tty — controlling terminal


The file /dev/tty is a character file with major number 5 and minor number 0, usually of mode 0666 and root.tty. It is a synonym for the controlling terminal of a process, if any.

In addition to the ioctl(2) requests supported by the device that tty refers to, the ioctl(2) request TIOCNOTTY is supported.


Detach the calling process from its controlling terminal.

If the process is the session leader, then SIGHUP and SIGCONT signals are sent to the foreground process group and all processes in the current session lose their controlling tty.

This ioctl(2) call works only on file descriptors connected to /dev/tty. It is used by daemon processes when they are invoked by a user at a terminal. The process attempts to open /dev/tty. If the open succeeds, it detaches itself from the terminal by using TIOCNOTTY, while if the open fails, it is obviously not attached to a terminal and does not need to detach itself.




chown(1), mknod(1), ioctl(2), termios(3), console(4), tty_ioctl(4), ttyS(4), agetty(8), mingetty(8)


This page is part of release 3.52 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can be found at−pages/.

  Copyright (c) 1993 Michael Haardt (,
    Fri Apr  2 11:32:09 MET DST 1993

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Modified 1993-07-24 by Rik Faith (
Modified 2003-04-07 by Michael Kerrisk