Re: console and a terminal

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console and a terminal

What is the difference between a console and a terminal?
Steven Schweda
Honored Contributor

Re: console and a terminal

In this context, a console normally means
the device which is used to talk to a
computer before its operating system is
running. In some cases, a serial terminal,
like a VT220 (or some other device which
emulates one) is used. In other cases, the
computer may have a workstation keyboard and
graphic display which (together) can be used
as its console.

Long ago, actual terminals (even printing
terminals) were common. HP even made some.
Now, there are probably more PCs in use
running some kind of terminal emulation
program than there are actual terminals.

With some operating systems, the console
device, whatever it is, may have greater
privileges than other terminals, allowing,
for example, "root" logins when these are not
allowed from other terminals.
Honored Contributor

Re: console and a terminal

A terminal is any character based interface to the system, usually running a login prompt and issuing a command line shell. Generally, _real_ terminals are peripherals to the system. For example, a keyboard and monitor attached to a serial port on a machine on older shared systems.

The console is the main terminal to the system. At boot, that is where the boot messages appear and the first login prompt. When a system is "single user", the console will usually be the only available terminal.
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