By default, console switching is done using Alt-Fn or Ctrl-Alt-Fn.
X (or recent versions of
dosemu), only Ctrl-Alt-Fn works.
Many keymaps will allow cyclic walks through all allocated consoles
using Alt-RightArrow and Alt-LeftArrow.
XFree86 1.3 does not know that Alt is down when you switch to the X window. Thus, you cannot switch immediately to some other VT again but have to release Alt first. In the other direction this should work: the kernel always keeps track of the up/down status of all keys. (As far as possible: on some keyboards some keys do not emit a scancode when pressed (e.g.: the PFn keys of a FOCUS 9000) or released (e.g.: the Pause key of many keyboards).)
XFree86 1.3 saves the fonts loaded in the character ROMs when started,
and restores it on a console switch. Thus, the result of
a VT is wiped out when you go to X and back.
setfont under X will lead to funny results.
One can change VT under program control using the
This question still comes up from time to time, but the answer is:
you already have enough of them.
Since kernel version 1.1.54, there are between 1 and 63 virtual
consoles. A new one is created as soon as it is opened. It is
removed by the utility
deallocvt (but it can be removed only when
no processes are associated to it anymore, and no text on it has been
selected by programs like
For older kernels, change the line
#define NR_CONSOLES 8
include/linux/tty.h(don't increase this number beyond 63), and recompile the kernel.
If they do not exist yet, create the tty devices with
c 4 N where N denotes the tty number. For example,
or, better (since it also takes care of owner and permissions),
for i in 9 10 11 12; do mknod /dev/tty$i c 4 $i; done
for i in 9 10 11 12; do /dev/MAKEDEV tty$i; done
If you want the new VCs to run
getty, add lines in
(But it is much better to have only two
and to create more consoles dynamically as the need arises.
That way you'll have more memory when you don't use all these consoles,
and also more consoles, in case you really need them.
/etc/inittab and comment out all
for the first two.)
When the consoles are allocated dynamically, it is usually easiest
to have only one or two running
getty. More are opened by
open -l -s bash. Unused consoles (without associated processes)
are deallocated using
But, you say, I am involved in activities when I suddenly need more
consoles, and do not have a bash prompt available to give the
Fortunately it is possible to create a new console upon a single
keystroke, regardless of what is happening at the current console.
If you have
kbd-1.04.tar.gz and you put
loadkeys << EOF alt keycode 103 = Spawn_Console EOF spawn_login &
/etc/rc.local, then typing Alt-UpArrow will create a fresh VC running
login(and switch to it). With
spawn_console &instead of
spawn_login &you'll have bash running there. See also
What action should be taken upon this Spawn_Console keypress
can also be set in
if you have a recent
init. See inittab(5).
(This action can be something entirely different - I just called the key Spawn_Console because that is what I used it for. When used for other purposes it is less confusing to use its synonym KeyboardSignal. For example, some people like to put the lines
kb::kbrequest:/sbin/shutdown -h now
in their keymap. Now Ctrl-Alt-End will do a system shutdown.)
control alt keycode 79 = KeyboardSignal control alt keycode 107 = KeyboardSignal
You can only login as "root" on terminals listed in
There exist programs that read terminal settings from files
/etc/ttytype. If you have such
files, and create additional consoles, then it might be a good idea
to also add entries for them in these files.
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Created 1996-2023 by Maxim Chirkov
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