I read somewhere that you can use a socket do clientserver functionality but I can't figure out where the socket is.

Is it a file socket in the file system like mysql used to use?

Is it a tcp socket?

I don't see it mentioned anywhere in the remote.txt help file.

The reason I ask is that I'm using WSL2 and I can't seem to get a list of servers with vim --serverlist even though I have a Vim server running.

  • Does it maybe involve netrw- ?
    – leeand00
    Mar 6 at 22:54
  • It seems like nvim has the ability to do this, but requires an API be used to drive.
    – leeand00
    Mar 6 at 23:34
  • Do you have still something open in your question? How can we help you further? Mar 12 at 18:57

1 Answer 1


For the --serverlist functionality to work you need to have a version of Vim compiled with the clientserver functionality.

You can check if your version has been compiled with that functionality using the Vim command: :version

Remark: I have installed WSL2 with the default Ubuntu distribution and the clientserver functionality is not present. I fear you have the same problem.

With this you could:

  • Start Vim as a server with the following bash command:
vim --servername "VIM"
  • Query the server name associated to an instance (e.g. VIM or VIM1 or GVIM) with the following Vim command:
:echo v:servername
  • Send some keys to another instance with the following bash command:
vim --servername "VIM" --remote-send "iHello World!<Esc>"
  • 1
    But I have the Gtk3 version installed and it has +clientserver; I checked: askubuntu.com/questions/1378830/…
    – leeand00
    Mar 7 at 11:48
  • Maybe you could try the experiment I propose in my answer and let us know what are the intermediate result (I noticed that vim --server-list show me the list of server only for 1 second) Mar 7 at 12:04
  • 1
    I noticed that on Linux if no server name is given the server is not started. I have adapted the answer accordingly. Mar 7 at 12:17

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