"The Linux console is what you see when you do not run a
graphical desktop. If you are already in a graphical environment
you can see it by pressing CTRL+ALT+F2. (Don't do this just yet!)
This takes you to a bare naked login prompt with no GUI. ALT+F1
through ALT+F6 are all consoles. To get back to your graphical
desktop, press ALT+F7. (OK now you can try it.) Most Linux
distributions have a "console login" option available in their
graphical login managers. Unlike switching back and forth with
CTRL+ALT+Fn/ALT+F7, X does not start at all when you use this. But
you can start X yourself after logging in to the console with the
startx command, so you don't need to log out or reboot."
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