I have been asked the question numerous times of what PTS and TTY mean in Linux regarding terminals. People ask because they may be newer to Linux and learning how to view a process list they may actually see a serial connection, SSH connection, or a telnet connection in the process list that might show something like pts/0, pts/2, tty1, or tty2 in the TTY column. Most processes will just have a question mark in this column but if something is connected to an actual terminal then it will list where it is connected in the TTY column of “ps”.

TTY Definition:
Teletypewriter originally and now also means any terminal on Linux/Unix systems. It also means any serial port on Unix/Linux systems.

PTS Definition:
Stands for pseudo terminal slave.

The difference between TTY and PTS is the type of connection to the computer. TTY ports are direct connections to the computer such as a keyboard/mouse or a serial connection to the device. PTS connections are SSH connections or telnet connections. All of these connections can connect to a shell which will allow you to issue commands to the computer.

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6 Responses to “What do pts and tty Mean on Linux? What is the Difference Between The Two Terminal Types?”
  1. Thanks says:

    Thanks for information.
    Keep up.


    alex Reply:

    Hello Thanks.

    No problem. Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback.



  2. AA says:

    Thank you.

    It was the Most Simple and Digestible Definition and Difference, I’ve ever read.


  3. Lahcen says:

    Hi all ,

    Thanks a lot for the above explanation ,
    So i have had a special letter “-” at TTY column , what does it means ?



  4. Salsabeel says:

    Very Nice work . Thanks alot :)


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