I am running Ubuntu 14.04. My desktop environment (compiz and unity) sometimes becomes frozen, which makes it difficult to save my work including text editing in emacs running in gnome terminal.

After I switch to a text console by Ctrl+Alt+F1, I know I can't access the running programs with GUI. But is it possible to access the opened programs in the gnome terminal session, so that I can access my emacs session that is running in the gnome terminal?

  • 1
    You can run emacs as a daemon and connect to it with emacsclient. Another option is to use screen.
    – jordanm
    Apr 1, 2015 at 3:17
  • The gnome terminal session is a running program with GUI. What do you mean by "you cannot access the running programs"?
    – Anthon
    Apr 1, 2015 at 5:39
  • 1
    @Anthon: I meant I can't access the running programs with GUI in a text console after Ctrl-Alt-F1.
    – Tim
    Apr 1, 2015 at 10:40
  • @Tim so you don't want to access the gnome-terminal, just the programming running it. Your question was a bit self contradictory, I tried to make that less so.
    – Anthon
    Apr 1, 2015 at 10:50

1 Answer 1


If this happens often, consider running your emacs session in the Gnome Terminal withintmux. That way you can connect from the console with tmux attach and save whatever needs saving.

If you don't use tmux, reptyr can allow you to reconnect the emacs session to your console for further editing.

Setting emacs` autosave might help as well in case you have to reboot your system without being able to save.

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