[openbox] Switching to console does not work.

Mathias Dufresne mathias.dufresne at gmail.com
Thu May 22 03:48:04 EDT 2014


It could be normal, or not. I had similar issue years ago because of some
bug involving my graphic card driver (nvidia card, non-open driver). When
switching to consoles, the screens were black. This was solved by updating
my system. Perhpas you could try to update a little bit that 10.04...

But it can be also a normal behaviour of your system, if your system is
configured to not run any console one these screens. Keyboard shorcuts are
working you'll arrive on the screen you asked for, but nothing would run on
it, nothing would be displayed.

To check if you have something running on your console screens:
the easy way (not working in case of systemd):
ps ax | getty
 2513 tty1     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/getty 38400 tty1
 2514 tty2     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/getty 38400 tty2
 2515 tty3     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/getty 38400 tty3
 2516 tty4     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/getty 38400 tty4
 2517 tty5     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/getty 38400 tty5
 2518 tty6     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/getty 38400 tty6

Here my six getty giving me prompt on tty1 to tty6.

the other way:

I expect Ubuntu 10.04 is not running systemd so you should still have a
/etc/inittab file.

Here is one /etc/inittab, from one Debian so it should not be too different
from yours:

# /etc/inittab: init(8) configuration.
# $Id: inittab,v 1.91 2002/01/25 13:35:21 miquels Exp $

# The default runlevel.

# Boot-time system configuration/initialization script.
# This is run first except when booting in emergency (-b) mode.

# What to do in single-user mode.

# /etc/init.d executes the S and K scripts upon change
# of runlevel.
# Runlevel 0 is halt.
# Runlevel 1 is single-user.
# Runlevels 2-5 are multi-user.
# Runlevel 6 is reboot.

l0:0:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 0
l1:1:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 1
l2:2:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 2
l3:3:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 3
l4:4:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 4
l5:5:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 5
l6:6:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 6
# Normally not reached, but fallthrough in case of emergency.

# What to do when CTRL-ALT-DEL is pressed.
ca:12345:ctrlaltdel:/sbin/shutdown -t1 -a -r now

# Action on special keypress (ALT-UpArrow).
#kb::kbrequest:/bin/echo "Keyboard Request--edit /etc/inittab to let this

# What to do when the power fails/returns.
pf::powerwait:/etc/init.d/powerfail start
pn::powerfailnow:/etc/init.d/powerfail now
po::powerokwait:/etc/init.d/powerfail stop

# /sbin/getty invocations for the runlevels.
# The "id" field MUST be the same as the last
# characters of the device (after "tty").
# Format:
#  <id>:<runlevels>:<action>:<process>
# Note that on most Debian systems tty7 is used by the X Window System,
# so if you want to add more getty's go ahead but skip tty7 if you run X.

*1:2345:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty12:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400
tty23:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty34:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400
tty45:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty56:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty6*

# Example how to put a getty on a serial line (for a terminal)
#T0:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttyS0 9600 vt100
#T1:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttyS1 9600 vt100

# Example how to put a getty on a modem line.
#T3:23:respawn:/sbin/mgetty -x0 -s 57600 ttyS3

In bold the six lines asking to /sbin/init to run /sbin/getty.

The first lines of man getty gives that:
       agetty opens a tty port, prompts for a login name and invokes the
/bin/login  command.  It  is normally invoked by init(8).

You can use "man inittab" to have more information on that file and its

In short: each lines asks to run a getty on the system. Each line is for
one and only one "console screen" (one line for ctrl + alt + F1, one line
for ctrl + alt + F2, etc...).

One line has several elements separated by ":"

Let's explain the first line, for console screen number one :
*1:2345:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty1*
1: for configuring console screen number 1
2345: this line will be used when running the system in runlevels 2 to 5.
respawn: if the getty process is killed for any reason, restart it.
the element is the full command /sbin/init will have to launch.

Kindly regards,


2014-05-22 9:07 GMT+02:00 Mindaugas B <minde.b at gmail.com>:

> I am using Openbox without a desktop environment (The lightweight
> approach). So "gnome-settings-daemon" i understand will not help.
> Console switching shortcut is config of Os is think. And this shortcut
> works Ctrl +Alt + FN (just in some strange way, shows only black screen).
> After switching to other console i do not see clear picture, like
> something happened to video driver or some viewing mode.
> On Thu, May 22, 2014 at 8:26 AM, Genghis Khan <genghiskhan at gmx.ca> wrote:
>> You may either set this shortcut as </keybind> in file rc.xml or add
>> gnome-settings-daemon to file autostart.sh.
>> On Fri, 16 May 2014 12:16:14 +0300
>> Mindaugas B <minde.b at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > After install of openbox can not switch normally to console using
>> > Shortcuts Ctrl +Alt + FN.
>> > Shortcut work but see only dark screen, no login lines.
>> > Switching back to tty8 where openbox launched, see desctop normally.
>> >
>> > OS Ubuntu 10.04
>> > Openbox 3.4.10
>> >
>> > Note: when Gnome was used, no such problem existed.
>> --
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