I am doing the following thing (this is just an example, commads are more complex):

xterm -fa "Inconsolata" -e tmux new-session -s alpha &
disown %%
tmux new-window -t alpha bash
tmux new-window -t alpha zsh 

...which works perfectly when I type it in the terminal, giving me an xterm with a tmux session with three windows. BUT if I put the thing in a script, it will stop working with;

 no server running on /tmp/tmux-1153/default
 no server running on /tmp/tmux-1153/default

error, and just one window in the new tmux session alpha.

After a bit of experiments, I discovered that it will work again if I add a

sleep 5

(or similar) between the disown and the tmux new-window command. Clearly, the xterm has not finished to set-up before this command is run, and so tmux new-window is run before the session is created unless I put a delay there.

It works, but it's not elegant. Is there a way to tell tmux to wait until the session alpha is up?

  • 2
    Why not just start the window with the session: new -s alpha -n alpha bash? – jasonwryan Jul 1 '16 at 7:18
  • @jasonwryan I tried, but it's not working for my case --- I really want three windows in the new sessions... – Rmano Jul 1 '16 at 7:50
  • 1
    Three? You are only calling one in your example... – jasonwryan Jul 1 '16 at 7:55
  • @jasonwryan you're right, I've simplified this too much. Corrected. However, in the first case, I had two windows (the first one launched together with the xterm, and the second one opened by the tmux command) – Rmano Jul 1 '16 at 9:19
  • See my answer here: stackoverflow.com/questions/5609192/… – jasonwryan Jul 1 '16 at 19:35

You can do this in two ways:

  1. Use the sleep method. I see nothing really wrong about using sleep apart from sometimes failing if you choose a too short time. To fool-proof it, use

    while ! tmux has-session; do sleep 1; done


    while ! tmux has-session -t alpha; do sleep 1; done
  2. Use something like xtoolwait that starts an X client (your terminal emulator) in the background and returns when it has mapped its window.

If you go with the second option (which may be best), remember to remove the & at the end of the command starting your terminal, and it also becomes unnecesary to disown the job.

The command becomes:

xtoolwait xterm -fa "Inconsolata" -e tmux new-session -s alpha
tmux new-window -t alpha bash

If xtoolwait is not already installed on your Unix, it's likely available as a package (it's been around for ages). Use your package manager of choice to install it.

EDIT: From comments it seems as if tmux takes too long to spawn after the terminal has mapped its window even if xtoolwait is being used. So in this situation, I would go with looping over a sleep 1 call until the wanted tmux session exists.

  • Hmmm... seems not packaged anymore. Found here: github.com/dlitz/xtoolwait, testing... (does not compile. More testing needed. Umphhh...) – Rmano Jul 1 '16 at 9:22
  • Ok. It almost work. xtoolwait will wait until the xterm is mapped, but not until the tmux is up. So I can use a smaller sleep, but I still have to use a sleep (in my new example, it fails the first tmux, then the second succeed... – Rmano Jul 1 '16 at 9:32
  • 1
    @Rmano while ! tmux has-session; do sleep 1; done. Answer updated, and I'll add more soon. – Kusalananda Jul 1 '16 at 9:34
  • 1
    Yep, that works. The while with tmux has-session -t alpha (I have other sessions around) is doing the trick. I was even starting to look into some inotify trick on the socket, but this is more straightforward. Thanks! – Rmano Jul 1 '16 at 9:40

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