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Your Pretty Linux GUI Fails and Dumps You to a Console. Now What?
Staring At A Black Screen and a Command Prompt. Now What?
February 3, 2009
What can a Linux user do if you've been dumped to a black screen with a terminal prompt with a cursor blinking at you and you REALLY need access to troubleshooting information NOW? No GUI, no Firefox, no Opera. Hard drive indexing tools are generally GUI access, and just because the info is on your hard drive does not mean you necessarily know where in the filetree it is, and the locate command doesn't seem to work all the time.
But if one still has network access all is not lost.
The majority of Linux distros have a text-based web browser available, either installed by default or readily available via automated repository installation. You can use it to search for troubleshooting information.
It's called lynx. While any long-time Linux user knows lynx, long-time Linux users are becoming an increasingly small fraction of the Linux userbase. That's the reason for this article.
How to find out if lynx is installed, and how to install it if it isn't:
Open a terminal and type:
# aptitude install lynx
or in Ubuntu
$ sudo aptitude install lynx
Figure 1 shows you what Lynx looks like. The yellow-highlighted word at the top of the display is the highlighted link. The bottom of the display shows status messages, hints at what to do next and program options.
Basic commandsTo display a complete list of current options before opening lynx:
e.g. $ lynx www.google.com
Down arrow: go to and highlight next link
exit browser q