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Linux® Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible by Richard Blum

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Chapter 2. Getting to the Shell

IN THIS CHAPTER

  • Discussing terminal emulation

  • Examining the terminfo file

  • Looking at xterm

  • Exploring Konsole

  • Playing with GNOME Terminal

In the old days of Linux, all that was available to work with was the shell. System administrators, programmers, and system users all sat at the Linux console terminal entering text commands, and viewing text output. These days, with our fancy graphical desktop environments, it's getting harder just to find a shell prompt on the system to work from. This chapter discusses what is required to provide a command line environment, then walks you through the terminal emulation packages you may run into in the various Linux distributions.

Terminal Emulation

Back before the days of graphical desktops, the only way to interact with a Unix system was through a text command line interface (CLI) provided by the shell. The CLI allowed text input only, and could only display text and rudimentary graphics output.

Because of this restriction, output devices did not have to be very fancy. Often a simple dumb terminal was all that was required to interact with the Unix system. A dumb terminal was usually nothing more than a monitor and keyboard (although later on in life they started getting fancier by utilizing a mouse) connected to the Unix system via a communication cable (usually a multi-wire serial cable). This simple combination provided an easy way to enter text data into the Unix system and view text results.

As you well know, things ...

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