tmux is the best thing ever. That is all.

No, that is not all. Here is how I make use of tmux to make my life measurably more awesome:

First, my .tmux.conf. This changes tmux’s ctrl-b magic key binding to ctrl-a as I’ve grown far too used to hitting that from when I used screen. I set up a few other screen-like bindings too. Finally, I set a few options that make tmux work better with urxvt.

# Set the prefix to ^A.
unbind C-b
set -g prefix ^A
bind a send-prefix

# Bind c to new-window
unbind c
bind c new-window -c $PWD

# Bind space, n to next-window
unbind " "
bind " " next-window
unbind n
bind n next-window

# Bind p to previous-window
unbind p
bind p previous-window

# A few other settings to make things funky
set -g status off
set -g aggressive-resize on
set -g mode-keys vi
set -g default-terminal screen-256color
set -g terminal-overrides 'rxvt-unicode*:sitm@'

And then here’s what I have near the top of my .bashrc:

# If tmux isn't already running, run it
[ -z "$TMUX" ] && exec ~/bin/tmux

…which goes with this, the contents of ~/bin/tmux:


# If there are any sessions that aren't attached, attach to the first one
# Otherwise, start a new session

for line in $(tmux ls -F "#{session_name},#{session_attached}"); do
    name=$(echo $line | cut -d ',' -f 1)
    attached=$(echo $line | cut -d ',' -f 2)

    if [ $attached -eq 0 ]; then
        tmux attach -t $name

tmux -u

Basically, what happens is that whenever I start a terminal session, if I’m not already attached to a tmux session, I find a session that’s not already attached to and attach to it. If there aren’t any, I create a new one.

This really tidies up my workflow and means that I never forget about any old sessions I’d detached.

Oh and one last thing, ctrl-a s is the best thing in tmux ever. It shows a list of tmux sessions which can be expanded to show what’s running in them and you can then interactively re-attach your terminal to one of them. In short, I can start a terminal from any desktop or vt and quickly attach to something that’s happening on any other. I use this feature a lot.