Install byobu

This article will describe installing byobu and usage.


1 byobu

The byobu is a frontend tool for GNU screen and tmux. GNU screen and tmux can be used easily by byobu.

Using tmux as a backend is as below.


Using GNU screen as a backend is as below.


byobu will display CPU and memory usage easily.

2 Install byobu

Install byobu from default repository except CentOS.

2.1 Ubuntu 16.04 / Debian 8

Install byobu with apt.

$ sudo apt-get install -y byobu

2.2 Fedora 23

Install byobu with dnf.

$ sudo dnf install -y byobu

2.3 CentOS 7

Install byobu from epel-release repository or build Fedora 22's src.rpm. Building Fedora 22's src.rpm is as below.

$ sudo yum install -y rpmdevtools gettext desktop-file-utils automake tmux
$ wget ${FEDORA}/22/Everything/source/SRPMS/b/byobu-5.92-1.fc22.src.rpm
$ rpmbuild --rebuild byobu-5.92-1.fc22.src.rpm
$ sudo yum localinstall -y ~/rpmbuild/RPMS/noarch/byobu-*.rpm

2.4 ArchLinux

Download AUR source code.

$ git clone
$ cd byobu

Read PKGBUILD file for installing dependent packages.


Install packages for building.

$ sudo pacman -S --asdeps --noconfirm ${makedepends[@]}

Install packages for running.

$ sudo pacman -S --noconfirm ${depends[@]}

Build and install package.

$ makepkg
$ sudo pacman -U --noconfirm byobu-*.pkg.tar.xz

2.5 OpenSUSE

Use ubuntu's source code. Install screen if you need.

sudo zypper -n in tmux
wget -q ${LAUNCHPAD}/byobu/trunk/5.112/+download/byobu_5.112.orig.tar.gz
tar zxf byobu_5.112.orig.tar.gz
cd byobu-5.112
./configure && make && sudo make install

3 byobu usage

This article describe configuration and usage of byobu.

3.1 Run byobu

Run byobu with byobu command. If byobu session is already running, byobu command will attach it.

$ byobu

If you need to run other byobu session, please use -S option.

$ byobu -S <session-name>

3.2 byobu default prompt

byobu has a default prompt.


default prompt is ON by byobu-enable-prompt command and OFF by byobu-disable-prompt command. byobu-prompt command provides an interactive guide for ON/OFF.

Setting of byobu default prompt is written to ${HOME}/.bashrc.

[ -r /home/hiroom2/.byobu/prompt ] && . /home/hiroom2/.byobu/prompt   #byobu-prompt#

3.3 Select backend.

Run byobu with GNU screen by byobu-screen command and with tmux by byobu-tmux. byobu-select-backend provides interactive guide for selection.

Setting of backend is written to ${HOME}/.byobu/backend.

$ cat ~/.byobu/backend

3.4 Change escape key

byobu's default escape key is function key or C-a. In case of C-a is as below.

$ cat ~/.byobu/keybindings
source $BYOBU_PREFIX/share/byobu/keybindings/common
bindkey "^A"
escape "^Aa"
register x "^A"

In case of tmux, change escape key as below.

$ cat ~/.byobu/keybindings.tmux
set -g prefix C-u
unbind-key -n C-a

In case of GNU screen, change escape key as below.

$ cat ~/.byobu/.screenrc
escape ^Uu

3.5 keybinding with escape key

When setting escape key as C-u, keybindings are as below.

C-u c Create new window
C-u C-p Focus to prev window
C-u C-n Focus to next window
C-u <number> Focus to <number> window
C-u d Detach screen
C-u C-u Focus to last window

tmux needs below setting for C-u C-u.

$ cat ~/.byobu/.tmux.conf
bind C-j run "tmux last-window || true"

3.6 Change byobu config directory

byobu uses ${HOME}/.byobu directory by default.

$ byobu # ${HOME}/.byobu is used.

Change it with BYOBU_CONFIG_DIR variable.

$ BYOBU_CONFIG_DIR=${HOME}/.mybyobu byobu

3.7 status

byobu provides information on status like CPU and memory usage. This is implemented by scripts in ${BYOBU_PREFIX}/lib/byobu.

$ ls ${BYOBU_PREFIX}/lib/byobu/ # Running on byobu
apport     custom    fan_speed     memory           release      trash
arch       date      hostname      menu             services     updates_available
battery    disk      include       network          session      uptime
color      disk_io   ip_address    processes        swap         users
cpu_count  distro    load_average  raid             time         whoami
cpu_freq   ec2_cost  logo          rcs_cost         time_binary  wifi_quality
cpu_temp   entropy   mail          reboot_required  time_utc

Set these scripts to tmux_right or screen_lower_right in ${HOME}/.byobu/status, information on status will be changed. screen_xxx always needs color.

$ cat ~/.byobu/status
# Screen has two status lines, with 4 quadrants for status
screen_lower_right="color load_average memory disk time"

# Tmux has one status line, with 2 halves for status
tmux_right="load_average memory disk time"

In case of tmux is as below.


tmux can modify interval of redrawing status.

$ cat ~/.byobu/.tmux.conf
set -g status-interval 15  # default 15 (seconds)

GNU screen only redraw on screen_lower_right except time scripts.