I've learned that I can switch between virtual consoles by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F1–F12, and I've found that the graphical interface was usually running at either F7/F8 (now on F2).
Why does this vary, and is there a way to predict it?
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X uses the first free virtual terminal, and the first six are now allocated for gettys by upstart from
/etc/init/tty[1-6].conf, and traditionally by init from
To choose a specific virtual terminal for X, you pass it the parameter 'vtXX' (see X -help) , where XX is the desired terminal number. There are a bunch of ways to pass parameters to X, but that is stuff for another question. :)