Thursday, November 12, 2009

Enhancing terminals with byobu on Ubuntu 9.10

Byobu is a Japanese term for decorative screens . A Japanese byobu screen looks as below.

You can achieve similar decorative effects on your gnome terminal or xterm , or Konsole with Byobu software available from ubuntu launchpad. Infact, the new ubuntu 9.10 ships it by default. On earlier versions of ubuntu you can install byobu from the PPA here.

On my jaunty box , I added the following to /etc/sources.list and imported the key form the PPA and installed it via apt,

For trying out byobu , open a terminal and type

$ byobu

your terminal will immediately change to the following screen.

The bottom line on the above picture indicates the present status of your system. It displays several useful parameters. Byobu can be customised to display several other informatiin.

Infact ,byobu is an enhancement to GNU/Screen. So, all commands applicable to GNU/ screen will work with byobu. If you are not familiar with screen look at this page for some additional information

Most of the settings of byobu are stored in a hidden directory named .byobu under your home folder. Most ot these settings can be modified from byobu itself. For customising byubu, press F9 . You will get the following screen.

You can change the look and feel of your terminal as shown in the screen-shots below.

For me the status notifications on the last line is very useful For adding additional parameters Press F9 and select status notifications , you will get the following screens. Choose whatever parameter you want to display as your default status line.

To start byobu automatically when ever you launch a terminal on Karmic Koala desktop, select
the last option as shown below. ( Be careful as screen sessions can become background processes. I suggest you GNU/screen documentation )

and press enter.

Now click on edit->> Profile Preferences-> Title and Command on your gnome-terminal and tick Run command as login shell.

Byobu will be launched automatically next time when you start a terminal.


Xett said...

Can we please get a screenshot of it in action?

Shiraz Khan said...

You forgot the main thing - showing your results.

Andrew said...

@Xett: I see lots of screenshots in the post... :)

rtalcott said...

Nice tip!
Thank you!