GNU Screen is a free terminal multiplexer developed by the GNU Project. It allows a user to access multiple separate terminal sessions inside a single terminal window or remote terminal session. It is useful for dealing with multiple programs from the command line, and for separating programs from the shell that started the program.
GNU Screen can be thought of as a text version of graphical window managers. It is a wrapper that allows multiple text programs to run at the same time, and provides features that allow the user to productively use the programs within a single interface.
- Similar to Virtual Network Computing, GNU Screen allows the user to start applications from one computer, and then reconnect from a different computer and continue using the same application without having to restart it. This makes migration between locations like work and home simple. Screen provides terminal-agnostic functionality so that users can disconnect and reconnect using different terminal types, allowing applications to continue running without being aware of the change in terminals.
- Multiple windows
- Multiple terminal sessions can be created, each of which usually runs a single application. The windows are numbered, and the user can use the keyboard to switch between them. Some GUI terminal emulators provide tabs or otherwise similar functionality to this. Each window has its own scroll-back buffer, so that output is captured even when the window isn't actively displayed, and that history can be saved even when migrating to another computer. Windows can be split-screened. While some text applications have this functionality built in, Screen allows any application to be horizontally split-screened alongside any number of other applications.
- Session Sharing
- Screen allows multiple computers to connect to the same session at once, allowing collaboration between multiple users. The same computer can also be used to make multiple simultaneous connections, providing alternative functionality to screen-splitting, particularly for computers with multiple monitors.
Other terminal multiplexers
Other text-mode multiplexers exist with similar functionality. These include:
- dtach — a minimalist implementation of a subset of Screen's features
- Text windows (Twin) — a textmode windowing environment
- splitvt — split terminal utility
--Ep 18:38, 12 June 2007 (CEST)