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Eternal Terminal

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


Integration tests

Circle: CircleCI

Linux: Linux CI

Packaging status

Packaging status



The easiest way to install is using Homebrew:

brew install MisterTea/et/et

Then if you want a daemon to launch etserver on every boot:

On m1 (Apple Silicon) Macs:

sudo sed 's:/usr/local/bin/etserver:/opt/homebrew/bin/etserver:g' ../init/launchd/ | sudo tee /Library/LaunchDaemons/
sudo launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/

On x86 Macs:

sudo cp ../init/launchd/ /Library/LaunchDaemons/
sudo launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/

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

Or see "Debian/Ubuntu" below to install and build from source (e.g., for ARM).


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 tee /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/et.gpg >/dev/null
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 protobuf-devel \
    	protobuf-compiler cmake gflags-devel libcurl-devel
  • Gentoo:

    sudo emerge dev-libs/boost dev-libs/libsodium \
    	dev-libs/protobuf dev-util/cmake dev-cpp/gflags

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
# Add if it doesn't work on Apple Silicon but should work without it
if [[ $(uname -a | grep 'arm\|aarch64') ]]; then export VCPKG_FORCE_SYSTEM_BINARIES=1; fi
cmake ../
make && sudo make install

To run an et server for testing, run ./etserver. To run an et server daemon persistently across reboots:

sudo cp ../init/launchd/ /Library/LaunchDaemons
sudo launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/


Grab the deps and then follow this process.

Debian/Ubuntu Dependencies:

sudo apt install libboost-dev libsodium-dev \
	libprotobuf-dev protobuf-compiler libgflags-dev libutempter-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev \
    build-essential ninja-build cmake git zip

Fetch source, build and install:

git clone --recurse-submodules
cd EternalTerminal
mkdir build
cd build
# For ARM (including OS/X with apple silicon):
if [[ $(uname -a | grep 'arm\|aarch64') ]]; then export VCPKG_FORCE_SYSTEM_BINARIES=1; fi
cmake ../
make package
sudo dpkg --install *.deb
sudo cp ../etc/et.cfg /etc/

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

CentOS 7

Install dependencies:

sudo yum install epel-release
sudo yum install cmake3 boost-devel libsodium-devel protobuf-devel \
     protobuf-compiler gflags-devel protobuf-lite-devel libcurl-devel \
     perl-IPC-Cmd perl-Data-Dumper libunwind-devel libutempter-devel

Install scl dependencies

sudo yum install centos-release-scl
sudo yum install devtoolset-11 devtoolset-11-libatomic-devel rh-git227

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

git clone --recurse-submodules
cd EternalTerminal
mkdir build
cd build
scl enable devtoolset-11 rh-git227 'cmake3 ../'
scl enable devtoolset-11 '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 --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.