You can use virtual consoles to perform two activities in parallel. For example, I used one virtual console to write this section and another to test the commands as they were introduced. You can even use your mouse to cut and paste text from one virtual console to another. When you start your Linux system and get the log-in prompt, you're looking at console number 1. Go ahead and log in as root here; then press alt-F2. You should then see another log-in prompt. You can log in as user hermie on this console and then press alt-F3 to access a third console or press alt-F1 to return to the first console.
Trying this on my machine did not give me another console, but the option to run a program. Is this setup designed for older versions of linux, in a no-GUI environment?
(I am guessing that's the case because of this further down the page:
)Multitasking under Linux isn't really much different from having multiple windows active on a Windows or Macintosh system. The major difference is that if you've started multiple consoles, you can see only one at a time on the screen, though the others are still working away behind the scenes.