Edit: it seems Arch now uses TTY7 for X by default, so this question is irrelevant

I've used Debian derivates (*buntu, CrunchBang), Mandriva, OpenSuSE, Fedora, name it.. all of them had X server at TTY7 (at least I think it was 7), accessed with:

Ctrl + Alt + F7

Now, I moved to Arch, and it's on TTY1 now -

Ctrl + Alt + F1

All the others are regular TTY's with login prompt.

Why is that? Is it perhaps because Arch uses Systemd?

  • 4
    It depends on how you start X. – StrongBad Jul 9 '14 at 18:53
  • 6
    Someone once asked Spike Milligan “what are you doing here”, he answered “everyone has to be somewhere”. – ctrl-alt-delor Jul 9 '14 at 18:54
  • A better question may be “how do I move it to tty7”? – ctrl-alt-delor Jul 9 '14 at 18:55
  • This is a good question, although richard is right in the sense that it's not specific to Arch. I mostly use fedora (which uses systemd) but I use a non-graphical boot target and startx -- then X starts on the same TTY. But contra @StrongBad my ubuntu and I believe debian installs (which also don't boot to a GUI, i.e., also require startx) do start on another TTY > 6. I'm guessing it has something to do with where a (potentially non-existent) display manager is supposed to be. – goldilocks Jul 9 '14 at 20:20
  • Well, I'm mostly surprised by the change. I don't really care what F-key I have to use (that is needed only after I break graphics driver etc). I assumed the TTY7 is sort of a convention or a default X setting or something, so I'm wondering why Arch is different. – MightyPork Jul 9 '14 at 20:35

This was changed in October 2012 during/after the migration to systemd/logind. According to a bug report, running the X server on a different tty than the active consolekit session caused things to break because the session on (for example) TTY7 would not be authenticated . Without logind, one could use ck-launch-session in ~/.xinitrc to get a new session for the X server. However, this didn't work anymore with logind, so /etc/X11/xinit/xserverrc was changed to just start the X server on the current tty.

  • Interesting, so basically it's just a workaround for a bug in logind? – MightyPork Jul 10 '14 at 11:43
  • I don't understand the inner workings of *Kit and logind enough to really answer that question but to me it sounds like a reasonable decision to not automatically transfer sessions from one tty to another. And remember, ck-launch-session was basically (afaiu) made to work around the same limitation. – Wieland Jul 10 '14 at 16:11
  • The question is specific to Arch Linux, as is the answer. People are referring to this from elsewhere as a more general answer, however. It is not. The reason that X uses the first virtual terminal on Fedora, for example, pre-dates the very existence of systemd by some years. This question and answer explicitly limit themselves to Arch. – JdeBP Oct 23 '16 at 10:37

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