I'm studying for the RHCSA and am trying to wrap my mind around a seemingly basic concept: terminal consoles. I don't understand how/why RHEL systems make 6 terminal consoles (/dev/ttyN) available for use. If I'm managing a server (or workstation for that matter), under what circumstances would I want to hop between terminals (e.g. Ctrl+Alt+F2)?

Wouldn't I just be connected to one terminal and work from there?

1 Answer 1


For convenience. It lets multiple users log in on the console (e.g. you can have a console running as root and one as non-root). It lets you start an X session on one and have another with a text mode session, and yet another with an SVGA application. Apart from SVGA which isn't really relevant nowadays, having X or screen makes multiple consoles mostly redundant. But since the cost is tiny and it's occasionally useful, most distributions still have it as a default feature.

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