Byobu is a Japanese term for decorative, multi-panel screens that serve as folding room dividers. As an open source project, Byobu is an elegant enhancement of the otherwise functional, plain, practical GNU Screen. Byobu includes an enhanced profile and configuration utilities for the GNU screen window manager, such as toggle-able system status notifications.

In ubuntu 9.10 it ships by default. On earlier versions of ubuntu you can install byobu from the PPA here.

On a jaunty box , you can add the following to /etc/sources.list and imported the key from the PPA and install it via apt;

deb jaunty main

To run byobu , open a terminal and type


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 customized to display other information as well.

Byobu is a wrapper for GNU/Screen, so all commands applicable to GNU/ screen will work with byobu.

Most of the settings of byobu are stored in a hidden directory named .byobu under your home folder. Some of these settings can also be modified from byobu itself by using the F9 key and scrolling or using the Tab/Alt Tab to jump between options.

To start byobu automatically whenever you launch GNOME Terminal on Ubuntu, start a terminal session and run ‘byobu’. Press the F9 key and scroll down to ‘Byobu currently launches at login (toggle on)’ Press Enter twice to enable this. Repeat to disable. Now, type exit to close byobu and then right click inside the terminal window and select;
edit->> Profile Preferences-> Title and Command
then tick the ‘Run command as login shell’. Byobu will be launched automatically next time when you start a terminal.

The following commands can be used for other options available in byobu;

    F2 – Create a new window

    F3 – Move to previous window

    F4 – Move to next window

    F5 – Reload profile

    F6 – Detach from this session

    (byobu -x reattaches)

    F7 – Enter copy/scrollback mode

    F8 – Re-title a window

    F9 – Configuration Menu

    F12 – Lock this terminal

    Ctrl-a $ – show detailed status

    Ctrl-a R – Reload profile

    Ctrl-a ! – Toggle key bindings on and off

    Ctrl-a k – Kill the current window


I am a g33k, Linux blogger, developer, student and Tech Writer for My passion for all things tech drives my hunt for all the coolz. I often need a vacation after I get back from vacation....

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