RE: Back to AfterStep

Bruce Richardson (
Thu, 11 Mar 1999 11:53:03 -0000

>From the console man page (I'll append some comments):

CONSOLE(4)	    Linux Programmer's Manual	       CONSOLE(4)

       console - console terminal and virtual consoles

       A  Linux	 system	 has up to 63 virtual consoles (character
       devices with major number 4 and minor  number  1	 to  63),
       usually	called	/dev/ttyn with 1 <= n <= 63.  The current
       console is also addressed by  /dev/console  or  /dev/tty0,
       the  character device with major number 4 and minor number
       0.  The device files /dev/* are usually created using  the
       script  MAKEDEV, or using mknod(1), usually with mode 0622
       and owner root.tty.

       Before kernel version 1.1.54 the number	of  virtual  con-
       soles  was  compiled  into  the	kernel (in tty.h: #define
       NR_CONSOLES 8) and could be changed by editing and  recom-
       piling.	Since version 1.1.54 virtual consoles are created
       on the fly, as soon as they are needed.

       Common ways to start a process on a console are: (a)  tell
       init(8)	(in  inittab(5))  to start a getty(8) on the con-
       sole; (b) ask open(1) to start a process on  the	 console;
       (c)  start  X - it will find the first unused console, and
       display its output there.   (There  is  also  the  ancient

       Common  ways  to	 switch	 consoles  are: (a) use Alt+Fn or
       Ctrl+Alt+Fn to switch to console n; AltGr+Fn  might  bring
       you  to console n+12 [here Alt and AltGr refer to the left
       and right Alt keys, respectively]; (b) use  Alt+RightArrow
       or  Alt+LeftArrow to cycle through the presently allocated
In other words, the console is what you are working on (text console, not 
X).  The line

exec '/usr/local/bin/afterstep' > /dev/console

directs the standard output (stdout) from the afterstep program to the text 
console you ran startx from - you can switch back there (see man page 
above) to see it.  Actually,

exec '/usr/local/bin/afterstep' > /dev/console 2>&1

would be better, as it sends error output (stderr) to the console as well.

If you run xconsole (in .Xclients, say) then it will capture the console 
output and you can see these messages from X.