I am running Tmux 2.2 on Arch Linux. I tend to use it from a raw TTY console, rather than an xterm in a window manager. I have GPM installed and running, however I cannot seem to get GPM and Tmux to work together at all.

I've enabled the mouse functions with setw -g mouse on however, none of the operations actually function. Selecting a panel/window doesn't work; and I cannot use the mouse in mouse-enabled applications running in Tmux, such as MidnightCommander. MC works with the mouse outside of Tmux, but not inside.

Is there a way to get GPM and Tmux to get along? Or does tmux rely on X11 to handle the mouse interaction?

Thanks in advance!

  • Have you tried other apps inside tmux besides MC? I had some odd experiences myself with mc/tmux together which were working fine with mc only.
    – schaiba
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 19:06
  • @schaiba Yeah, vim is the other one I primarily use; mouse actions do not get passed to it either, even when vim is set with mouse=a
    – Chris
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 19:07
  • afaik tmux doesn't rely on X to handle mouse interactions, that's what gpm is for.
    – schaiba
    Commented May 5, 2016 at 7:04

1 Answer 1


Short: no.

Long: it does not work because gpm and tmux make conflicting interpretations about the TERM environment variable.

  • gpm checks if TERM begins with "xterm", and if so does nothing more in Gpm_Open than return a file descriptor. This is done for clients (the gpm server works as designed).
  • the Linux console reportedly provides for an application initializing it and enabling a subset of xterm-style mouse controls. gpm will not do this, because it checks TERM.
  • tmux could (somehow) determine that it is really talking to gpm on Linux console, but that isn't done (too specialized).
  • 1
    Not even with some creative environment var manipulation? I presume not...
    – Chris
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 13:40
  • 1
    No - reading the code and a quick check with vttest in tmux, what I see is that the application (tmux) would have to fill in the initialization parts that gpm might have done rather than simply returning a file descriptor. Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 19:45
  • 1
    Wow, I really appreciate you looking so deep into this :) Thanks!
    – Chris
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 20:20
  • no problem (it's related to one of my FAQs) Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 20:21

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