Wednesday, 15 October 2014

How to pair using TMUX


Tmux provides a way to remotely pair using a shared terminal.  This is great as it means you can pair when working from another office or from home.  It's ideal if you are comfortable using a command line, and enjoy memorizing keyboard shortcuts.


Re-sizing windows - when one side of the pair has a different resolution or differently sized terminal window, if you're not careful, you will see screen sheering.  This was completely solved by using putty or cygwin and ensuring that both clients use the same font settings.  Once its working, it works really well:

Weird control characters - If you see weird characters on the screen then set the window translation -> character set translation to UTF-8.  This seems to be only a problem in putty.

Git bash - Tmux does not work nicely with git bash

Server Setup

Assuming you are using vagrant on your local PC, create a vagrant server on, using the following vagrant snippet when setting up the network:

config.vm.define "a" do |server|
  ## usual config
  ## ... "private_network", ip: "" "forwarded_port", guest: 2222, host: 22

What's important here is that you forward 2222 to the ssh port 22.

ssh onto your vagrant instance and install and run tmux:
yum install -y tmux

Now use the ip of your physical box to ssh in:

Client Setup

Install cygwin or putty.  From cygwin remotely attach to the tmux session:

ssh vagrant@<ip>  
tmux attach  (this will attach to the session started above)

Remote Connectivity

  • Use a wired connection.  Once I plugged in directly to the home router a lot of the connectivity issues went away (despite having a 5 bar wireless connection).
  • If using vmware or virtual box to host vagrant instance, ensure you use Bridged Mode.  If you use NAT mode, we found the connection would occasionally drop.  
  • If you have both vmware and virtual box running, then it may not be possible to enable bridged mode.  Uninstall one of them!


We tried several voip clients, including skype and googlr hangouts... The most stable turned out to be Viber.  I installed viber as a client on the remote PC.  Combined with a wired connection, it made the voip experience rock solid.
  • Use viber with a hands free headset.  I used a cheap bluetooth headset from amazon.
  • Be warned that voip eats bandwidth - try and get a wifi connection.


Tmux takes a bit of getting used to - you may find the default bind key is a bit of a stretch (ctrl-b).  I changed it to (ctrl-a).  Use this Tmux cheat sheet to quickly get up and running.  I've put together a set of dotfiles to make the whole tmux experience a lot nicer:

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