The Unix Heritage Society mailing list
 help / color / mirror / Atom feed
From: Warner Losh <>
To: Paul Ruizendaal <>
Cc: "" <>
Subject: [TUHS] Re: virtual consoles / Alt-Fx
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2023 09:30:03 -0600	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

[-- Attachment #1: Type: text/plain, Size: 2668 bytes --]

On Mon, Mar 13, 2023 at 9:13 AM Paul Ruizendaal via TUHS <>

> Thinking a bit more about terminal multiplexing was a major use case for
> early X, I recalled using Linux virtual consoles in the late 90’s for this
> purpose.
> According to Wikipedia, virtual consoles originated with Xenix and before
> that with concurrent CP/M.
> Perusing the documentation of those on Bitsavers, I can see that virtual
> consoles have a prominent mention in the manual for concurrent CP/M (1983),
> but not those of its forerunners MP/M II and MP/M (1979). I cannot find a
> mention of virtual consoles in Xenix documentation as late as 1988.

Venix/86R 1.0 Boston Softwre Works Edition had virtual consoles. It was
released in 1986. is a
reference. However, it was inspired by Xenix and Microport System V/AT
according to the author. The stock version of Venix/86R 1.0 didn't have
them, nor did the PC version that we have some sources for. Here's the
relevant bits from the blurb:

Virtual consoles, as found in VENIX on IBM-compatible machines, and also in
XENIX and Microport System V/AT.

But also interesting was:

Support for simultaneous use of a monochrome display (for terminal/console
use) and a color graphics display (for graphics).

which I thought interesting at the time, but was pretty old-school Unix
Workstation by then.

No such thing as a virtual (as distinct from pseudo) tty on 16-bit Unix or
> early 32-bit, as far as I know; one could argue it does not make much sense
> with physical terminals. Wikipedia says no such thing existed on SunOS
> either.
> I think virtual consoles where present in Linux from a very early point.

Ditto for the 386BSD BSD/386 line of  code. I think they were added in the
patch-kit phase, not the original Jolitz code phase. FreeBSD 1.0 Beta had
them in 1993 for sure, as did NetBSD of the time.

I have a memory of them on 0.98pl13 on Linux as well, but that version
sticks in my head as a proxy for anything between 0.96 (the first one I
tried) and 0.99 (the last before 1.x Linux). This would be approximately
1992 or 1993.

I've not done the deep-dive into the ancient code bases to see if I can
suss out when they arrived.

> So, as far as I can tell virtual consoles were invented for concurrent
> CP/M around 1983, made their way to Xenix in the late 80’s and became part
> of Linux in the early 90’s.
> Have I missed other prior art?

Maybe a little. Good information about Microport System V is kinda hard to
come by these days...


[-- Attachment #2: Type: text/html, Size: 3907 bytes --]

  parent reply	other threads:[~2023-03-13 15:30 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 22+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2023-03-13 15:12 [TUHS] " Paul Ruizendaal via TUHS
2023-03-13 15:24 ` [TUHS] " Clem Cole
2023-03-13 15:27   ` Clem Cole
2023-03-13 16:17     ` Paul Winalski
2023-03-13 15:41   ` Warner Losh
2023-03-13 15:48     ` KenUnix
2023-03-13 15:48     ` Clem Cole
2023-03-13 16:14     ` Dan Cross
2023-03-13 17:26       ` Miod Vallat
2023-03-13 20:35         ` Dan Cross
2023-03-14 16:42   ` Derek Fawcus via TUHS
2023-03-14 22:46     ` Charles H Sauer (he/him)
2023-03-15  4:26       ` Heinz Lycklama
2023-03-13 15:27 ` Ralph Corderoy
2023-03-13 15:30 ` Warner Losh [this message]
2023-03-14  3:27   ` Rik Schneider
2023-03-13 15:33 ` Ron Natalie
2023-03-13 15:45   ` Heinz Lycklama
2023-03-13 17:04   ` Ralph Corderoy
2023-03-13 15:49 ` Brad Spencer
2023-03-17  8:14 ` Marc Donner
2023-03-14  3:33 Rudi Blom

Reply instructions:

You may reply publicly to this message via plain-text email
using any one of the following methods:

* Save the following mbox file, import it into your mail client,
  and reply-to-all from there: mbox

  Avoid top-posting and favor interleaved quoting:

* Reply using the --to, --cc, and --in-reply-to
  switches of git-send-email(1):

  git send-email \
    --in-reply-to='' \ \ \ \

* If your mail client supports setting the In-Reply-To header
  via mailto: links, try the mailto: link
Be sure your reply has a Subject: header at the top and a blank line before the message body.
This is a public inbox, see mirroring instructions
for how to clone and mirror all data and code used for this inbox;
as well as URLs for NNTP newsgroup(s).