A comfortable arrangement: Musca and screen

I’ve mentioned a few times in the past that there is a clear advantage to nesting window managers and/or terminal multiplexers on the same “desktop.”

Oftentimes that’s just because they work better together. For example, meshing dvtm and screen gives you the chance to keep three or four applications in a block, in one window. Neither by itself can do that, really.

Lately I find myself doing the same thing in Musca on the Mebius, where I have individual programs assigned to the Mod4 key plus a number.

Mod4 plus 9 triggers screen, which opens all the same programs in the places I expect them, same as on my terminal-only systems. And I still have the option to open things individually, if that’s what I’m after.

It might sound odd, but the real reason for that is screen’s copy-and-paste sequence. After you get used to moving text around with screen, the old way of click-and-drag is rather cumbersome.

Plus, I spend most of my time in screen, so I can usually work the keystrokes faster than reminding myself how to bounce between applications in Musca, all the while clicking and dragging.

So there it is again: something else that’s easier done via keyboard than by mouse. The list keeps growing. … πŸ™‚


15 thoughts on “A comfortable arrangement: Musca and screen

  1. Peter

    I know you use laptops so you have no choice over the keyboard but (IMHO)…

    You had to ruin a perfectly good post by mentioning the evil “Mod4” key. Firstly the name “Mod4” is a disingenuous name to make developers of software for non-Microsoft operating systems feel better about using it. This key is a the “Windows” key, standard IBM PC compatable (AT) keyboards do not have this key. The Windows key was introduced for the Microsoft Windows 95 operating system and any keyboard with this key should be referred to as a “Windows keyboard” in the same was that keyboards with a certain layout are referred to as “Sun keyboards”. One of my pet hates is developers of software for non-Microsoft operating systems who use this key in the default key-bindings for their software or operating systems that assume that the keyboard is a Windows keyboard at install time (looking at you Debian).

    I have to that keyboards in one of the few piece of computer technology that has got worse over the years which is why I still use mechanical switch keyboards that are over 20 years old on a daily basis, as to laptop keyboards I’ve yet to use a modern laptop that has a keyboard that feels as good to use as the one on my (circa 1988) Commodore 286LT laptop.

    OK, I feel better for getting that offmy chest

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      A very interesting discussion, and I take no umbrage at either the existence or absence of a Windows, Super_L or Mod4 key. To each his own.

      In my defense, I’ll only say I called it the Mod4 key because Musca’s configuration calls for Mod4, and I figured anyone who was following along in their book might think it fun to assign their own keybindings in Musca.

      By the way, I do believe I would eat glass or walk on hot coals, if I thought I could get my hands on a proper Model M here, arranged for jp106. Perhaps I should be looking for one. … 😐

  2. Bryan

    I hate to say it, Peter, but I disagree with you, and rather strongly at that.

    I find keyboards WITHOUT a Mod4 equivalent (The ‘Tux’ key, the ‘Diamond’ key, or a branded Windows key) to be a HUGE hindrance. I use them all of the time in keyboard shortcuts and I rather like the fact that most software doesn’t bind something to that modifier by default. Granted, I have my biases – I *STILL* use Win+e to open my file manager, even years after switching to Linux. It is frustrating to find that a piece of software utilizes a key or key combination that you simply don’t posses, but I find that the assumption that people have a ‘Microsoft keyboard’ as you call them to be a pretty well founded assumption. Even if you don’t posses a ‘Windows’ key, but do have an equivalent (Sun Keyboards, for instance, have the ‘diamond’ key.) the mapping can be easily manually created or is picked up by default. If you don’t have an equivalent, the only option is to remap those keys though, one by one and for every misconfigured program so I see your frustration.

    Where we agree is that the old style, mechanical keyboards are AWESOME(with the possible exception being the Space Cadet keyboard that EMacs was written to support >_>). I just acquired my first, and am totally in awe of how I could have been in the dark for this long on something so basic and trite. Membrane keyboards just feel…squishy anymore. I’m slowly learning to not bottom out keys, which is nice for finger travel, but I’m also slowly learning to type in dvorak-simplified – which makes a world of difference.

    1. Peter

      Glad we agree on mechanical switch keyboards but just to clarify my position – I have no objection to people using the Windows key, my objection is to developers that assume its presence with the default key-bindings they provide and most especially to whichever of the developers of the Debian installer that decider to drop the bit where the installer ask the number of keys the keyboard has meaning that after an install I have to reconfigure the keyboard before I can play Oolite.

      1. Bryan

        and my point is that, in most situations, the Windows/Tux/Diamond key exists. I understand the frustration.

        Not being able to select your keymap is a horrid misstep, in all honesty – not just because it forces the mapping of the Mod4 key. I assume that the debian installer selects a keymap based off of a locale setting, which causes uncommon keymaps unrelated to the ‘standard’ keymap for that locale – dvorak-simplified, for instance. Or AZERTY. The list goes on and on.

        That all being said – I still grin a little bit when I try some new window manager that defaults it’s global modifier key to be Mod4 rather than Mod1, because it means *I* don’t need to remap the modifier before testing.

        1. Peter

          “I still grin a little bit when I try some new window manager that defaults it’s global modifier key to be Mod4 rather than Mod1” – and I curse πŸ˜‰

  3. unorthodoxpenguin

    I’d just like to interject for a moment. As a real GNU/Linux user, and thus a real man, when I used to buy keyboard (this was when I was <10 years old) I would scrape off the Windows flag and draw my own face on it. Of course, even at < 10 years old I would draw myself with my distinguished neckbeard.

    Thesedays, after I've become even more bitter because more people are using GNU/Linux in the form of that "Ubunti" or something or other, I've taken not only to running Arch GNU/Hurd but I make my own keyboards, and write my own device drivers for them. I would therefore like to propose to the developers of all DEs, WMS, and all FREE software that we therefore refer to this key as the "Neckbeard Key". If Ubutni had any sense they would sell mechanical keyboards with that non-free software OS key scraped us for us. FREEDOM! FOR A GNU DAWN!

    1. Armor Nick

      Whisky Tango Foxtrot?! I sincerely hope this is a joke.

      As a side-note, Canonical sells stickers to replace the Windows logo.

    1. nico

      tmux doesn’t have something like ‘screen -x’. The tmux FAQ mentions grouped sessions but I’ve found that kinda complicated.

      1. Glenn Becker

        I was just starting to play with dvtm and found that the display of mc goes kinda screwy, w/ lots of characters not displaying correctly. I imagine I am missing something basic … :^)

        1. K.Mandla Post author

          If you use mc -a does it improve a little? I’ve found that some line-drawing fonts don’t come through for mc, but it has a strict ascii mode that usually shows up right.


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