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Related to TTY numbers, it looks like there are 64 TTYs (find /dev -name 'tty[0-9]*' | cut -c 9- | sort -n | tail -n 1 and documentation). tty0 is the current virtual console, Ctrl+Meta+F1 reports that it's connected to tty1, and tty in a GNOME terminal reports that it's connected to /dev/pts/N. So what are /dev/ttyN for 12<N<64 used for?

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2 Answers 2

Again, as I answered to this question, it is entirely up to whoever sets the system up. Normally only a limited number of gettys are started, as people nowadays use X instead of a tty (or use screen(1)...), starting more than a handful is waste. If you want to start gettys on all 64, feel free.

The pty (and some other exotic starting letters) are pseudo ttys, faked by software to run e.g. xterms and other tty users, in contrast to the "real" ttys (which aren't so real anymore...).

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Normally they are unused .
All tty13tty63, when not specially activated, cost only 3 × 51 special files in /dev/ (one tty, one vcs, and one vcsa for each console), and 51 NULL pointers in the kernel memory. When a console is unused, kernel doesn’t allocate any data for it (besides aforementioned pointer in vc_cons[]).

Ask Linus Torvalds why he choose #define MAX_NR_CONSOLES 63 (and not 31, for example) in tty.h.

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