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By terminals I mean the ones you can switch to using Ctrl+Alt+F1-F6.

I know I'm able to login multiple times but does this have any side-effects?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

*NIX is by design a multi-user system, so there is not going to be an issue by logging in multiple times on available consoles. This was "the way" to be productive before the advent of mulitplexing terminal programs such as screen. I still know individuals who run *NIX workstations with no X-windows, preferring to use multiple consoles, and usually screen, to perform their work.

The only thing to be aware of is that by default the consoles are not password protected once you log in. Anybody could walk up and begin executing commands as your logged in user.

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So screen (and more recently tmux seems to be similar too) is the preferred way to run multiple applications at the same time? I sometimes have to work without X and this will probably make it a bit easier, thanks! – Henry Heikkinen Apr 20 '12 at 14:31
Screen works in a terminal, so it doesn't matter if it is on a console tty or in an X-window terminal. The main advantage to screen is "detaching" from the screen and your sessions continue to run, even when logged out. You can reattach to the screen session and continue your work. – uther Apr 20 '12 at 14:37
Thank you for the explanation. I assume I can have multiple sessions running too. Sounds pretty awesome; I will definitely try them later. – Henry Heikkinen Apr 20 '12 at 16:11

There IS one side effect, when you run an application which can have concurrent access on the same file. One example is the .bash_history file, which will be overwritten when bash exits.

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