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I use ytalk on one of my servers for training purposes (only local users can connect) - so that a shared shell sessions can be opened (a la screen -x) and comments can be added while a session is ongoing.

Is it possible to have ytalk display in side-by-side windows instead of top-and-bottom?

Or might it be better to use screen, and then have a shell session opened inside emacs so comments/notes can be made in the other buffer?

Or is there another good way of accomplishing this that doesn't involve having to use funky Java tools like webex?

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You should try using tmux instead of screen(1). You can split a screen window in two, but only horizontally. tmux can do vertical splits too.

Then you could run your commands on one side and run ytalk on the other side for your comments.

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interesting workaround, but not the same as putting the ytalk windows side-by-side :( –  warren Mar 10 '11 at 14:27

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