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I have two OpenVZ VPSes running Ubuntu.

In one, I connect with ssh console-ABC@ip-1 and see this text:

Last login: Sun Sep  4 03:41:41 2011 from 82.208.149.201
Starting PowerConsole v1.1 <> (c)2010 soluslabs ltd.
please wait...
successfully logged in.
entered into CT 165

In the other one, I connect with root@ip-2 and get the shell prompt directly.

Obviously, I prefer the last one, since I can set ssh keys, rsync will work etc.

But I would like to know why would a VPS provider choose to offer a console. Is it more secure for them or what?

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Might want to read the answers for this unix.SE question: unix.stackexchange.com/questions/4126/… –  Wesley Sep 4 '11 at 1:26
    
@WesleyDavid Thanks for the link, but my question is narrower. Updated title. –  scribu Sep 4 '11 at 1:31

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Your general question is not really answerable. There is no clear difference between "a shell" and "a console" in functional terms. There are nuances ...

As conventionally used (in the UNIX / Linux) a shell deals with interpreting the shell language, running commands, maintaining session state, and leaves the mechanics of user input and output to something else. The something else might be the OS / hardware, or it might be something like a local or remote xterm. One usage of the term "console" is for the thing that does that bit.

But the term "console" is also used to refer to something that provides higher level functionality; i.e. something that extends or subsumes the functionality of a classical shell, to provide something closer to what the user is presumed to want to do ... most of the time. I suspect that this is the case here.

So to answer your question:

But I would like to know why would a VPS provider chose [sic] to use a console. Is it more secure for them or what?

It depends on the console software involved. It could be because the console is more secure; i.e. it is easier for them to manage what you can / can't do. It could be that it is easier for them to provide the average user with management functionality for the virtual ... without having to take a course in Linux/UNIX system administration. It could be a combination of these and other things.

(Whether is is actually more secure for them probably depends on the technical ability of their admin staff.)

But the question is moot: they have chosen. If you really don't like it, your best option is to change to another provider.

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It turns out I had normal shell access all along.

I was trying to use the IP for PowerConsole (which I assume is the same for all the VPSes).

Once I switched to the IP of my VPS, everything worked as expected.

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You cannot screw up the "console", it will always be there for you. On the other hand you can lock yourself out if you misconfigure ssh.

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1  
Well, mucking around with the tty settings can lock you out of the console.. –  pauska Dec 13 '11 at 14:39

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