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The Linux Programming Interface by Michael Kerrisk

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Chapter 62. Terminals

Historically, users accessed a UNIX system using a terminal connected via a serial line (an RS-232 connection). Terminals were cathode ray tubes (CRTs) capable of displaying characters and, in some cases, primitive graphics. Typically, CRTs provided a monochrome display of 24 lines by 80 columns. By today’s standards, these CRTs were small and expensive. In even earlier times, terminals were sometimes hard-copy teletype devices. Serial lines were also used to connect other devices, such as printers and modems, to a computer or to connect one computer to another.

Note

On early UNIX systems, the terminal lines connected to the system were represented by character devices with names of the form /dev/ttyn. (On Linux, the /dev/tty ...

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