I have already looked at this question and the solution works insofar as I can get an image displayed in my virtual console. However, if I first launch a tmux inside the virtual console, and then try fbi <imagename>, this fails with the following error.

using "DejaVu Sans Mono-16", pixelsize=16.67 file=/usr/share/fonts/truetype/dejavu/DejaVuSansMono.ttf
ioctl VT_GETSTATE: Inappropriate ioctl for device (not a linux console?)

Is there a workaround for this, such as some setting for tmux that will allow it to work with fbi?

  • I know this is quite old but did you ever find a solution to this? I've seen different sites that say it's impossible but then I also see others that talk as though it is possible.
    – Rick
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 16:38
  • @Rick, Nope I didn't find a solution.
    – merlin2011
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 19:11
  • Per fbi man page: fbi also needs access to the linux console (i.e. /dev/ttyN) for sane console switch handling. That is obviously no problem for console logins, but any kind of a pseudo tty (xterm, ssh, screen, ...) will not work. So it probably won't work
    – Miati
    Commented Sep 27, 2015 at 17:04
  • 2
    Note: fbi-improved (fim) works ok inside tmux. Mutt inside tmux, viewing attached images with ~/.mailcap: "Image/JPEG;fim %s", also tested - ok. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 17:42

1 Answer 1


Run fbi -vt 1 <imagename> with root privilege. It will show the image in console 1 which is activated by Alt-F1.

openvt -c 1 -f fbi <imagename> would also do the trick. But my test result shows that the console openvt occupied would restart after fbi finished.

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