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Actually, it dates from a couple of years before systemd existed, and started with the idea of minimizing monitor flicker during the system bootstrap in Fedora. The idea was to make the display not switch between text and graphics modes, as it did when successively switching from graphical splash screen to textual virtual terminal to graphical X display. Starting the X server on the default virtual terminal eliminated the middle part.

By the time that systemd came along, this was already established Fedora behaviour with upstart. The systemd people had to work to replicate existing semantics.

* http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/BetterStartup

* http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/FWN/Issue150#Moving_X_from_VT7...

* https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=614454#c6

* https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=619889#c12

And now systemd is spreading this behavior to other distros that has adopted systemd?

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