Find the answer to your Linux question:
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
Hi. I'm a programmer on Linux systems. All the work I do is on text/character displays, 25 lines by 80/132 characters. I do very little graphical work. Locally I log ...
Enjoy an ad free experience by logging in. Not a member yet? Register.
  1. #1
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    8

    Text/Character displays on wide-screen laptops


    Hi.

    I'm a programmer on Linux systems. All the work I do is on text/character displays, 25 lines by 80/132 characters. I do very little graphical work. Locally I log into a very old SCO Unix machine with a 15" tube CRT monitor, and then connect to client machines VIA VPN networks over a T1 line. I basically use this computer for connectivity.

    I'm finally having to replace my computer, and want to replace it with a laptop running some version of Linux; probably Redhat desktop, as my clients run Redhat Enterprise.

    I will still be using the laptop/Linux in text 25/80, and my concern is the display -- if on a laptop with a very wide display if the display will be stretched out to each side and bunched up vertically, or if the characters will be so big that I have to sit back 10' to see all of them! I have to use the system with the built in Linux text display drivers, and cannot (or won't) use some kind of graphical program that has a built in terminal emulator.

    Does anybody use a Linux system on a wide-screen laptop with text displays? And can tell me how they appear, especially if you look at them 8 hours a day?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Linux Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Saint Paul, MN
    Posts
    586
    Add the Xserver and desktop of your choice. Then use xterm, konsole, terminal, etc where the fonts can be changed. You can still do all the stuff as from the console.

  3. #3
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    8
    alf55,

    Thanks for your answer. I haven't used or looked at a Linux graphical window and graphical terminal program in a long time. But there are reasons, as I wrote, that I cannot or won't use a graphical terminal/console emulator.

    I use the "multi-screens" extensively, using Alt-F1, Alt-F2, Alt-F3, etc., to quickly move from 1 terminal instance to another. Having to use a mouse to shift between screens just slows me down. Or, using more keys than Alt-F? to do the switch would slow me down. But using Alt-F? in a text terminal mode is instantanious switching between the terminal screens. In fact, you (I) can rest my thumb on the "Alt" key and hover a couple of fingers over the function keys and switch back-and-forth between two terminal screens fast enough to use them as a "blink comparator", quickly noting differences between the two (or more) screens.

    No way that I remember using the graphical terminal emulators, that I could do that and do it that fast.

    Also, the different screens necessarily line up exactly when using the text terminal emulation. On the graphical terminals, I'm not sure but I think in shifting from 1 terminal screen to the next, the displays are very hard to get lined up perfectly and so would be offset, negating using them as a "blink-comparator".


    This is why I think I need to stay with text console, and thus am wondering about the text appearance. If the graphical terminal emulation you mention would let me use the computer as I've written above though, that would be fine for me plus it would let me control the font size. Can those graphical terminal emulators do this? So, to recap the questions on the graphical terminal emulation you wrote about:

    1) How do you shift between the different terminal screens?

    2) How fast is the shifting?

    3) Do the different terminal screens line up exactly directly over the others?

  4. #4
    Linux Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Saint Paul, MN
    Posts
    586
    Quote Originally Posted by NachoTX View Post
    alf55,

    Thanks for your answer. I haven't used or looked at a Linux graphical window and graphical terminal program in a long time. But there are reasons, as I wrote, that I cannot or won't use a graphical terminal/console emulator.

    I use the "multi-screens" extensively, using Alt-F1, Alt-F2, Alt-F3, etc., to quickly move from 1 terminal instance to another. Having to use a mouse to shift between screens just slows me down. Or, using more keys than Alt-F? to do the switch would slow me down. But using Alt-F? in a text terminal mode is instantanious switching between the terminal screens. In fact, you (I) can rest my thumb on the "Alt" key and hover a couple of fingers over the function keys and switch back-and-forth between two terminal screens fast enough to use them as a "blink comparator", quickly noting differences between the two (or more) screens.
    There are key short-cuts for switching desktops (in KDE they are ctrl-1, ctrl-2, etc) can also hold finger on ctrl key and toggle between two desktops as you do.
    No way that I remember using the graphical terminal emulators, that I could do that and do it that fast.

    Also, the different screens necessarily line up exactly when using the text terminal emulation. On the graphical terminals, I'm not sure but I think in shifting from 1 terminal screen to the next, the displays are very hard to get lined up perfectly and so would be offset, negating using them as a "blink-comparator".
    That is why the windows can be placed using geometry arguments when launched.
    This is why I think I need to stay with text console, and thus am wondering about the text appearance. If the graphical terminal emulation you mention would let me use the computer as I've written above though, that would be fine for me plus it would let me control the font size. Can those graphical terminal emulators do this? So, to recap the questions on the graphical terminal emulation you wrote about:

    1) How do you shift between the different terminal screens?
    In KDE it is ctrl-1, ctrl-2, etc
    2) How fast is the shifting?
    On my generic Clevo laptop, it is very fast (it has a "NVIDIA Corporation GF106 [GeForce GTX 460M]" video card, 16 GB RAM and two 1TB hard drives, and a 15 inch 1080p display).
    3) Do the different terminal screens line up exactly directly over the others?
    Yes, I use xterm and position the windows so I can do the "blink" compares when I have to, but for text, i tend to use "gvimdiff" (with a fallback to vimdiff).

  5. #5
    Linux Engineer rcgreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    the hills
    Posts
    1,134

  6. #6
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    8
    rcgreen,

    Thanks for the info. That looks to me like it was exactly what I needed, though I'm not too sure if it would have worked only for Redhat and not Fedora. Probably both of them.

    Though, I've gone on from Fedora to Ubuntu. I never could get Fedora to do what I wanted. And when it installed program updates (right after the original install), it created a new kernel that wouldn't boot all the way. I had to boot back to the original kernel VIA grub.

    I tried the "kernel boot string" on Ubuntu, and the "vga=ask" wouldn't work, it said it was not implemented or something. The grub on Ubuntu is not the same as on Fedora/Redhat. I also tried the vga=extended". It tried to work, but the screen went dark and I had to power off/on to reboot. But when it came up the first time, the screen did something different than what it had been doing -- larger characters -- but reverted back to original on subsequent boots. I'm pretty sure it would have worked, if I had kept with it long enough to find the correct video modes. But I had already worked out something that works in Ubuntu in startup scripts, with the program "setfont Uni2-TerminusBold28x14". It works pretty well -- as close as it can I think given that the width of the screen is wider than a regular tube monitor -- there is a couple of unused inches on the right side and a bit on the bottom side, and given the fact that I need (have) to run the screen at 25 lines of 80 columns in text mode. I wish I could color those margins a different color, so as to know the Linux screen limits, but nothing seems to work. I was also able to get the colors on the screen set by just using ansi color escape sequences. I had also been able to get rid of the "ls" colors by setting an alias up in /etc/profile of "alias l='ls -1A --color=never'". There is no "/etc/profile.d/colorls.*" files on Ubuntu. If I go into "man/info/" it resets the screen to mono, but I haven't yet tried to figure that out.

    The implementation of the boot cycle and what configuration files it uses seems to be quite different in Ubuntu and Fedora.


    alf55,

    I tried all of those graphical terminal emulators that were installed on the desk top of all the different graphical systems. Most of them wouldn't let me resize the screen properly as how I wanted to. Some wouldn't let me have colors. Some wouldn't let me re-map the screen-shifting keys properly. Some were just flat terrible with their terminal emulation.

    The one that came closest was "kconsole". It let me adjust the font/screen size easily. And the multi-screens could be put in "tabs" that when I shifted from one to the next would be right on top of each other. But, it had problems with reassigned "alt" keys. It would let me reassign "Alt-F1" "Alt-F2" etc. to be my keys to shift between tabs, but then "Alt-F1" and "Alt-F4" were used by the Gnome graphical console, and it would act on them rather than letting konsole act on them. There was something else I couldn't get quite right -- I don't remember now, and then when it happened that the new kernel wouldn't boot, I decided I wasted enough time on it.

    I then remembered Free-BSD Unix, and decided to give it a try. I had evaluated it about 10 years ago when we (ultimately) decided on our clients going to Linux. I downloaded it but couldn't get it installed. It has what the call a boot ISO image, but it won't let a CD/DVD boot like Fedora/Ubuntu boot. It requires the use of a computer BIOS recovery program. That is another thing that happened in using Fedora. I couldn't figure out the partition menu at all, and wound up crapping out the BIOS recovery and Win 8 partitions! And no backups for them. So, I needed a (free) Unix/Linux install that had full boot capabilities.

    Then I went to Ubuntu, as I stated above. I didn't have too much trouble configuring it for my requirements. I installed the "server (network server)" edition rather than the desktop. I thought I was getting both though. Now that I have the text portion working, I want to see if I can use the graphical portion for web browsing etc. -- my next project.

    I think Ubuntu is definitely better/more stable than Fedora, but I can't as of yet attest to the graphical portion. Ubuntu is more like SCO Unix (Xenix) -- what I have been using/programming on for the past 25 years -- and so that is also a reason I like it better.


    Thanks to all for your help.

  7. #7
    Linux Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Saint Paul, MN
    Posts
    586
    Xterm uses the program "xfontsel" to pick the font desired and "control-right-click" and then "selection" to pick a font. It has a resource file that you can define the default font size. Of course it has arguments that can be passed in the command line to set the font, colors, etc. Also there is a program called xtermcontrol that can be used to change the color, font, etc of an existing xterm. I have been using Unix since 1976 and Linux since the kernel was 0.98. I still use the old tools as they are still much more "flow powerful" rather than "flash powerful". I remember getting X, getting 256 color X, etc.

    Code:
    usage:  xterm [-/+132] [-C] [-Sccn] [-T string] [-/+ah] [-/+ai] [-/+aw]
        [-b number] [-/+bc] [-bcf milliseconds] [-bcn milliseconds] [-bd color]
        [-/+bdc] [-bg color] [-bw number] [-/+cb] [-cc classrange] [-/+cjk_width]
        [-class string] [-/+cm] [-/+cn] [-cr color] [-/+cu] [-/+dc]
        [-display displayname] [-e command args ...] [-fa pattern] [-fb fontname]
        [-/+fbb] [-/+fbx] [-fd pattern] [-fg color] [-fi fontname] [-fn fontname]
        [-fs size] [-/+fullscreen] [-fw fontname] [-fwb fontname] [-fx fontname]
        [%geom] [#geom] [-geometry geom] [-help] [-/+hm] [-/+hold] [-iconic]
        [-/+ie] [-/+im] [-into windowId] [-/+j] [-/+k8] [-kt keyboardtype] [-/+l]
        [-/+lc] [-lcc path] [-leftbar] [-lf filename] [-/+ls] [-/+maximized]
        [-/+mb] [-mc milliseconds] [-/+mesg] [-/+mk_width] [-ms color] [-n string]
        [-name string] [-nb number] [-/+nul] [-/+pc] [-/+pob] [-rightbar] [-/+rv]
        [-/+rvc] [-/+rw] [-/+s] [-/+samename] [-/+sb] [-selbg color] [-selfg color]
        [-/+sf] [-/+si] [-/+sk] [-sl number] [-/+sm] [-/+sp] [-/+t] [-ti termid]
        [-title string] [-tm string] [-tn name] [-/+u8] [-/+uc] [-/+ulc] [-/+ulit]
        [-/+ut] [-/+vb] [-version] [-/+wc] [-/+wf] [-xrm resourcestring]
        [-ziconbeep percent]
    Code:
    usage:  xfontsel [-options ...] -fn font
    
    where options include:
        -display dpy           X server to contact
        -geometry geom         size and location of window
        -pattern fontspec      font name pattern to match against
        -print                 print selected font name on exit
        -sample string         sample text to use for 1-byte fonts
        -sample16 string       sample text to use for 2-byte fonts
        -sampleUCS string      sample text to use for ISO10646 fonts
        -scaled                use scaled instances of fonts
    Code:
    Usage: xtermcontrol [OPTIONS]...
    
    Purpose:
      This program enables dynamic control of XFree86 xterm properties.
    
    Options:
      --fg=COLOR                          set foreground color
      --bg=COLOR                          set background color
      --colorN=COLOR                      set N'th [0-15] color
      --highlight=COLOR                   set highlight color
      --cursor=COLOR                      set cursor color
      --mouse-fg=COLOR                    set mouse pointer foreground color
      --mouse-bg=COLOR                    set mouse pointer background color
      --font=FONT                         set font
      --title=STRING                      set window title
      --geometry=WIDTHxHEIGHT+XOFF+YOFF   set size and/or position
      --get-fg                            report foreground color
      --get-bg                            report background color
      --get-colorN                        report N'th [0-15] color
      --get-highlight                     report highlight color
      --get-cursor                        report cursor color
      --get-mouse-fg                      report mouse pointer foreground color
      --get-mouse-bg                      report mouse pointer background color
      --get-font                          report font
      --get-title                         report window title
      --get-geometry                      report size and position
      --maximize                          maximize window
      --restore                           restore maximized window
      --iconify                           iconify window
      --de-iconify                        de-iconify window
      --raise                             raise window
      --lower                             lower window
      --reset                             full reset
      --raw=CTLSEQS                       issue raw control sequence
      --file=FILE                         alternative configuration file
      --force, -f                         skip TERM check
      --verbose, -v                       print verbose reports
      --help, -h                          print this help and exit
      --version                           print the version number and exit
    an alias can be made to pass in colors as needed. Here is an example that uses "kdialog" to pick forground and background colors. It has placement and font information also passed.
    Code:
    alias xterm.pickcolors='geometry="24x132+300+100";fg_color="$(kdialog --getcolor --default "black" --title "Foreground Color")";bg_color="$(kdialog --getcolor --default "LemonChiffon" --title "Background Color")";xterm "-fg ${fg_color} -bg ${bg_color}" ${geometry} -ls -sb -sl 10000 -fn "-schumacher-clean-*-*-*-*-*-150-*-*-*-*-*-*" &'
    execute it by typing in: xterm.pickcolors
    Last edited by alf55; 12-04-2012 at 02:46 AM. Reason: added command argument information

  8. #8
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    8
    alf55,

    If you started in this business in 1976, I suspect you and I are very nearly the same age. I started around the same time. I think it a testament to both of us to have withstood over 35 years of programming and relearning our job/platform about 3-4 times. I can't do it again! 2 more years and I'll be at early retirement age (62), and I'm going to bale out! I doubt there's been very many people stayed in there as long as we have.

    What you wrote about xterm is interesting. I messed up evaluating it initially. I did only a quick assessment of it, as there were quite a few terminal emulators to look at. I brought up the program, looked at the presented face, void of menu options, and declared it not sophisticated enough. Dang! I finally read, or actually skimmed, the "man" page of it, after your post, and saw all the settings. There were over 5000 lines in the "man" page as I remember!

    I was then able, on Ubuntu 12.04, to get the font set up good by just using xterm (and that "ctrl-right click" you wrote about). I had no idea that existed.

    I couldn't quite get the alias/script to work. I couldn't decide/figure out where to type in the "xterm.pickcolors". It didn't seem to work at the nongraphical system "$/#" prompt. It complained about not being able to access the display.

    And then I tried it inside an "xterm" window I brought up. It did bring up the 2 KDialog boxes for the colors, but it didn't then seem to pipe those values and the geometry values over to "xterm" properly. Plus it started a new xterm screen.

    I guess I don't know where I went wrong. Plus, I didn't see in the "man" page documentation where new windows/tabs could be activated within "xterm", and didn't see where I could move between those tabs with keystrokes. Unless I missed those too, it won't work for me.

    I took at quick look at Konsole again, on this system. It has the multi-screens/tabs that I need, but the keys to activate them weren't good. I didn't find a "man/info" page on it like the one on "xterm". It would be nice to have a terminal in a graphical window -- now that I have the graphical installed and working too. I'll look at it again when I get some time.

    I have the server character screens, graphical screens, and Apache (I have an internet payroll system to maintain also) working all on the same system! I'm pretty well pleased. I'm about to shut down my old desktop with SCO Unix on it. If I could move over my Microsoft complany-workgroup-whatever email to it too, I could shut down my Win desktop, and only have 1 laptop running.

  9. #9
    Linux Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Saint Paul, MN
    Posts
    586
    Quote Originally Posted by NachoTX View Post
    alf55,

    If you started in this business in 1976, I suspect you and I are very nearly the same age. I started around the same time. I think it a testament to both of us to have withstood over 35 years of programming and relearning our job/platform about 3-4 times. I can't do it again! 2 more years and I'll be at early retirement age (62), and I'm going to bale out! I doubt there's been very many people stayed in there as long as we have.
    I'm a little younger I'm 5 years from early retirement. I started programming in 1971 on an HP 2116c in Algol. Spent 25 years witting Electrical CAD software. During Bush 43, I spent most of my time looking for work and taking a contract here and there (9 years of this). I have found a home where we make email archiving and discovery appliance (and now a Virtual Appliance) with plans of hosting (our own cloud) a product. I am again in a sweet spot, were I am a manager and can be a minimal one and do real work as well. I plan to be there until 65 (and maybe part time even later on) as I get to learn and apply knowledge to strange things that happen due to strange actions of the end customers and our exploring new things for new product exploration.
    What you wrote about xterm is interesting. I messed up evaluating it initially. I did only a quick assessment of it, as there were quite a few terminal emulators to look at. I brought up the program, looked at the presented face, void of menu options, and declared it not sophisticated enough. Dang! I finally read, or actually skimmed, the "man" page of it, after your post, and saw all the settings. There were over 5000 lines in the "man" page as I remember!
    There also a control-center-click menu as well.
    I was then able, on Ubuntu 12.04, to get the font set up good by just using xterm (and that "ctrl-right click" you wrote about). I had no idea that existed.

    I couldn't quite get the alias/script to work. I couldn't decide/figure out where to type in the "xterm.pickcolors". It didn't seem to work at the nongraphical system "$/#" prompt. It complained about not being able to access the display.
    I put the alias in my "~/.bash_profile" and from an xterm I launch my other xterms via alias commands. In my KDE panel, I have a few launchers that are all xterm applications. I hardly ever use the "menu command launcher". The alias presented uses the "kde dialog" there are at least two other "dialog" programs. I even have aliases in place to start an Xterm which is ssh to another box with port forwarding to a machine(s) known to the machine and loggin into a third machine. I have been asked why I stay with xterm, and my answer always is "It uses less real estate on the tiny 1080p display area, but mostly because it is the most productive as it allows simply highlight in one and center-click pasting into another xterm or my gvim session. No dumb key-strokes. I also use "focus follows mouse" and auto raise (again many less clicking needed). I hardly ever have a window consuming the whole screen.
    And then I tried it inside an "xterm" window I brought up. It did bring up the 2 KDialog boxes for the colors, but it didn't then seem to pipe those values and the geometry values over to "xterm" properly. Plus it started a new xterm screen.
    Yes it launches a xterm with the colors. I have a script, Xterm, that I wrote a long time ago that has several more convent options for xterm and I believe that all the standard options are passed into the xterm that it launches as well. Such as:
    Code:
    --colors=HotPink/black        #   -fg HotPink -bg black 
    --colors=HotPink_on_black  #   -fg HotPink -bg black
    --color=schemename          #   looks into ~/.Xterm/color_schemes to use the colors for the names scheme.
    --pickcolor                         #   displays the color scheme names using "select" to pick the colors
    --ssh=user@host               #   auto does ssh to the host "host" as user "user" and you are at the password prompt if you are using them
    '--ssh=-L 7022:hostseenbyhost:22 user@host'  # does tunneling my port 7022 to port 22 on "hostseenbyhost" and connects me as user "user" to host "host"
    --telnet=host                     #   pre-cursor to "--ssh"
    --font=name                      #   looks into ~/.Xterm/font_schemes when not an X font name and used the name when it is an X font name
    I also will handle "--gomentry=wxh+x-h", "--name=xxxx", "--title=xxxx' which just make the standard options match the "--OPTION=" more modern
    I guess I don't know where I went wrong. Plus, I didn't see in the "man" page documentation where new windows/tabs could be activated within "xterm", and didn't see where I could move between those tabs with keystrokes. Unless I missed those too, it won't work for me.
    there are no tabs in xterm, need to use more than one desk top and switch between them (kde uses Control-Fn).
    I took at quick look at Konsole again, on this system. It has the multi-screens/tabs that I need, but the keys to activate them weren't good. I didn't find a "man/info" page on it like the one on "xterm". It would be nice to have a terminal in a graphical window -- now that I have the graphical installed and working too. I'll look at it again when I get some time.

    I have the server character screens, graphical screens, and Apache (I have an internet payroll system to maintain also) working all on the same system! I'm pretty well pleased. I'm about to shut down my old desktop with SCO Unix on it. If I could move over my Microsoft complany-workgroup-whatever email to it too, I could shut down my Win desktop, and only have 1 laptop running.
    If you installed the SCO from 5.25 inch floppies, then you are also a member of the Borg also. The floppies without sleeves is as near a cube as you can make with those diks.

    My wife had me recycle my SCO manuals and their binders, now I do not have the old manual to show the young people why the man pages have number volumes.

  10. #10
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by alf55 View Post
    If you installed the SCO from 5.25 inch floppies, then you are also a member of the Borg also. The floppies without sleeves is as near a cube as you can make with those diks.

    My wife had me recycle my SCO manuals and their binders, now I do not have the old manual to show the young people why the man pages have number volumes.
    LOL! Borg I am. I have SCO on 5 1/4", 3 1/2" --both 720k and 1.44m -- and 3 1/2" only for boot and then the rest on CD. I still have a set of Xenix manuals from the mid-to-late 1980s. We bought one of the original Compact Portable machines in the early 1980s. A beast that weighed around 40-50 pounds that they still somehow called a portable. When folded up to its portable position, it looked somewhat like a sewing machine in its case. I still have the 3 manuals/books for it. They are about 5-9" and have a green velour cover to them.

    If you like to do that sort of thing -- you might consider selling some of that old stuff on ebay. A few years back I saw a person selling those exact same Compact Portable manuals, and he had a few bidders competing on them. Don't remember what he got for them though. There is a market for some of that old stuff, but I suspect it takes patience to get anything out of it.

    Good talking to you.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •