HOWTO Use fgetty instead of getty on Debian

This article was first written in November 2004 for the BeezNest technical
website (

Getty is known to be memory-hungry. Let’s replace it with something lighter, which works in most cases: fgetty

On Debian Sarge and up, it is already packaged, so sudo apt-get install fgetty will do the trick. But this is not sufficent for it to be installed instead of getty.

You will have to edit /etc/inittab. Warning: this is a very dangerous file to edit, as it may render your system unbootable. You have been warned!

The following lines call getty


1:2345:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty1
2:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty2

Lets replace it with fgetty, which takes less arguments:

1:23:respawn:/sbin/fgetty tty1
2:23:respawn:/sbin/fgetty tty2

And do that for as many virtual consoles you would like to have. If you don’t need many, comment the lines, but I advise you to keep at least 2.

Save the file and exit.

And then, restart init:

# killall -HUP init

You’re done!

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