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May 28, 2021
Nov 19, 2016

Eternal Terminal

Eternal Terminal is a remote shell that automatically reconnects without interrupting the session.


Integration tests

Circle: CircleCI

Linux: Linux CI



The easiest way to install is using Homebrew:

brew install MisterTea/et/et

Alternatively, a package is available in MacPorts:

sudo port install et


For Ubuntu, use our PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jgmath2000/et
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install et

Install and build from source:

sudo apt install build-essential libgflags-dev libprotobuf-dev protobuf-compiler libsodium-dev cmake git
git clone --recurse-submodules
cd EternalTerminal
mkdir build
cd build
# On ARM or OS/X with apple silicon:
cmake ../
make && sudo make install
sudo cp ../etc/et.cfg /etc/

Once built, the binary only requires libgflags-dev and libprotobuf-dev.


For debian, use our deb repo. For buster:

echo "deb buster main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/et.list
curl -sSL | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt update
sudo apt install et

CentOS 7

Up to the present day the only way to install is to build from source.

CentOS 8

sudo dnf install epel-release
sudo dnf install et


On FreeBSD, use:

pkg install eternalterminal

Fedora (version 29 and later):

sudo dnf install et


zypper ar -f obs://network
zypper ref
zypper in EternalTerminal

Other Linux

Install dependencies:

  • Fedora (tested on 25):

    sudo dnf install boost-devel libsodium-devel ncurses-devel protobuf-devel \
    	protobuf-compiler cmake gflags-devel
  • Gentoo:

    sudo emerge dev-libs/boost dev-libs/libsodium sys-libs/ncurses \
    	dev-libs/protobuf dev-util/cmake dev-cpp/gflag

Download and install from source:

git clone --recurse-submodules
cd EternalTerminal
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ../
sudo make install


Eternal Terminal works under WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux). Follow the ubuntu instructions.

Docker Image

See docker/


Verify that the client is installed correctly by looking for the et executable: which et.

Verify that the server is installed correctly by checking the service status: systemctl status et. On some operating systems, you may need to enable and start the service manually: sudo systemctl enable --now et.

You are ready to start using ET!


If you'd like to modify the server settings (e.g. to change the listening port), edit /etc/et.cfg.


ET uses ssh for handshaking and encryption, so you must be able to ssh into the machine from the client. Make sure that you can ssh user@hostname.

ET uses TCP, so you need an open port on your server. By default, it uses 2022.

Once you have an open port, the syntax is similar to ssh. Username is default to the current username starting the et process, use -u or user@ to specify a different if necessary.

et hostname (etserver running on default port 2022, username is the same as current)
et user@hostname:8000 (etserver running on port 8000, different user)

You can specify a jumphost and the port et is running on jumphost using -jumphost and -jport. If no -jport is given, et will try to connect to default port 2022.

et hostname -jumphost jump_hostname (etserver running on port 2022 on both hostname and jumphost)
et hostname:8888 -jumphost jump_hostname -jport 9999

Additional arguments that et accept are port forwarding pairs with option -t="18000:8000, 18001-18003:8001-8003", a command to run immediately after the connection is setup through -c.

Starting from the latest release, et supports parsing both user-specific and system-wide ssh config file. The config file is required when your sshd on server/jumphost is listening on a port which is not 22. Here is an example ssh config file showing how to setup when

  • there is a jumphost in the middle
  • sshd is listening on a port which is not 22
  • connecting to a different username other than current one.
Host dev
  User fred
  Port 5555

With the ssh config file set as above, you can simply call et with

et dev (etserver running on port 2022 on both hostname and jumphost)
et dev:8000 -jport 9000 (etserver running on port 9000 on jumphost)

Building from source


To build Eternal Terminal on Mac, the easiest way is to grab dependencies with Homebrew:

brew install --only-dependencies MisterTea/et/et
git clone --recurse-submodules
cd EternalTerminal
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ../


Grab the deps and then follow this process:

Debian/Ubuntu Dependencies:

sudo apt install libboost-dev libsodium-dev libncurses5-dev \
	libprotobuf-dev protobuf-compiler cmake libgflags-dev libutempter-dev cmake git

Source and setup:

git clone --recurse-submodules
cd EternalTerminal
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ../
sudo make install

CentOS 7

Install dependencies:

sudo yum install epel-release
sudo yum install cmake3 boost-devel libsodium-devel ncurses-devel protobuf-devel \
     protobuf-compiler gflags-devel protobuf-lite-devel

Install scl dependencies

sudo yum install centos-release-scl
sudo yum install devtoolset-8

Download and install from source (see #238 for details):

git clone --recurse-submodules
cd EternalTerminal
mkdir build
cd build
scl enable devtoolset-8 'cmake3 ../'
scl enable devtoolset-8 'make && sudo make install'
sudo cp ../systemctl/et.service /etc/systemd/system/
sudo cp ../etc/et.cfg /etc/

Find the actual location of et:

which etserver

Correct the service file (see #180 for details).

sudo sed -ie "s|ExecStart=[^[:space:]]*[[:space:]]|ExecStart=$(which etserver) |" /etc/systemd/system/et.service

Alternativelly, open the file /etc/systemd/system/et.service in an editor and correct the ExectStart=... line to point to the correct path of the etserver binary.

 ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/etserver --daemon --cfgfile=/etc/et.cfg

Reload systemd configs:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Start the et service:

sudo systemctl enable --now et.service

Building using Docker

Builder Dockerfiles are located at deployment/. Supported OSes: CentOS 8, openSUSE and Ubuntu.

Reporting issues

If you have any problems with installation or usage, please file an issue on github.