kirkland Feb 19 '13 at 5:12

Byobu had a bug where logging in to a heavily-loaded server would spawn infinite apt-check processes. At the time of writing, the fix is still in the process of being pushed out to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. If you manage other operating systems, you'd want to check their package version/bug trackers as well.

The default display also includes the time in seconds, so sending updates continuously when it doesn't need to. (Annoying network traffic, possible side-effects in the client terminal).

If you disable those, it's nice and pretty. It's easy to change the configuration for your user, using the byobu-config frontend. I like that it automatically enables ctrl-a in tmux (plain tmux uses ctrl-b). And unlike tmux, byobu with no options will conveniently create a new session if there isn't one, or attache to the existing un-named session. I'm happily using it at home.

For deploying to a number of different servers, possibly managed by multiple people, I'd consider whether plain tmux might be safer.

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    That's a bug that affected a version of Byobu that has been fixed in subsequent releases. Thanks -- Byobu Maintainer. – Dustin Kirkland Feb 18 '13 at 3:32
  • @DustinKirkland, thanks for the heads-up, but the bug is still marked as "In Progress" for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and not fixed for any Debian servers (the majority I have to deal with), so I'd stick with tmux for now. – anatoly techtonik Feb 18 '13 at 7:05

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