When comparing VirtualBox w/ any Linux distro + Terminator vs tmux, the Slant community recommends tmux for most people. In the question“What are the best terminal emulators for Windows?” tmux is ranked 16th while VirtualBox w/ any Linux distro + Terminator is ranked 27th. The most important reason people chose tmux is:
As long as you don't close your session, you may even lose your SSH connection, it'll keep your state just as it was. So you can resume where you left off (via `tmux attach`).
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Pro Runs Pre-configured virtual machines
Allows you to run your virtual machines pre-configured by you or others.
Virtual Box versions for:
-- Windows 7/8/10
-- All Linux installations
-- MAC OS x
-- Solaris 10/11
Virtual OSs include:
-- Oracle Linux 5/6/7.x (RHEL clones)
-- Occassionally a Windows Beta
Oracle itself provides many free VMs, pre-configured with various software stacks and hands-on lab materials for learning, geared toward. These have helped me earn three of my Oracle certifications:
-- Oracle Database development
-- Oracle DBA
-- MySQL development
-- Java Standard/Enterprise development
-- Big data
-- Webcenter portal & others
Pre-installed software in or more of the various stacks includes:
-- Oracle Database 11/12
-- Enterprise Mgr
-- Cloudera, etc.
Pro Supports modern shells
Whether you prefer zsh, bash, or fish, Linux will support it.
Pro Isolated from Windows
VirtualBox provides almost total isolation from Windows running underneath it, removing a lot of security issues.
Pro Free / Libre Software
While the OS underneath it is proprietary and does spy on you or actively violate your freedom, so to speak, you can still have a little piece of mind knowing that VirtualBox (your Linux distro and shell of choice) as well as Terminator are all FOSS.
Pro Preserve the state
As long as you don't close your session, you may even lose your SSH connection, it'll keep your state just as it was. So you can resume where you left off (via
Pro Maximize screen space
As a tiling window manager, it'll make use of all the space. As you have multiple workspaces and you can resize, etc. you can adjust to see what matters most.
Pro Easily split panes
There is a keyboard shortcut that makes it easy to split a window and create more panes.
Pro Mouse support
Mouse support can optionally be enabled, allowing e.g. scrolling with the mouse wheel, or switching panes with mouse clicks.
Pro Windows linked to sessions
tmux calls the individual shell instances windows. They are displayed like tabs in the status line. These windows can be shared between different sessions, so that any given shell instance can be in any number of tmux sessions used for different purposes or by different users. This allows configurations like the following example: User A: wAB, wA1, wA2; User B: wB1, wAB, wB2
Open ~/.tmux.conf to get started. You can customize keybindings, the bottom status bar, color schemes, the clock screen, your time zone, and more.
Pro Only need to learn a few keyboard shortcuts and commands to make much headway
Pro Frequently updated
Tmux is in a state of constant development. Updates are frequent and bug reports usually get an answer within days.
Con Install a whole operating system for one program
You would need to install the entire Linux distribution just for one single program.
Con Slightly slower than just running Linux
The Windows + VirtualBox layer introduces some overhead that wouldn't be present if Linux were installed directly on the machine.
Con Poorly designed key binding
Counter-intuitive keyboard shortcuts make tmux very hard to use and learn.
Con Bad scrolling support
Con No builtin telnet or serial support
It's considered bloat by the maintainers and for this reason there's no builtin support for them.