- GNU Screen
Shells, terminals, and consoles
The short version:
- A shell is an input and output screen with a prompt. There’s technically a shell running somewhere underneath your POSIX desktop, even when it’s not visible (because it’s a shell that launched your user session).
- A terminal is an application running within a graphics server (such as X11 or Wayland) with a shell loaded into it. A terminal is only running when you have a terminal window launched. It’s more or less a “portal” into your shell.
- “Console” or “virtual console” is a term usually used to imply a shell running outside of your desktop. You can get to a virtual console by pressing Alt-Ctrl-F2 (more are usually available from F3 up to F7, with F1 or F7 representing your desktop, depending on your distribution).
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