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Making Your Terminal into a Desktop - page 3

The Value of Screen

  • March 16, 2006
  • By Jem Matzan

The standard CLI resolution isn't very good for desktop work. I find that 1024x768 is a prime resolution for 17" and 19" displays, which is what most people seem to use these days. So here's how to make it happen.

If your boot loader is GRUB, switch to root permissions and open up your /boot/grub/grub.conf file in a text editor (if you aren't yet familiar with any text editors, see the section below on Emacs and Vim). Identify the section that GNU/Linux boots from (if you have several OSes installed, each will have its own section in grub.conf), and add this to the end of the kernel line:

video=1024x768-32@85

The above line will work with any system that has framebuffer support loaded as a module or compiled into in its kernel (Device Drivers -> Graphics Support; if you must add this option to your kernel config, I suggest compiling it into the kernel rather than making it a module). Some kernels use a different kind of VESA framebuffer driver, so if the previous line does not work, you can try the one below instead (or consult your distribution's documentation where it regards terminal framebuffer support):

video=vesafb:1024x768-32@85

So your kernel line in grub.conf should look something like this (your kernel name and root device may be different than this):

kernel /vmlinuz root=/dev/hda3 video=1024x768-32@85

LILO users will have to include this as an append statement in lilo.conf:

append="video=1024x768-32@85"

The next time your system goes through its INIT process after the boot loader screen (or when the framebuffer kernel module loads), your video mode should switch from the blocky, oversized 80x25 default, to something more readable and pretty.

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