I am installing ubuntu server in a vmware vm. In the expert installer there is this question (I guess this is the same in the debian installer):

Please enter a space delimited list of virtual consoles you use

and the standard setting is:


I wonder if I can reduce this to maybe 1-2. I am not sure what it exactly means. I will only use one "physical" console for install one time and maybe later for emergencies, but normally only ssh remote login consoles.

Maybe this is related to this faq entry:


So my question is: what does it change if I reduce this to 1-2? I am wondering on each install.

EDIT: I selected this for my install:


But later on the running instance I got 6 consoles with Alt-1 .. Alt-6 on the vmware console nonetheless. Strange. There are 6 instances of getty showing up in the processlist.

EDIT 2: I should have added that this was the Ubuntu 10.04 server install Disk (i386) "Lucid Lynx" beta 2


Yes, it should be fine to reduce the number of virtual consoles. To access these consoles, you press Ctrl-Alt-Fx where by default, Fx = F1-F6. A separate logon shell is assigned to each of these VCs. If you don't need them, reducing the number should have no negative consequences.

  • 1
    It's Fx (as in Ctrl-Alt-F1 and so on), not just x – grawity Jan 24 '10 at 14:55
  • Good call - it had been a while since I'd actually used virtual consoles, so I'd forgotten that part. I'll update the answer accordingly. – EEAA Jan 24 '10 at 20:11

Interesting, this has just taught me that init on Ubuntu (hardy at least) doesn't use /etc/inittab any more, it uses a service-per-file model via /etc/event.d/

Have a look in /etc/event.d - init reads this directory to work out what to start, there will be a file for each of your gettys running on tty[123456]. Remove the unnecessary tty* files and reboot, make sure you leave tty1 at least though!

I expected there to be a way to tell init to just re-read this directory, but all the normal ways of saying 'your configuration has changed', like 'kill -HUP 1' and 'init 2' did not work. Odd, this was normal when you had /etc/inittab. If anyone knows how to get init to reread this directory, please shout.

  • I know a good site where you could ask :) (Make another question...) – gbarry Jan 24 '10 at 20:50

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