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Getting to the Shell

IN THIS CHAPTER

Accessing the command line

Reaching CLI via a Linux console terminal

Reaching CLI via a graphical terminal emulator

Using the GNOME terminal emulator

Using the Konsole terminal emulator

Using the xterm terminal emulator

In the old days of Linux, all you had to work with was the shell. System administrators, programmers, and system users all sat at something called a Linux console terminal entering shell commands and viewing text output. These days, with graphical desktop environments, it's getting harder to find a shell prompt on the system in order to enter shell commands. This chapter discusses what is required to reach a command line environment. It walks you through the terminal emulation packages that you may run into in the various Linux distributions.

Reaching the Command Line

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 display only text and rudimentary graphics output.

Because of these restrictions, output devices were not very fancy. Often, you needed only a simple dumb terminal to interact with the Unix system. A dumb terminal was usually nothing more than a monitor and keyboard connected to the Unix system via a communication cable (usually a multiwire serial cable). This simple combination ...

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