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PTY(7) Linux Programmer's Manual PTY(7)


     pty - pseudoterminal interfaces


     A  pseudoterminal  (sometimes  abbreviated  "pty") is a pair of virtual
     character devices that provide a bidirectional  communication  channel.
     One  end  of  the channel is called the master; the other end is called
     the slave.  The slave end of the pseudoterminal provides  an  interface
     that behaves exactly like a classical terminal.  A process that expects
     to be connected to a terminal, can open the slave end of a pseudotermi-
     nal  and  then  be  driven by a program that has opened the master end.
     Anything that is written on the master end is provided to  the  process
     on the slave end as though it was input typed on a terminal.  For exam-
     ple, writing the interrupt character (usually control-C) to the  master
     device would cause an interrupt signal (SIGINT) to be generated for the
     foreground process group that is connected to the  slave.   Conversely,
     anything  that is written to the slave end of the pseudoterminal can be
     read by the process that is connected to the master end.   Pseudotermi-
     nals  are  used by applications such as network login services (ssh(1),
     rlogin(1), telnet(1)), terminal emulators such as xterm(1),  script(1),
     screen(1), tmux(1), unbuffer(1), and expect(1).
     Data flow between master and slave is handled asynchronously, much like
     data flow with a physical terminal.  Data written to the slave will  be
     available at the master promptly, but may not be available immediately.
     Similarly, there may be a small processing delay between a write to the
     master, and the effect being visible at the slave.
     Historically,  two  pseudoterminal APIs have evolved: BSD and System V.
     SUSv1 standardized a pseudoterminal API based on the System V API,  and
     this  API  should be employed in all new programs that use pseudotermi-
     Linux provides both BSD-style and (standardized) System  V-style  pseu-
     doterminals.   System  V-style  terminals  are  commonly called UNIX 98
     pseudoterminals on Linux systems.  Since kernel 2.6.4, BSD-style  pseu-
     doterminals  are  considered deprecated (they can be disabled when con-
     figuring the kernel); UNIX 98 pseudoterminals should  be  used  in  new
 UNIX 98 pseudoterminals
     An   unused   UNIX  98  pseudoterminal  master  is  opened  by  calling
     posix_openpt(3).   (This  function  opens  the  master  clone   device,
     /dev/ptmx; see pts(4).)  After performing any program-specific initial-
     izations, changing the ownership and permissions of  the  slave  device
     using  grantpt(3), and unlocking the slave using unlockpt(3)), the cor-
     responding slave device can be opened by passing the name  returned  by
     ptsname(3) in a call to open(2).
     The  Linux  kernel  imposes  a limit on the number of available UNIX 98
     pseudoterminals.  In kernels up to and including 2.6.3, this  limit  is
     configured  at  kernel  compilation  time (CONFIG_UNIX98_PTYS), and the
     permitted number of pseudoterminals can be up to 2048, with  a  default
     setting   of  256.   Since  kernel  2.6.4,  the  limit  is  dynamically
     adjustable via  /proc/sys/kernel/pty/max,  and  a  corresponding  file,
     /proc/sys/kernel/pty/nr,  indicates  how  many pseudoterminals are cur-
     rently in use.  For further details on these two files, see proc(5).
 BSD pseudoterminals
     BSD-style pseudoterminals are provided as precreated pairs, with  names
     of  the  form  /dev/ptyXY (master) and /dev/ttyXY (slave), where X is a
     letter from the 16-character set [p-za-e], and Y is a letter  from  the
     16-character  set [0-9a-f].  (The precise range of letters in these two
     sets varies across UNIX implementations.)  For example, /dev/ptyp1  and
     /dev/ttyp1  constitute  a  BSD pseudoterminal pair.  A process finds an
     unused pseudoterminal pair by trying  to  open(2)  each  pseudoterminal
     master  until an open succeeds.  The corresponding pseudoterminal slave
     (substitute "tty" for "pty" in the name of  the  master)  can  then  be


            UNIX 98 master clone device
            UNIX 98 slave devices
            BSD master devices
            BSD slave devices


     A description of the TIOCPKT ioctl(2), which controls packet mode oper-
     ation, can be found in ioctl_tty(2).
     The BSD ioctl(2) operations TIOCSTOP, TIOCSTART, TIOCUCNTL, and TIOCRE-
     MOTE have not been implemented under Linux.


     ioctl_tty(2), select(2), setsid(2), forkpty(3), openpty(3), termios(3),
     pts(4), tty(4)


     This page is part of release 4.16 of the Linux  man-pages  project.   A
     description  of  the project, information about reporting bugs, and the
     latest    version    of    this    page,    can     be     found     at

Linux 2017-09-15 PTY(7)

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