I have a Macbook currently running Mac OS X Lion 1.5.7, and I primarily use the terminal for most of my work. While it is nice to have the terminal on top of the Aqua GUI, I would like to be able to boot right into the terminal, bypassing Aqua altogether. Note: by terminal, I do not mean Single-User mode, as that lacks much of the functionality that I would like.

My first attempt was to login as >console. While this was, in effect, the result I wanted, my Mac still had to start up the GUI beforehand.

From Googling this, I found many people suggesting that I perform some minor edits to /etc/ttys, however, these posts were all from around 2002. I tried making those changes, however, this seemed to have no effect, and it still boots as usual. As I understand it, I basically want the computer to boot normally, but simply stop before starting WindowServer.

Is there any way that I can set up my Mac to boot directly into the terminal, bypassing Aqua and the GUI altogether?

Below is the contents of my /etc/ttys:

#   @(#)ttys    5.2 (Berkeley) 6/10/93
# name  getty               type    status      comments
# To secure single-user mode, enable Firmware password protection.
# http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106482
console "/usr/libexec/getty std.57600" vt100 on secure
# console "/System/Library/CoreServices/loginwindow.app/Contents/MacOS/loginwindow" vt100 on secure onoption="/usr/libexec/getty std.9600"
#tahoe's only
#remote "/usr/libexec/getty std.1200"   pt  on      # diagnostics

# The tty.serial entry initializes the serial port (if any) for use as a 
# terminal (enabling logons over serial). If marked secure, the serial
# port will allow root logons. 
# To make the serial port available for outbound 
# communications, the tty.serial entry should be turned off
# (set the 4th field to off).
tty.serial      "/usr/libexec/getty serial.57600"        vt100   off secure

# Fax reception is off by default, use the 
# System Preferences panel to enable it.
fax "/usr/bin/fax answer"   unknown off

# Hardwired lines are marked off, by default, so getty(8)
# is quiet when they don't exist.
tty[00-07]  "/usr/libexec/getty std.9600"   unknown off secure

# pseudo-ttys
ttyp[0x0-0xf]   none            network slot=36
ttyq[0x0-0xf]   none            network
ttyr[0x0-0xf]   none            network
ttys[0x0-0xf]   none            network
ttyt[0x0-0xf]   none            network
ttyu[0x0-0xf]   none            network
ttyv[0x0-0xf]   none            network
ttyw[0x0-0xf]   none            network

# cloning ptys
ttys[000-999]   none            network
  • Even if there is a way, I have to say may of the features of iTerm2 make it worth loading a full gui. – demure Jun 22 '13 at 2:09
  • If Lion has an /etc/inittab file, that might be a productive place to look. – Scott Jun 22 '13 at 3:10

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