Using the text console in Linux Mint 13. How to use Linux the proper command-line way.

Posted: June 13, 2012. At: 11:00 AM. This was 5 years ago. Post ID: 4068

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

Using the text console in Linux Mint is very easy. Access it by pressing Ctrl-Alt-F1. Get back to Xorg by pressing Alt-F9. Some Linux distributions use the virtual terminal tty7 as the one reserved for Xorg, but this can vary. You may open many virtual consoles by pressing Alt-2, Alt-3, or pressing Alt and using the right and left arrow keys to move between them. Login using your username and password then you may use the text console. If you have multiple virtual consoles open you could have the mocp music player open in one and midnight commander running in another. The Linux virtual consoles may use many different fonts, some better than others, but this means that you may customize the look and feel of the text console to make it look better or to make the text larger to make the text console easier to use. On a Debian based system, type sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup to set various options related to the look and feel of the text console. The Terminus font is the best to use, there are many others available such as a handwriting font. I am surprised that Canonical have not disabled the text consoles in their Ubuntu Linux distribution, they are killing the reputation of Linux already with their buggy desktop Linux distribution.

The Macintosh operating system has access to the text consoles: http://macosx.com/forums/howto-faqs/7093-howto-boot-into-console-mode.html. This gives you access to the Darwin UNIX login prompt. This is good for practicing your command-line skills, with Linux Mint you can type sudo service MDM stop at the text console to shut down the graphical login manager and then just use the text consoles if you wish. I have a posting here that shows how to boot Ubuntu to a text prompt instead of the GDM login manager and this would work with Linux Mint 13 as well. The Linux console does support many amazing features such as using mplayer to play movies or watch television on the framebuffer console as well as displaying pictures. Modern Linux distributions do not seem to support this as much as older ones such as Mandrake Linux 10. But if you are watching television in a framebuffer console then you can not use it for anything else whilst the video application is running. I have even played Doom2 on the framebuffer console, using framebuffer support in SDL. But that was a long time ago. The fbi utility for Linux allows you to view images and PDF files on the framebuffer console: https://www.kraxel.org/blog/linux/fbida/ this would be very useful.

Compiling the links web browser with graphical support allows browsing on the framebuffer console and viewing images. That is a good way to use a text browser graphically and it is fast as well. You may get to the text console in Ubuntu on boot by following this posting: http://www.securitronlinux.com/uncategorized/booting-into-text-mode-console-in-ubuntu-12-04/. And this one explains how to set a better console font: http://www.securitronlinux.com/uncategorized/setting-a-larger-console-font-on-ubuntu-12-04/.

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