I’ve been using screen for several years now, but I have to admit, not extensively.

In the past, Vim has been so useful to me as a way to start and continue long running processes on remote servers without needing to stay logged in via SSH.

I used it like this:

  1. SSH into remote server
  2. Start screen by typing screen
  3. Start my long running process, for example tail /var/log/syslog
  4. Exit out of the “virtual shell” by typing C-d (Ctrl-d)
  5. Logout of the server with exit
  6. Login to the server at some later time or date
  7. Enter back into the “virtual shell” by typing screen -r

As I said, it served me well - for years. Why did I just now want more? Vim!

I’ve been using Vim for years, too, but more and more throughout that time. And more recently, thanks to vim_config, I’m using it a lot more, including buffer switching. So I thought, can screen do this? Yes! Like Vim, GNU screen can also switch between buffer-style virtual shells.

How? In a nutshell, its like this:

  1. SSH into remote server
  2. Start screen by typing screen
  3. Start my long running process, for example tail /var/log/syslog
  4. Start a new screen by C-a c
  5. Celebrate!

Similar to :b1 and friends, I can switch between screens with C-a n and C-a p.