4

The default "command character" for GNU-screen is C-a, which collides with the default key combination for move-beginning-of-line in Emacs, and for the analogous command of many other interfaces.

It is difficult to find an alternative command character for GNU-screen that does not collide with some common Emacs binding. And for users of org-mode the problem is considerably worse.

I figure that there must be enough users of both GNU-screen and org-mode (and also of Emacs, of course) for there to be a widely accepted solution to this problem.

  • 1
    "...widely accepted solution..." I like your optimism. – Emacs User Nov 20 '15 at 18:55
  • I use tmux, so I'm not sure if the keybinding also works on screen, but I use M-0 (Alt-zero). I chose the character since its a numeric prefix, but there is hardly ever a reason to use 0 as a prefix, and in any case C-0 would work in the same manner – Joafigue Nov 20 '15 at 20:25
6

Not sure how widely accepted this is, but C-z works reasonably well. By default in emacs that is bound to suspend-frame, and shell uses it for suspend/background task. Emacs also binds C-x C-z to suspend-frame so there is another binding anyway. If escape ^Zz is set for screen, C-z z will send a C-z to the nested process to background.

This also works for tmux with

set -g prefix C-z                                                                                         
unbind C-b                                                                                                
bind C-z send-prefix    

For tmux this means sending C-z to a nested application can be accomplished with C-z C-z.

Some additional reasons why C-z is a good idea:

  • suspend is a means of multi-tasking in a single shell session, whereas default workflow in screen/tmux is to open a new nested shell.
  • suspend is still available but only one extra keystroke away (which befits the frequency of it's use for my workflow)
  • It's an easy single hand binding (which might not be great for RSI) but makes it easier to use one-handed (if eating or mostly reading).
  • In most other contexts it's bound to undo.
  • 1
    C-z is a great solution not just for screen, but also tmux -- perhaps could even become a "widely accepted solution." – Emacs User Nov 21 '15 at 5:10
  • 1
    C-z is very useful to put Emacs in the background. I use C-o as my control character. It's not perfect, it coincides with open-line, but I don't use that as often. – suvayu Nov 21 '15 at 17:34
1

C-j is rarely used inside or outside Emacs, and it's right on the home row.

0

C-b is only used for backward-char.

  • Yes this is a reasonable compromise if the C-z solution as proposed by dgtized is not possible for some reason. – Emacs User Nov 21 '15 at 5:07

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