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Re: Setting text mode in the console

On Fri, Nov 28, 2003 at 11:31:10PM -0000, Cruncher wrote
> Anybody know whether and how I can set text modes in the console?
> I'm running woody, on a Pentium 200 with ATI Mach 64 chipset.
> I've installed svgalib, svgatextmode and fbset but I can't see how
> to change my text mode from 80x25.
> I've put vga=ask in the boot script (or whatever you call it) which
> gives me available modes - which I can select during the boot process
> and which work momentarily, but then linux continues to load and
> resets the mode back to 80x25.
> Why do I want to do this?  I'm running prboom and quakeforge (nq-sdl)
> in textmode, and I want higher resolution...

  I've managed to get this working.  For a generic overview, see...

  Here's the Debian-specific implementation. There are two steps...

1) Put VGA=6 into lilo.conf (or GRUB or whatever) and execute lilo.

2) Install console-tools and in /etc/console-tools/config select a font
you want to use.  Then reboot.  I use...


to get a 40-row display on a 17-inch monitor.  On a 19-incher,


gives a 48-row display that is *MUCH* nicer to look at than the 50-row
display mode on VGA.  The font-files are in /usr/share/consolefonts

  Here's the algorithm.

  - VGA has two native textmodes, 640 pixels X 400 scanlines, and
    640 X 480.  The second one is activated by VGA=6

  - the default VGA font is 8 pixels wide and 16 scanlines high.  This
    combines to give...
    640 * 400
    --------- = 80 columns * 25 rows
      8 * 16

  - Using 640 * 480 mode gives 80 * 30 with the 8 * 16 VGA font

  - 640 * 480 with 14-high (EGA) font gives 480 / 14 = 34 rows.

  - 640 * 480 with 12-high font gives 480 / 12 = 40 rows.

  - 640 * 480 with 10-high font gives 480 / 10 = 48 rows.

  - 640 * 480 with  8-high (CGA) font gives 480 /  8 = 60 rows.

  It's a trade-off between readability versus packing in more rows.  You
can manually set the font with the consolechars command, e.g.

consolechars -f /usr/share/consolefonts/lat1-10.psf.gz

will give you the 10-high font.  This is usefull for trying out
different modes to see what you like.

  SVGATextMode can be used to pack in more scanlines, and give more rows
with the same font.

Walter Dnes <waltdnes@waltdnes.org>
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1) Those who have effective spam-blocking
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