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cmus is a ncurses based music player with support for remote control. It uses plugins to support a multitude of media formats and works with many audio systems.


USE flags

USE flags for media-sound/cmus Ncurses based music player with plugin support for many formats

aac Enable support for MPEG-4 AAC Audio
alsa Add support for media-libs/alsa-lib (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture)
ao Use libao audio output library for sound playback
cddb Access cddb servers to retrieve and submit information about compact disks
cdio Use libcdio for CD support
debug Enable extra debug codepaths, like asserts and extra output. If you want to get meaningful backtraces see
discid Enable reading the ID of the inserted CD
elogind Enable MPRIS support via sys-auth/elogind
examples Install examples, usually source code
ffmpeg Enable ffmpeg/libav-based audio/video codec support
flac Add support for FLAC: Free Lossless Audio Codec
jack Add support for the JACK Audio Connection Kit
libsamplerate Build with support for converting sample rates using libsamplerate
mad Add support for mad (high-quality mp3 decoder library and cli frontend)
mikmod Add libmikmod support to allow playing of SoundTracker-style music files
modplug Add libmodplug support for playing SoundTracker-style music files
mp4 Support for MP4 container format
musepack Enable support for the musepack audio codec
opus Enable Opus audio codec support
oss Add support for OSS (Open Sound System)
pidgin Install support script for net-im/pidgin
pulseaudio Add sound server support via media-libs/libpulse (may be PulseAudio or PipeWire)
sndio Add support for media-sound/sndio
systemd Enable MPRIS support via sys-apps/systemd
tremor Use libivorbis from media-libs/tremor instead of media-libs/libvorbis
unicode Add support for Unicode
vorbis Add support for the OggVorbis audio codec
wavpack Add support for wavpack audio compression tools


root #emerge --ask media-sound/cmus


Set the password for remote control:

set password=password

Set output plugin:

set output_plugin=pulse

Possible settings:

  • pulse
  • alsa
  • oss
  • sndio
  • jack
  • ao


As a server

Start in a detached app-misc/screen session

user $screen -d -m cmus --listen

The default setting is to listen on port 3000

user $cmus-remote --server --passwd password
For some reason passing localhost to cmus-remote does not work.

We will be ably to enter commands from standard input such as:



look at how tmux or screen handle keys