From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Hardest Bug I've Ever Solved (Take 2)...

So I spoke just a little too soon yesterday.  I thought I had an elegant solution to a long standing problem.  But I needed a little peer review, and as always you, my blog readers are really quite awesome at that :-)

Within a few hours of that post, it was noted that the ASCII character I thought was unpressable and unbound in Emacs was in fact quite pressable (ctrl-p) and bound (up).  Dang.  And I was so proud...  Hubris.

In any case, I was able to do a bit more digging, and in fact, one of the commenters to that post suggested ctrl-^ as his favorite Screen escape character.  In fact, the Emacs wiki suggests the same thing.  And with that, we're back off and running!

You can read the original-but-updated post here.

Alright, so with that, I've just released Byobu 4.0 into the Byobu PPAs and Ubuntu Oneiric.  You can check the changelog if you want all the details, but here's a few highlights:
  • Users are prompted the first time they use ctrl-a, if they want that keystroke to operate in Emacs-mode or Screen-mode and the selection is permanently preserved
  • Scrollback mode is vastly improved with some new keybindings and tweaks; you can now use alt-pgup and alt-pgdn to scroll through each window's history
  • The "printscreen" functionality is much faster, and nicer, opening the buffer file in a new window using your default file viewer (try: F12 ~)
  • Added support for a BYOBU_DISABLE environment variable to Byobu's launchers; if we could get this added to OpenSSH's whitelisted environment variables, then you could locally configure your system to launch or never launch Byobu on remote systems over ssh
  • Added a utility called 'byobu-quiet', which disables all status notifications and removes the hardstatus line; perhaps attractive to people who might like Byobu's keybindings but don't go for the eye candy
Give it a shot and let us know what you think ;-)



  1. ctrl-^? On my Swedish keyboard that would be (I think; hard to actually see what keycode you end up with) ctrl-shift-press "¨" twice. Or possibly shift-press "¨" once-ctrl-shift-press "¨" again. Not sure which would work since it probably depends on the particular situation (what input method; is it in console or in an X window, and so on).

    How about simply making it more than one character? ctrl-b-y (for byobu, and "bye" as you'd use it for disconnecting among other things), or ctrl-,-,?

  2. The internal version string you shipped as 4.0 is still 3.35.

  3. Hi Janne!

    Do you have an F12 key? I have bound F12 to ctrl-^ such that F12 is a single keystroke that does the screen escape. It's a little far away, but less than 48 hours later, I'm totally getting used to it :-)


  4. Jeremy,

    Ah, thanks, you're absolutely right! I'll get this fixed in the next upload.



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