6 votes

Experiences of using Byobu instead of a graphical DE

8 comments

  1. [4]
    archevel Link
    In the recent post about the raspberry pi 4 I mentioned wanting to build a TTY centric desktop environment. Seems like this has already been started with Byobu! I have yet to try it since I'm...

    In the recent post about the raspberry pi 4 I mentioned wanting to build a TTY centric desktop environment. Seems like this has already been started with Byobu! I have yet to try it since I'm currently on a train journey back towards Sweden from Greece with the family. Has anyone here om Tildes tried Byobu out?

    1. What was your impressions?
    2. What was missing?
    3. What would convince you to try a completely TTY based distro/DE (as opposed to a graphical one like Gnome/MATE/i3wm/OpenBox)?
    4. What would prevent you from using it full time?
    2 votes
    1. [3]
      Crespyl Link Parent
      I used to use GNU screen back before tmux existed, and got to be very comfortable with the tab and split-pane features. Later byobu came onto the scene and I mostly just used it as a nice default...

      I used to use GNU screen back before tmux existed, and got to be very comfortable with the tab and split-pane features. Later byobu came onto the scene and I mostly just used it as a nice default config, and later it made for a really easy transition from screen to tmux, since byobu was able to transition most of my usual keybinds and workflow from the screen to tmux backends. I still use byobu to start tmux sessions, but have been gradually transitioning to just rebuilding the tmux config pieces that I like.

      The biggest annoyance is integrating the tmux/byobu environment with the rest of the desktop, which really just means the clipboard. It's possible to bind a hotkey to yank the tmux selection buffer and send it to a script, which then runs xsel or xclip to interact with the X clipboard or primary selection buffer (for middle click paste). This works, but you have to set it up yourself, and feels a bit clunky. Sometimes it just randomly doesn't work, but I think that's probably an xsel issue I haven't figured out yet.

      For most use on desktops or laptops, the necessity of using web browsers and Electron apps (web development, slack, etc) make living entirely in the terminal impossible. I could (and have) spent many hours or days in nothing but Emacs, which can be entirely in the terminal, but I've grown used to being able to run the graphical version with its better support for text decoration, varying sizes, full colors, fonts, etc.

      It'd be interesting to see a "rich terminal" based OS that prioritizes text/CLI interaction, but does so with support for rich text features and embedded images.

      1 vote
      1. Gyrfalcon Link Parent
        The desire for the rich terminal you describe is the main thing that keeps me from experimenting more with tmux. I like using it for a Pi, or when I've got a project going, but that's still...

        The desire for the rich terminal you describe is the main thing that keeps me from experimenting more with tmux. I like using it for a Pi, or when I've got a project going, but that's still alongside a regular browser for images, videos, and web pages. The day I can run just a terminal but still launch all my Steam titles without a hassle, I'll be quite pleased.

        1 vote
      2. archevel Link Parent
        When I started to experiment a bit with this I initially tried starting X with a single app running that once closed shut everything down. But the clipboard issue you mentioned made me pause. I...

        When I started to experiment a bit with this I initially tried starting X with a single app running that once closed shut everything down. But the clipboard issue you mentioned made me pause. I would basically have to set up my own clipboard if I wanted it to be available in both graphical apps and on the cli (no X clipboard when X isn't running). Not super hard to do, but a bit cumbersome and then I'd probably want it to work with Emacs kill ring and vims yanking too.

  2. [2]
    mrbig Link
    That is interesting. I use Tmux daily on i3wm. It’s awesome. But, unless your name is Richard Stallman, I don’t think living on the command line makes sense with an internet powered by JavaScript...

    That is interesting. I use Tmux daily on i3wm. It’s awesome. But, unless your name is Richard Stallman, I don’t think living on the command line makes sense with an internet powered by JavaScript frameworks. Every cli browser comes with a great level of compromise. I prefer a hybrid approach.

    2 votes
    1. archevel Link Parent
      I agree that the lack of a solid terminal browser kind of forces the need for a hybrid approach. On the other hand most of what I do online is consume text in one way or another and doing that in...

      I agree that the lack of a solid terminal browser kind of forces the need for a hybrid approach. On the other hand most of what I do online is consume text in one way or another and doing that in a terminal should be possible (and make it easier to read if there is less "fluff").

  3. [2]
    Eva Link
    ...am I the only one who thinks this is kinda redundant? They should just use tmux or emacs.

    ...am I the only one who thinks this is kinda redundant?

    They should just use tmux or emacs.

    1 vote
    1. archevel Link Parent
      This uses tmux/screen as a backend so it builds on that and adds some features. Among other things it offers some default status notifications which is especially nice if you're not familiar with...

      This uses tmux/screen as a backend so it builds on that and adds some features. Among other things it offers some default status notifications which is especially nice if you're not familiar with Emacs and elisp. Fair point though if you want to live in emacs. :)

      4 votes