When comparing cmus vs tmux, the Slant community recommends tmux for most people. In the question“What are the best shell powertools?” tmux is ranked 1st while cmus is ranked 9th. 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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A lot of music players will be slow when starting if they have huge libraries, but CMus starts fast no matter the library size.
Pro CLI only
CLI makes Cmus clean, fast and minimalist.
Pro Does not use a lot of memory
Cmus only uses about 15 MB. This is a very small and light media player, which is ideal for people with low end hardware.
Pro Customizable keybindings for a personal experience
You can add keybindings for just about anything - including seeking (forward/backwards 1 minute, for example) which isn't supported by all music players.
Pro Good library structure
A lot of music players may act more like playlist viewers rather than a music library. cmus sorts by Artist > Year > Album.
Pro Open source extensions and scripts
On GitHub you can find the official WIKI where there are a dozen extensions and scripts from color themes to a lyrics viewer and the ability to play YouTube songs.
Pro Works very well with tags from MusicBrainz database
cmus will factor in additional data from the MusicBrainz database while sorting. For example sort orders for arist or album, and the original release date for an album (in the case of a re-release).
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 Difficult to use
Cmus uses odd keyboard shortcuts such as "C" to pause, "E" to add songs to queue, and "4" to edit the queue.
Con Can't play wavepack files
Con CLI only
No graphical interface is available for cmus. Everything is done through CLI (command line interface).
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.