Make tmux sessions behave like screen

I’ve been using tmux for a while, because it’s got a couple cool advantages over screen, mostly in the areas of “readable code” and “not locking up”. What it fails at, however, is having an interface like screen; What I really liked about screen is that I could have a dozen terminal windows open and use screen as a tiling window manager; I could swap between windows at will with keypresses, having some windows in multiple locations, others nowhere to be seen, and re-arrange how I had with button-presses.


The functionality can be replicated with a little known feature called “grouping”. When you create a new¬†session, you can specify the -t command to “group” it with an existing one. This session-group will share all windows, but unlike having just one attached session, switching which window is active does not switch it in all.


I also wrote a quick script to automatically look for an existing session, and, if none are detached, create a new one.

tmux ls |grep -v attached |grep -v daemon
if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
tmux new-session -t master ;
tmux attach;