Install and configure GNU’s screen on AIX.

Sometimes we have only one terminal to an AIX system and we need to open multiples logins to make parallel tasks. This is where GNU screen (http://www.gnu.org/software/screen/) comes to play.  I use ‘GNU screen’ also tu run a long tasks inside AIX without the fear to lost my SSH/Telnet connection and stop the update process.

So, let’s install GNU’s screen on AIX. First we need to download AIX’s rpm  package from AIX Open Source Packages (Perzl.org)
URL:
http://www.perzl.org/aix/index.php?n=Main.Screen

last vgersion of screen is 4.0.3.1, see below:
http://www.oss4aix.org/download/RPMS/screen/screen-4.0.3-1.aix5.1.ppc.rpm

But, there are some dependencies like ‘GNU Info’ and ‘GNU Gettext’.
http://www.perzl.org/aix/index.php?n=Main.Info
http://www.perzl.org/aix/index.php?n=Main.Gettext

There is another dependency, GNU BASH, but we’re not going to install it because we use KSH shell.

Once all rpm’s  files are on AIX box:

# ls -ltr
total 7600
-rw-r--r--    1 root     system       824861 Oct 30 12:57 gettext-devel-0.17-1.aix5.1.ppc.rpm
-rw-r--r--    1 root     system      2223925 Oct 30 12:57 gettext-0.17-1.aix5.1.ppc.rpm
-rw-r--r--    1 root     system       560723 Oct 30 12:57 screen-4.0.3-1.aix5.1.ppc.rpm
-rw-r--r--    1 root     system       276171 Oct 30 12:59 info-5.2-1.aix5.1.ppc.rpm

let’s install all rpm’s files:

rpm -ivh *.rpm
gettext                     ##################################################
gettext-devel               ##################################################
info                        ##################################################
screen                      ##################################################

To verify the instllation:

# /tmp/rpms -> rpm -qa|grep screen
screen-4.0.3-1
# /tmp/rpms -> which screen
/usr/bin/screen

Now it’s time to play with GNU screen.

Type ‘screen’ with no options on the shell:

# screen

then Ctrl+A+? and you will all screen parameters:

                                              Screen key bindings, page 1 of 1.

                                              Command key:  ^A   Literal ^A:  a

 break       ^B b        hardcopy    h           monitor     M           remove      X           version     v
 clear       C           help        ?           next        ^@ ^N sp n  removebuf   =           width       W
 colon       :           history     { }         number      N           reset       Z           windows     ^W w
 copy        ^[ [        info        i           only        Q           screen      ^C c        wrap        ^R r
 detach      ^D d        kill        K k         other       ^A          select      '           writebuf    >
 digraph     ^V          lastmsg     ^M m        pow_break   B           silence     _           xoff        ^S s
 displays    *           license     ,           pow_detach  D           split       S           xon         ^Q q
 dumptermcap .           lockscreen  ^X x        prev        ^H ^P p ^?  suspend     ^Z z
 fit         F           log         H           quit        \           time        ^T t
 flow        ^F f        login       L           readbuf     <           title       A
 focus       ^I          meta        a           redisplay   ^L l        vbell       ^G

^]  paste .
"   windowlist -b
-   select -
0   select 0
1   select 1
2   select 2
3   select 3
4   select 4
5   select 5
6   select 6
7   select 7
8   select 8
9   select 9
I   login on
O   login off
]   paste .

Let’s see common examples with GNU screen:

  • Open a new screen and execute ‘topas’ command:
# screen
# topas

Press Ctrol+A+d to detach the screen session and getback the shell prompt.

[detached]
  • Reattach the above screen:
# screen -r

And you will see topas running. Ctrol+A+d again to detach:

[detached]
  •  List screens available
# screen -ls
There are screens on:
        10158258.pts-0.aix    (Detached)
        7798960.pts-0.aix     (Detached)
2 Sockets in /tmp/screens/S-root.
  •  Reopen a screen session. For exampe, 7798960
# screen -r 7798960
  •  Switching between scrren sessions. Yes, you can!!.
    Just press Ctrol+A+n
  • Lock a screen session. Just run Ctrol+A+x inside the session:
# screen -r 7798960
Screen used by  <root>.
Password:
  •  Leaving screen session.
    Just type:
# exit
[screen is terminating]

Finnaly you can find tons of information on internet regarding GNU’s screen.

Just thanks if the post was helpful 🙂

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About igalvarez

More than 20 years experiences on IT industry. 20+ years in Unix experience : IBM-AIX, HMC/SDMC/IVM, SVC, Protectier, PureFlex Systems, VIOservers, IBM Bladecenters, IBM System Power, RedHat Linux, SuSE Linux, Debian/Ubuntu Linux. Solaris, SCO Unix, Tru64 Unix, Linux Virtualization: XEN, KVM, databases sb2, oracle, postgreSQL, Find more information here: http://en.gravatar.com/igalvarez
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