This article is from the Frequently Asked Questions for Linux, the Free/Open Source UNIX-like operating system kernel that runs on many modern computer systems. Maintained by David C. Merrill with numerous contributions by others. (v1.0).
A: In text mode, press the left Alt-F1 to Alt-F12 to select the consoles tty1 to tty12; Right Alt-F1 gives tty13 and so on. To switch out of X you must press Ctrl-Alt-F1, etc; Alt-F5 or whatever will switch back.
However, If you have a non-PC compatible system, please see the note below.
If you want to use a VC for ordinary login, it must be listed in /etc/ inittab, which controls which terminals and virtual consoles have login prompts. The X Window System needs at least one free VC in order to start.
Note The key sequence is actually CtrlMetaFN. On PC compatible systems, the right and left Altkeys are really synonymous with the keysymbols Meta_Land Meta_R. If the binding is different, you can determine what keys produce Meta_Land Meta_Rwith xkeycapsor a similar application.