"Emergency" terminal on pinephone (with default setup) - Printable Version

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"Emergency" terminal on pinephone (with default setup) - altulke - 04-29-2022


I don't have a pinephone for now, but plan to buy one. I have a question about the default setup (or about what can be configured easily).

On desktop linux, if the system works badly, there is an option to get an "emergency" terminal, which does not depend on the graphical X system, by pressing ctrl-alt-f1 or something similar. (Well, if the things go too badly, the computer will not respond to ctrl-alt-f1 either, but often this works.)

Is there such an option on pinephone with the default OS? Do I need an external keyboard for that?

RE: "Emergency" terminal on pinephone (with default setup) - wibble - 04-30-2022

Due to the rate of development the 'default' OS that is delivered on the phone will be out of date. It's usually best to replace it with an up to date version when the phone arrives. See the wiki for instructions.

There isn't a direct 'emergency mode' equivalent, but there are a few options you can use:
* boot from uSD instead of the internal eMMC and use the OS on the uSD for recovery
* boot with a serial cable in the headphone socket - this gives you a serial terminal for the bootloader, and subsequent OS.
* boot to 'USB mass storage' mode with either tow-boot or JumpDrive and use a desktop linux to mount the internal drive and do any repairs
* if you have sshd set up on the phone, and the phone auto-connects to the network, you can ssh in even with a blank screen and do repairs.
There are probably more I haven't thought of.

If you use the p-boot bootloader you can probably configure a recovery boot option too, but without an on-screen keyboard you'll need an external one as you say. I often use ssh when more than a little text input is needed, and have used it for recovery in blank-screen situations such as when there was a bug with the auto-brightness that turned off the backlight.

RE: "Emergency" terminal on pinephone (with default setup) - altulke - 04-30-2022

Thank you. So, do I understand correctly that all of these options require restart?

RE: "Emergency" terminal on pinephone (with default setup) - allworlds - 05-01-2022

On Manjaro+Plasma the old Ctrl+Alt+Fn combo does work, although you will need a physical keyboard connected. I just used an "AmazonBasics" USB C to A adapter and a regular USB keyboard.

I used it to do a somewhat orderly reboot when the GUI was playing up when I tried to use the Night Color feature.

RE: "Emergency" terminal on pinephone (with default setup) - fdlamotte - 05-02-2022

on postmarketos you can install and use ttyescape (

You can escape to tty2 (with an on screen keyboard) by keeping Vol Down pressed while hitting three times the power button

It just saved me two days ago while updating sxmo Wink

RE: "Emergency" terminal on pinephone (with default setup) - altulke - 05-03-2022

Thank you, I will try this if and when I buy the phone.