This was the 10-year anniversary of the creation of ColaLUG, and the club's first president, Steven Nance came and told us a bit of the origins of the club. He also gave a very comprehensive demonstration of using the screen package. For people working with text and command-line logins, it is a very powerful tool.

Steven has kindly provided his presentation notes for the screen presentation. I include those below.


Screen is a multiplexing terminal application with tons of features. Including, but not limited to:

  • Terminal detachment Logging Multiple windows Copying and pasting between terminals Multiple "regions" on one terminal Window sharing Window monitoring Hardware status line

Getting started.

  • $ screen

First get help.

  • ^a ?

Do your thing and detach.

  • ^a d

Look at what we have.

  • $ screen -ls

Wipe if necessary.

  • $ screen -wipe [PID]

And reattach.

  • $ screen -r [PID] $ screen -RD [PID]

Creating new windows.

  • ^a c

Navigating windows.

  • ^a n ^a p ^a a ^a [0-9] ^a '

Oh no!! I'm lost. List windows.

  • ^a w ^a "

I need a better naming convention. Renaming.

  • ^a A

Jeez.. What time is it? Load average and time.

  • ^a t

Is that compile done on window 17? Idle monitoring.

  • ^a _

Are my friends logging into my irc room? Activity monitoring.

  • ^a M

I'm a multi-tasker :) New regions

  • ^a S

Groovy, but how do I move regions?

  • ^a TAB bind j focus down bind k focus up

But how do I use "bind"? Screen commands and rc file.

  • ^a :
  • screenrc

But can "bind" make life easier?

  • bind 'P' screen top

Does this region make my bottom look to big? Resizing regions

  • resize +

Can we log any of this?

  • ^a h screen -H ^a L

But I need this in the other window. Scrollback and copy/paste

  • ^a ESC space enter ^a ]

    ^a >

Ok.. maybe not that much of a multi-tasker. Kill a region.

  • ^a X

Ssssh. I need quiet. Visual bell.

  • vbell on

WTF?!? "Wuff, Wuff!!"

  • vbell_msg "beep"

Now things are getting dark and scary. Sharing your screen.

  • $ screen -x [PID] multiuser on aclchg weener +r "#" screen -r nances acldel weener

Uh oh... The boss is coming! Clear screen or switch to blank.

  • ^a C ^a -

I'm a screen geek.. No really. Disable line wrap or get attached displays.

  • ^a r ^a *

I just screened a screen.

  • ^a a

My screen is all garbled. Redraw or reset

  • ^a l ^a Z # not to be confused with z for suspend

Kill em all and let root sort them out.

  • ^a Q

    a \

.screenrc stuff:

  • startup message
    • startup_message off
    • termcapinfo xterm ti@:te@ termcapinfo xterm-color ti@:te@
    bigger scrollback
    • defscrollback 2000
    startup windows
    • screen -t name num command
    status line
    • hardstatus on hardstatus alwayslastline hardstatus string "%w%=%m/%d %c"
    change screen escape
    • escape ^Ll

other advanced:

  • screen exchange more detailed copy/paste with scrollback nav digraphs update names with PS1

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