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If I drop to a hard shell (TTY1) I know I can trigger stuff by starting DISPLAY=:0 ... and switch back to see it running. How would I trigger a shell window this way?

Specifically what goes where the ... is?

(To make things more complicated, perhaps: the shell version in TTY1 is 12.04 but I am upgraded to 14.10, although not yet restarted).

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Aside from the 5 other TTYs running (TTY2-TT6), you need to use a terminal multiplexer like screen or tmux to get multiple shells in a single TTY. Given your package management problems, installing either might be difficult. You can, of course, try to launch a terminal emulator in the GUI:

DISPLAY=:0 xterm
DISPLAY=:0 gnome-terminal
DISPLAY=:0 x-terminal-emulator
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  • xterm worked well enough (although I couldn't figure out how to copy/paste from to it) but the other was a command not found. Still you did exactly answer my question and swiftly. :) Apr 23, 2015 at 14:59
  • Your updated answer read my mind. gnome-terminal was exactly what I needed. So now I can copy output for asking question. Thank you. Apr 23, 2015 at 15:44

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