Working with the X console
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Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Posts: 4043
Location: East Coast, West Coast? I know it's one of them.
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Sometimes you want to be in the x console, sometimes you want to be in gui mode, here's a nice tutorial that will explain the basics.

Actually, I'll explain the real basics: hit ctrl+F1-F6, and you'll switch between available x consoles. Hit cntrl+F7-F12 and you'll be switched back to the still running window manager, gui.

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Pressing the key combination <Ctrl><Alt><F1> will switch you to to the first text console at any time. <Ctrl><Alt><F2> will switch you to the second text console, <Ctrl><Alt><F3> to the third text console, etc, up to <Ctrl><Alt><F6>, for the total of 6 text consoles. <Ctrl><Alt><F7> will switch you to the first graphical user interface (GUI) console if one is running. <Ctrl><Alt><F8> to the second GUI console, etc., up to <Ctrl><Alt><F11> for the total of 5 GUI consoles. The 12th console is either used as the 6th GUI (RedHat 6.1) or a place to which kernel messages are continually displayed (Mandrake 7.0, really cool feature). Typically none or only the first GUI console is running.

But read the whole article, it's good to know this stuff, I wasn't clear on it exactly, now I know. has more on the terminal. That's part of their Linux terminal how-to series. If somehow you lived this long without learning all about the terminal this is the day to fix that problem.

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/dev/tty stands for the controlling terminal (if any) for the current process. To find out which tty's are attached to which processes use the "ps -a" command at the shell prompt (command line). Look at the "tty" column. For the shell process you're in, /dev/tty is the terminal you are now using. Type "tty" at the shell prompt to see what it is (see manual pg. tty(1)). /dev/tty is something like a link to the actually terminal device name with some additional features for C-programmers: see the manual page tty(4).

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