How to switch between TTY consoles in Linux

Home > Search > How-to
  by

When using the Terminal in Linux, or when in runlevel 1, the text-only interface will be a TTY or PTS console. In this example, the interface is a TTY console.

 

In the middle of the 19th century, before Unix was developed, timeshare systems had terminals that allowed you to interact with a primitive computer. The timeshare system allowed you to send output to a teletypewriter, and the teletypewriter would print the output. Similar to the timeshare systems, Unix systems also use a terminal. The Unix systems also had the capability of sending output to a teletypewriter. In Unix, a teletypewriters was abbreviated to TTY, which is how TTY became synonymous with a Unix terminal. While teletypewriters are no longer used to interact with a Unix computer, the abbreviation TTY is still used to represent the Linux Terminal.

 

Linux computers have numerous TTY virtual consoles, such as /dev/tty1, /dev/tty2, /dev/tty3, et cetera. The tty command will display which TTY virtual console is being used. In this example, /dev/tty1 is being used.

[john.doe@server1 ~]# tty
/dev/tty1

 

The following commands can be used to switch between TTY virtual consoles.

  • tty1 = Ctrl + Alt + F1
  • tty2 = Ctrl + Alt + F2
  • tty3 = Ctrl + Alt + F3
  • tty4 = Ctrl + Alt + F4
  • tty5 = Ctrl + Alt + F5
  • tty6 = Ctrl + Alt + F6

/dev/tty7 is typically used to get a graphical environment, such as GNOME, KDE, or Unity. Ctrl + Alt + F7 can be used to swtich to TTY7.

 


Pseudo Terminal Slave (/dev/pts/0)

When making a connection to a Linux computer using some other application, such as SSH or PuTTY, a pseduo terminal slave (pts) session is used. The tty command will display which pts session is being used. The Ctrl + Alt + F# combinations will not work when you have an SSH connection. Instead, you would simply make multiple SSH connections to have multiple virtual consoles.

[john.doe@server1 ~]# tty
/dev/pts/0

 


/dev/console

/dev/console can be any TTY device, such as /dev/tty1, /dev/tty2, /dev/tty3 or any PTS device such as /dev/pts/0, /dev/pts/1, or /dev/pts/2. The console is set when the system is booted. In this example, when the system is booted, /dev/console will be set to /dev/tty1 with a baud rate of 9600. The ioctl command can be used to choose what device the console should be associated with (see man tty_ioctl).

console=tty1,9600

 



Add a Comment




We will never share your name or email with anyone. Enter your email if you would like to be notified when we respond to your comment.




Please enter in the box below so that we can be sure you are a human.




Comments