Reasons to use the text console on a Linux box.

Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 framebuffer console.
Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 framebuffer console.

The virtual console on a Linux box is a good way to access the command line on a UNIX or Linux system. There are a few virtual consoles available on a machine. Press Ctrl-Alt-F2 to access the virtual console. Hold the Alt key and use the arrow keys to switch between virtual consoles. There is a wide range of console fonts available for the console. There is an easy way to change them. This way the console can be personalized. Issuing the tty command as a normal user will tell you which virtual console you are on.

[email protected]:~$ tty

The fgconsole command is also an alternative. This will print the number of the virtual console you are using. The chvt 3 command will switch the user to virtual console number 3. The text console is a distraction free environment if the user is a writer and needs a quiet screen to fill with text. The Music On Console, or moc player is a lightweight music player that may be used on the virtual console. Midnight Commander is a nice file manager. Allowing easy management of files and editing text for programming and/or editing configuration files.

The origin of the term TTY is TeleTYpewriter. These were a printer with a keyboard attached. The user would type a command and hit enter and the output would be on paper, not a screen. I have added a video below that shows a TeleTYpewriter in action.

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