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Virtual consoles filled with... test pattern?

This is a very strange variation on a problem I experienced occasionally
in mandrake. My console windows are now filled with vertical lines.
Mostly purples, but all sorts of other colors too. nothing I type shows
up on the screen. It looks like some kind of test pattern.

I used to, in mandrake, have my console screens filled with a copy of my
X display, and nothing I typed would show up, but hitting enter would
rotate the display. This seems like something similar.

I have a compaq ipaq(desktop) intel 820 video. I am not running
svgatextmode or anything but text on the console. Is there anyway for me
to fix this?

I'm sure rebooting would do it, but it would be nice to know what is
causing this (and I don't want to kill my 96 day - debian unstable -
uptime, I know, lame). 

if anyone has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate them.


Mark Roach

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