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How do you switch between Linux virtual terminals over a serial terminal connection?

I'm trying to install Debian on a Beagleboard via the serial console. I'm using screen (screen /dev/ttyUSB0 115200) in Gnome Terminal as my terminal emulator. Unfortunately the primary debian-installer text interface goes unresponsive during the install, though I'm pretty sure it still has a couple of virtual terminals open with dmesg-type info that I could use to troubleshoot.

I've tried Alt+F[1-7], but those seem to get consumed by Gnome Terminal or my window manager. Ctrl+Alt+F[1-7] are consumed by my local system, as are Alt+F[1-7] when I switch away from X.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Serial connections do not have virtual terminals. If you need to have more than one application running via a serial connection then you will need to use screen.

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To expand, "virtual" terminals are displayed on the host itself and only emulate a serial terminal. A serial terminal is a "real" terminal, not virtual. –  CarlF Feb 15 '11 at 17:52

Give this a try:

sudo chvt 2

to switch to virtual terminal 2, for example.

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