In the early days of Linux (around1990s) all that was available was a simple text interface to the Linux operating system. This text interface allowed administrators to start programs, control program operations, and move files around on the system.
With the popularity of Microsoft Windows, computer users expected more than the old text interface to work with. This spurred more development in the OSS community, and the Linux graphical desktops emerged.
Back before the days of graphical desktops, the only way to interact with a Unix system was through a text command line interface (CLI) provided by the shell. The CLI allowed text input only, and could only display text and rudimentary graphics output.
As you well know, things are significantly different in today’s Linux environment. Just about every Linux distribution uses some type of graphical desktop environment. However, to access the shell you still need a text display to interact with a CLI.
Linux is famous for being able to do things in more than one way, and no place is this more relevant than in graphical desktops.
With all of the new graphical Linux desktop features, sometimes finding a way to get a CLI in a Linux distribution is an easy task.
One way to get to a CLI is to take the Linux system out of graphical desktop mode and place it in text mode. This provides nothing more than a simple shell CLI on the monitor, just like the days before graphical desktops. This mode is called the Linux console, since it emulates the old days of a hard-wired console terminal, and is a direct interface to the Linux system.
By default 6 command line consoles and on GUI console is available in Redhat system. They’re defined in start-ttys.conf file in the /etc/init directory.
To change between consoles, press ALT and the function key associated with the console. For example, the ALT-F5 key combination moves to the five console.
In the RHEL GUI, the ALT-F2 key combination is used to start the Run Application tool; therefore, you’ll need to press CTRL-ALT-F2 to move to that second virtual console.
At a text console login, you’d see the above prompt, which depends a bit on the release of RHEL, the version number of the kernel, and the system hostname:
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