If you don’t know about ClusterSSH, it’s a project that builds on M-x term and ssh to offer a nice and simple way to open remote terminals. It’s available in ELPA and developed at github cssh repository.

The default binding is C-= and asks for the name of the server to connect to, in the minibuffer, with completion. The host list used for the completion comes from tramp and is pretty complete, all the more if you’ve setup ~/.ssh/config with HashKnownHosts no.

So the usual way to use cssh.el would be to just open a single remote connection at a time. But of course you can open as many as you like, and you get them all in a mosaic of term in your emacs frame, with an input window at the bottom to control them all. There were two ways to get there, either opening all remote hosts whose name is matching a given regexp, that would be using C-M-= or getting to IBuffer and marking there the existing remote terms you want to control all at once then use C-=.

Well I’ve just added another mode of operation by supporting enhanced dsh group files. In such files, you’re supposed to have a remote host name per line and that’s it. We’ve added support for line containing @group kind of lines so that you can include another group easily. To use the facility, either open your ~/.dsh/group directory in dired and type C-= when on the right line, or simply use the global C-= you already know and love. Then, type @ and complete to any existing group found in your cssh-dsh-path (it defaults to the right places, so chances are you will never have to edit this one). And that’s it, Emacs will open one term per remote host you have in the dsh group you just picked. With a *cssh* controler window, too.

Coming next, how I solved my init.el dependancies burden thanks to el-get!