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SDB:What is a console

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The combination of display monitor and keyboard (or other device that allows input) is known as a console. Another term for console is terminal.

The term console usually refers to a:

  • terminal attached to a minicomputer or mainframe and used to monitor the status of the system.
  • virtual terminal
  • GUI program that provides console functionality
  • Command Line Interface (CLI) which is one of tools to interact with computers.


A shell is a program that implements such interface is often called a command line interpreter (CLI) or shell.

  • Bourne shell (sh)
    • Almquist shell (ash)
    • Bourne-Again shell (bash)
    • Korn shell (ksh)
  • C shell (csh)
    • TENEX C shell (tcsh)
  • Es shell (es)
  • rc shell (rc) - shell for Plan 9 and Unix
  • scsh (Scheme Shell)
  • Z shell (zsh)
  • fish


  • konsole - KDE program that emulates console
  • Xterm - X terminal is another (older) console emulation program
  • GNOME terminal
  • Console
  • Terminal