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. We note that one of the most popular Linux distributions, Ubuntu, is even going to replace its application menus with a "head-up display" (HUD) box. However intuitive and slick the HUD will be implemented, and how advanced, in general, 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.
Now, let's explore the 5 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 and reviews.
|Byobu||Powerful, text based window manager and shell multiplexer|
|screen||Terminal multiplexer with VT100/ANSI terminal emulation|
|xpra||Screen for remote X applications|
|tmux||Terminal multiplexer which uses a client-server model|
|neercs||Offers additional functionality to screen but is at an early stage of development|