Screen-Profiles – Improved Screen in Ubuntu Jaunty

I recently upgraded my kubuntu installation to 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope”. It turns out that they have added some very cool features to screen in this version. If you don’t use screen its its worth finding out more, certainly its a tool I now can’t live without.

The first thing to say is that if you have an existing .screenrc file, you don’t get any notification or prompt about the new features of screen, I was lucky and fell over the information. To get to the features:

  • if you have a .screenrc, rename it for a moment
  • aptitude install screen-profiles screen-profiles-extras
  • run screen

EDIT: From Karmic Koala (9.10) and later these packages are now byobu and byobu-extras – they work as outlined here however, just the package names changed.

The first thing you’ll notice is that there’s a whole lot more stuff going on at the bottom of the screen. I have had a custom .screenrc file which gave me tabs for a while, but now they’re part of the standard setup.

If you look in the bottom right corner you’ll see there’s an “F9 Menu” – yep, screen responds to a whole bunch of function keys! I’ll keep my traditional ctrl+a mapping I think, but you can reconfigure this to your hearts content. And look at the menu itself:

You can change the colour themes (more on that another day, I’m still playing with the settings) and you can also turn on and off a load of different widgets, basically lots of different system information. I’ve got most of it turned off on my laptop (since I already have a battery meter etc) but for a server this could be really useful. Examples:

I’m really happy to see Canonical improving this particular tool, and I wanted to mention it purely because existing users of screen won’t see the new functionality by default which seems like a bit of an oversight. If you’re a screen user, upgrade to Jaunty, try it out, and leave a comment on how it works out for you.

4 thoughts on “Screen-Profiles – Improved Screen in Ubuntu Jaunty

  1. Great little find.. I’ve now set screen to start with login and set terminal to run screen instead of a basic console.. all good :)

  2. BinaryKitten: be a tiny bit careful with that because if you break your screen setup you run the risk of not being able to log in at all. I saw some threads on ubuntuforums of people who had done that. Glad you like the utility though :)

  3. I wrote a while ago about the new version of screen in Ubuntu Jaunty. Screen is an application which lets you run lots of tabs inside one terminal window, then disconnect from screen and reconnect again later. You can turn on and off a whole bunch of no

  4. I have written about screen quite often, mostly including my .screenrc file and showing how to have named tabs for the various screen tabs you have open. When Ubuntu Jaunty came out, I found it had some quite cool enhancements that made the customisation

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