Open a console

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Sometimes in your Linux life, it is important to open a console in order to send commands to the computer. These commands will be interpreted by a shell. When you open a console, you will be presented with a shell prompt typically giving your computer's hostname (in this case it is tweedleburg) like this:

tweedleburg:~ #

This means you can start typing commands.

There are several ways to open a console. The most general, which should work in any Desktop environment, is to open the main menu by clicking on the labelled button in the bottom left hand corner or on the desktop itself. Then choose "Terminal" or "Console" from the menu.

Depending on your Desktop environment, installed software and distribution, one or more of the following short cuts might work for you:

  • press ALT_F2 to get a shell prompt and type "xterm", then ENTER. This works for most distributions, since xterm is the most widely available console program.
  • Some desktops provide more sophisticated consoles than xterm. For example, in KDE, you can press ALT_F2 and type "konsole", then ENTER. konsole is very user-friendly.
  • hold ALT and Ctrl keys while pressing "t". This works in Ubuntu, Xubuntu and maybe others.
  • Right-click the desktop, and select "Terminal Emulator", works in Xubuntu.
  • On Ubuntu 18.04 which runs Gnome desktop you can press the square of dots in the left south side of the screen and type "terminal" (without the quotes). Alternatively you can press the terminal icon in the bar on the left side of the screen. It will be a black square.
You will often find console examples here like
# command1


$ command2

In these command examples do not type '$' or '#' because $ signifies that the command is run as a normal user and # means the command is being run as the root user.

See also