A history of the tty

It’s one of those anachronisms that is deeply embedded in modern technology. From cloud operator servers to embedded controllers in appliances, there must be uncountable devices that think they are connected to a TTY.

I will omit the many interesting details of the Linux terminal infrastructure here, as it could easily fill its own article. But most Linux users are at least peripherally aware that the kernel tends to identify both serial devices and terminals as TTYs, assigning them filesystem names in the form of /dev/tty*. Probably a lot of those people remember that this stands for teletype or perhaps teletypewriter, although in practice the term teleprinter is more common.

↫ J. B. Crawford

I remember first using Linux in like 2000 or 2001, and running into the abbreviation tty, and not having a single clue what that meant since I came from a DOS and Windows background. Over time I gained a lot more understanding of the structure of modern UNIX-like systems, but it’s still great to read such a detailed history of the concept.


  1. 2024-02-27 12:14 pm
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