Remote control of Linux virtual consoles

Conspy allows a (possibly remote) user to see what is displayed on a Linux virtual console, and send keystrokes to it. It works with Linux and FreeBSD, as far as I know.

It is rather like VNC, but where VNC takes control of a GUI conspy takes control of a text mode virtual console. Unlike VNC, conspy does not require a server to be installed prior to being used.


Sparse. There is a man page, and a ChangeLog.

Frequently asked question

Q: Can conspy look at other types of terminals, such as a normal serial terminal, or a pty such as a telnet session?

A: No. Nor will it ever be able to do so. Conspy does not intercept the character stream being sent to the virtual console. If it did that it would have to interpret all the ANSI escape sequences understood by the Linux virtual console exactly the same way Linux does. That would be tedious, and would break each time Linux changes the escape sequences. Instead conspy asks the Linux kernel for the virtual console's frame buffer. That is, it gets an image of what is displayed on the screen and makes your terminal look the same. There is no way to do that for other tty's. If conspy was to work with them it would have to interpret the character stream as it passes through the tty. This is well neigh impossible because there are many different types of terminal out there and they all use different escape sequences. If all you all to do it look at the raw character stream as it passes through the tty look up ttysnoop on Freshmeat.

Copyright and License

Conspy is copyright © 2005,2006,2007,2009,2011,2012 Russell Stuart.

This program and the accompanying materials are made available under the terms of the Eclipse Public License v1.0 which accompanies this distribution, and is available at


Conspy is available in the following formats:

Source code as a tar ball    conspy-1.8.tar.gz
Debian Packages    Conspy is now part of Debian stable.


Russell Stuart, 2006-Jan-09. Email: