How Does Linux Work

How Does Linux Work – Framebuffer console showing nopix booting. The presence of the pguin graphic indicates that this is a framebuffer console as opposed to a text mode console.

The Linux console is the internal system console of the Linux kernel. The system console is a device that receives all kernel messages and warnings and allows single user mode login.

How Does Linux Work

The Linux console provides a way for the kernel and other processes to send text output to the user and receive text input from the user. A user typically enters text with a computer keyboard and reads the output text on a computer monitor. The Linux kernel supports virtual consoles—consoles that are logically separate but share the same physical keyboard and display.

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Linux consoles (and Linux virtual consoles) are implemented by the VT subsystem of the Linux kernel and do not depend on userspace software.

This is in contrast to a terminal emulator, which is a user-space process that emulates a terminal and is typically used in a graphical display environment.

The Linux console was one of the first features of the kernel and was originally written by Linus Torvalds in 1991.

(See History of Linux). There are two main implementations: framebuffer and text mode. The framebuffer implementation is the default in modern Linux distributions and provides kernel-level support for features such as display hardware and displaying graphics during system boot, including the kernel mode setting.

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A legacy text mode implementation was used in PC-compatible systems with CGA, EGA, MDA, and VGA graphics cards. Non-x86 architectures used framebuffer mode because their graphics cards did not implement text mode.

The Linux console is an optional kernel feature and most embedded Linux systems do not support it. These systems typically provide an alternative user interface (eg, web-based) or boot immediately into a graphical user interface and use it as the primary means of interacting with the user. Other Linux console implementations include Braille Console to support updatable Braille displays

The Linux console provides a way for the kernel and other processes to issue text-based messages to the user and receive text-based input from the user. Under Linux, several devices can be used as system consoles: a virtual terminal,

Some modern Linux-based systems have deprecated kernel-based text-mode input and output and instead display a graphical logo or progress bar when the system boots, followed by a graphical user interface (such as X.Org) that is immediately launched. -Server on desktop distributions or SurfaceFlinger on Android).

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During kernel boot, the console is used to view the kernel boot log. The boot log contains information about detected hardware and boot state updates. At this point the kernel is the only running software and therefore logging via user space (eg syslog) is not possible, so the console provides a convenient place to enter this information. When the kernel finishes booting, it runs the init process (also outputting sding to the console), which takes care of booting the rest of the system, including starting any background daemons.

After the init boot process is complete, the console is used to multiplex multiple virtual terminals (accessible by pressing Ctrl-Alt-F1, Ctrl-Alt-F2, etc., Ctrl-Alt-Left Arrow, Ctrl- Alt Right Arrow or chvt).

). Each virtual terminal runs a getty process, which runs /bin/login to authenticate the user. After authentication, the command shell runs. Like consoles, virtual terminals are supported at the Linux kernel level.

Linux implements the console terminal type “linux”, and the escape sequences it uses are in the console_codes man page.

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Virtual consoles allow multiple text buffers to be stored, which allow different console programs to run simultaneously but interact with the user in different contexts. From the user’s perspective, this creates the illusion of multiple separate consoles.

Each virtual console can have its own character set and keyboard layout. Linux 2.6 introduced the ability to load a different font for each virtual console (kernel versions prior to 2.6 only changed fonts as needed).

A text mode implementation is used on PC-based systems with older CGA/EGA/MDA/VGA graphics cards that implement a text-based video mode. In text mode, the kernel stores a 2D array of characters on the video card and converts the characters to pixels for video card display.

A text buffer is a portion of VGA memory that describes text content in terms of code points and character attributes. Code points in text buffers and fonts are typically not the same as the encoding used in text terminal semantics to bring characters to the screen. The set of glyphs on the screen is determined by the current font. Text is processed by scre console.c and

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Keyboard.c driver) provides almost full support for keyboard input (keyboard layout), but remains somewhat inconsistent because it interacts poorly with different character sets. Layouts are loaded from

These two utilities and their associated data files are packaged in the Linux console tools http://lct.sourceforge.net/ that come with many Linux distributions.

Efforts to internationalize Linux at the kernel level were started in 1994 by Markus Kuhn and Andries Brouwer.

A Linux console can support any VGA-style text mode, but the ability to set these modes in the kernel is very limited. SVGATextMode supports more complex text modes than the standard EGA and VGA modes. It is fully compatible with Console Tools but has some conflicts with Dosmoo, SVGLib and Display Server.

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Microsoft Windows (any version) does not provide full-featured console support. There is a comparable function, but only for application software, the Win32 console.

The Linux framebuffer (fbdev) is a graphics-hardware-independent abstraction layer originally implemented to allow the Linux kernel to emulate a text console on systems such as the Apple Macintosh that do not have a text-mode display. Now it offers text mode emulation for kernel space on any platform. Its advantage over SVGATextMode (currently not maintained) is reliability and better hardware compatibility. It also allows overcoming all technical limitations of VGA text mode.

The Linux framebuffer console differs from the VGA console only in how characters are drawn. Keyboard event handling and virtual console support are very similar.

The Linux serial console is a console implementation on a serial port enabled by the CONFIG_SERIAL_CONSOLE option in the kernel configuration. It can be used in some embedded systems and servers where direct interaction with the operator is not expected. A serial console allows the same mode of access to the system, but typically at a slower speed due to the lower bandwidth of RS-232. A serial console is commonly used during embedded system software development and is sometimes accessible through a debug port.

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These advanced sequences can control color, visual effects such as blinking, underlining, intensity and reverse video, ringer frequency and duration, and VESA screen blanking interval. Other than hiding text, there is no known way to put the VGA adapter in standby mode.

Development priorities include support for multi-monitor setups, Unicode font rendering with Pango, XKB keyboard handling, and GPU OpGL acceleration.

Complaints about the current kernel implementation include “it’s a kernel-space UI, the code is poorly maintained, the keyboard is handled poorly, font ordering is bad, mode setting is wrong, and multi-head support is missing, there is no multi-seat awareness, and limited hot -Plug handling is limited to VT102 compliance.

Full image of virtual text buffer; The first 4 bytes contain the row, column and cursor position Do everything well Send us a tip! Shop Subscribe Home Latest Food Tech Entertainment Health Money Home & Garden Parenting Work Relationships Travel Life In general we may earn commissions from links on this site.

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