vt and tmux, overlapping responsibilities

Sijmen J. Mulder ik at sjmulder.nl
Mon Oct 23 12:22:09 UTC 2017


vt (or st) is a virtual terminal with some features like scrollback and 
multiplexing on top of system primitives (I suppose a character/video 
display driver).

tmux (or screen, etc) is a more advanced multiplexer but implemented on 
top of an existing terminal.

Using tmux on vt then strikes me as an inelegant situation. We have a 
multiplexer and terminal emulator that goes unused because we're using 
another multiplexer and terminal emulator through it. It's rather like 
hooking up a media centre system to a 'smart TV'.

One could either a) use a 'dumb' TV, or b) use a smarter TV that 
eliminates the need for the media centre system. In terms of virtual 
terminals, that means a) reducing vt's repsonsibilities to a minimum, or 
b) being able to run another multiplexer directly on the video/text 
driver, replacing vt.

I don't mean to belittle the obvious complexities and realities such as 
that a terminal must be available very early on in the startup sequence, 
or having a multiplexer target a device rather than another terminal, 
etc. Just wanted to see if there's been any thinking on this front.


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