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Remote terminal sessions with GNU Screen

If you need to run a long running terminal session on a remote server, you can keep the terminal session running, even if the ssh connection gets disrupted, by using the GNU Screen program.

Command tips:

  • screen –help (obvious)
  • Check (list) if you have screen session(s) already running: screen -ls
  • Reattach to an existing screen session: screen -r [session]
  • Start a new sesssion with a meaningful name: screen -S sensiblename
    Screen’s default session names are based on the process ID, so if you have multiple sessions running, you’ll probably forget which was which later on, unless you give them a more explanatory name instead.
  • Within a screen session, screen’s own commands start with <ctrl>+a (written C-a here).
  • In-program help, show key commands: C-a ?
  • Detach a screen session from the terminal (so that it can continue to run in the background): C-a d
    If your connection is disrupted, you can just ssh in again later, and then reattach an existing session, as noted above.

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