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I'm not sure If I have my terminology correct here so please bare with me.

When pressing CTRL + ALT + f1-f7 to change virtual terminals, how is this different from using the linux command line tool screen to split a terminal session and open a new session with CTRL + A, c?

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There are a number of technical similarities and differences, but the one difference that should matter to you is that unlike the virtual consoles, using screen, you can attach to a screen session from any terminal connection to that computer:

  • other virtual consoles
  • terminal emulators running in X
  • an ssh (or telnet) connection from another computer

All that is necessary for this ability to attach:

  • you have permission (usually, running as the same user)
  • the screen session is on the machine where you want to attach

Once you have attached to a screen session, that terminal acts (well, not "just like") as if you were connected on the original terminal where you started screen.

You can do the same with tmux, of course, but their sessions are separate — just like virtual consoles.

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