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wemux: Multi-User Tmux Sessions Made Easy

wemux allows you to start hosting a multi-user tmux session using the command wemux.

Clients (generally someone SSHed into another account on the host machine) have the option of:

Mirroring gives clients read-only access to the session, allowing them to see you work, or

Pairing allows the client and yourself to work in the same terminal (shared cursor) or work independently in another window (separate cursors) in the same tmux session.

How To Install

The rest of this readme will operate under the assumption you'll place wemux in wemux/ in your /usr/local/share directory. To make wemux available for all users, perform the following steps, using sudo as required:

Git clone this repo.

git clone git:// /usr/local/share/wemux

Symlink the wemux file into your $PATH such as /usr/local/bin/, being sure to use the full path.

ln -s /usr/local/share/wemux/wemux /usr/local/bin/wemux

IMPORTANT: Copy the wemux.conf.example file to /etc/wemux.conf

cp /usr/local/share/wemux/wemux.conf.example /etc/wemux.conf

Then set a user to be a wemux host by adding their username to the host_list in /etc/wemux.conf. Users in the host_list will be able to start new wemux sessions, all other users will be wemux clients and join these sessions.

host_list=(zolrath brocksamson)

Host Commands

wemux start

Use wemux start to start a wemux session, chmod /tmp/wemux-host to 1777 so that other users may connect to it, and attach to it. If a wemux session already exists, it will attach to it instead.

wemux attach

Use wemux attach to attach to an existing wemux session.

wemux stop

Use wemux stop to kill the wemux session and remove the /tmp/wemux-host socket.

wemux kick username

Use wemux kick <username> to kick an SSH user from the server and remove their wemux pair sessions.

wemux config

Use wemux config to open /etc/wemux.conf in your $EDITOR. Note this only works if you have the environment variable EDITOR configured.


When wemux is run without any arguments in host mode, it is just like running wemux start. It will reattach to an existing wemux session if it exists, otherwise it will start a new session.

Client Commands

All client commands notify the wemux session host that the user has attached/detached, and in what mode.

wemux mirror

Use wemux mirror to attach to Host in read-only mode.

wemux pair

Use wemux pair to attach to Host in pair mode, which allows editing.

wemux logout

Use wemux logout to remove your pair mode session.


When wemux is run without any arguments in client mode, its behavior attempts to intelligently select mirror or pair:

  • If the client does not have an existing pair session it will attach to the wemux session in mirror mode.
  • If the client has already started a wemux pair mode session, it will reattach to the session in pair mode.
  • By setting default_client_mode="pair" in wemux.conf this can be changed to always join in pair mode, even if a pair session doesn't already exist.

Other Commands

wemux passes commands it doesn't understand through to tmux with the correct socket setting.

wemux list-sessions is equivalent to entering tmux -S /tmp/wemux-host list-sessions

User List

wemux can display a list of connected users, indicating users in mirror mode with [m] at the end of their name.

If you'd like to see a list of all users currently connected to the wemux session, you have three options:

wemux users

Enter wemux users in the terminal to display a list of all currently connected wemux users.

$ wemux users
Users connected to 'host':
  1. furd
  2. csagan[m]

Status Bar

You can add the user list to your status bar by adding #(wemux status_users) where you see fit by editing your ~/tmux.conf file.

set -g status-right "#(wemux status_users)"

Display Message

If you'd rather display users on command via a tmux message, similar to the user attachment/detachment messages, by editing your ~/tmux.conf file. Pick whatever key you'd like to bind it to. Using t as an example:

unbind t
bind t run-shell 'wemux display_users'

Note that the tmux prefix should be pressed before t to activate the command.

User listing can be disabled by setting allow_user_list="false" in wemux.conf

Short-form Commands

All commands have a short form. s for start, a for attach, p for pair etc. For a complete list, type wemux help (or wemux h)

Multi-Host Capabilities

wemux supports specifying the joining different wemux sessions via wemux join <sessionname>. This allows multiple hosts on the same machine to host their own independent wemux sessions with their own clients. By default this option is disabled.

wemux will remember the last session specified to in order to make reconnecting to the same session easy. wemux help will output the currently specified session along with the wemux command list.

Changing sessions can be enabled by setting allow_session_change="true" in /etc/wemux.conf

Joining Different wemux Sessions

To change the wemux session run wemux join <session>

$ wemux join Project X
Changed wemux session from 'host' to 'project-x'
$ wemux
$ wemux stop
$ wemux reset
Changed wemux session from 'project-x' to 'host'

wemux join sessionname

Join wemux session with specified name.

wemux join sessionnumber

Alternatively, enter the session number displayed next to the session name
in `wemux list`.

  $ wemux j 3

Resetting the Session Name

In order to easily return to the default session you can run wemux reset

wemux reset

Joins the default wemux session: host

Active Session List

To list the name of all currently running wemux sessions run wemux list

wemux list

List all currently active wemux sessions.

$ wemux list
Currently active wemux sessions:
  1. project-x
  2. host    <- current session
  3. dont-get-lost

wemux join and wemux stop both accept either the name of a session, or the number indicated next to the session name in wemux list.

Listing sessions can be disabled by setting allow_session_list="false" in /etc/wemux.conf


There are a number of additional options that be configured in /etc/wemux.conf. In most cases the only option that must be changed is the host_list array. To open your wemux configuration file, you can either open /etc/wemux.conf manually or run wemux config

Host Mode

To have an account act as host, ensure that you have added their username to the /etc/wemux.conf file's host_list array.

host_list=(zolrath hostusername brocksamson)

Pair Mode

Pair mode can be disabled, only allowing clients to attach to the session in mirror mode by setting allow_pair_mode="false"

Default Client Mode

When clients enter 'wemux' with no arguments by default it will first attempt to join an existing pair mode session. If there is no pair session it will start a mirror mode session. By setting default_client_mode to "pair", 'wemux' with no arguments will always join a pair mode session, even if it has to create it.

This can be changed by setting default_client_mode="pair"

Changing Sessions

The ability to change sessions can be enabled by setting allow_session_change="true"

Listing Sessions

Listing sessions can be disabled by setting allow_session_list="false"

Listing Users

Listing users can be disabled by setting allow_user_list="false" in wemux.conf

Kicking SSH Users

Kicking SSH users from the server can be disabled by setting allow_kick_user="false" in wemux.conf


When a user joins a session in either mirror or pair mode, a message is displayed to all currently attached users:

csagan has attached in mirror mode.
csagan has detached.

This can be disabled by setting announce_attach="false"

In addition, when a user switches from one session to another via the wemux join <sessionname> command, their movement is displayed similarly to the attach messages.

If csagan enters wemux join applepie the users on the default session host will see:

csagan has switched to session: applepie

If csagan returns to default session with: wemux reset users on host will see:

csagan has joined this session.

This can be disabled by setting announce_session_change="false"

Automatic SSH Client Modes

To make an SSHed user start in a wemux mode automatically, add one of the following lines to the users .bash_profile or .zshrc

Option 1: Automatically log the client into mirror mode upon login, disconnect them from the server when they detach.

wemux mirror; exit

Option 2: Automatically start the client in mirror mode but allow them to detach.

wemux mirror

Option 3: Automatically start the client in pair mode but allow them to detach.

wemux pair

Option 4: Only display the connection commands, don't automatically start any modes.

wemux help

Please note that this does not ensure a logged in user will not be able to exit tmux and access their shell. If the user is not trusted, you must perform any security measures one would normally perform for a remote user.

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