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Ok. I have read the Terminal Howto (well, most of it), and this is what I have figured out so far (someone let me know if this is incorrect):
The linux Console is equivalent (or directed) to /dev/tty0 which is in turn equivalent to whichever /dev/tty you are logged into (ALT-F1 though F6). I am not sure how console and tty0 are redirected to the "current display" but it seems to work that way. The $TERM type is also "linux".
A terminal window run from X Windows is apparently a /dev/pts/x device with $TERM type xterm (in my case in redhat 8.0). Not sure exactly what a pty/ptm/pts device is. That part of the howto is over my head!
Does this sound correct?
If so, doen't this mean that, unless you are currently logged into a virtual console (ALT-F1-F6), you will not see console messages?
And lastly, is xterm still the general standard in terminal emulation from X? The howto seemed to indicate it is obsolete. And can xterm (or /dev/pts/x) display console messages?
When you log into X, you are switched to vt7 (if you are in X you need to hold down control as well as alt-F<N>). You can see the console messages for X by switching to the virtual terminal you logged into, say control-alt-F1. You see the messages generated by X. Alt-F7 takes you back to x.
I was just using the term x console to refer to whatever X terminal emulation program you prefer to use, be it gnome-terminal, aterm, eterm or whatever.
You can monitor the error messages in an x terminal this way (or you may have some log monitoring gui tool)
[phil@fancypiper phil]$ su -
[root@fancypiper root]# tail -f /var/log/messages
I had assumed that more than just /var/log/messages went to the console, but the simpler the better, I guess.
And I am going to push my luck and ask about one more thing in this thread.
The Terminal Howto brings up an interesting question that I can't find the answer to:
What exactly is the difference between a terminal emulator like xterm, and a communications terminal app like minicom (or hyperterminal in windows)? Aren't they btoh terminal emulators? If so, why the need for comm apps to issue AT commands to modems?