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  1. #1
    Linux Guru sarumont's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003

    How to set up Framebuffer, Part 1

    NOTE: if you read the tutorial and are still experiencing difficulties and would like help, you are asked to start a new topic on the forums.
    Please do NOT reply to this thread to ask a technical question. Replies to THIS thread should be corrections and enhancements on the tutorial/howto only.
    Thanks in advance for your co-operation.


    How to set up Framebuffer
    Written by sarumont of the team.

    reference sources:


    This HOWTO is to assist you in setting up framebuffer on your system. The main
    benefit of framebuffer is having a larger resolution for your virtual
    terminal(s). You can also make your terminals "pretty" by adding a background
    picture much like your Desktop (with a script called bootsplash), and
    framebuffer can also be used to run Xprograms (via a rootless XServer running on
    top of framebuffer). This tutorial will deal with setting up framebuffer to run
    higher resolution virutal terminals.

    Tools needed:

    1) root access
    2) knowledge of how to compile a custom kernel for your distro (I'll provide a
    general tutorial of this, though it may not work correctly for your distro)
    3) a 2.4.20 or later build of the linux kernel (feel free to try a lower

    Kernel configuration:

    First off, there are some kernel options that you need to enable.

    start: Generic kernel compile code

    cd /usr/src/linux
    make menuconfig
    end: Generic kernel compile code

    Here are the options you need to enable:

    Code maturity level options --->[*] Prompt for development and/or incomplete code/drivers
    Processor type and features --->[*] MTRR (Memory Type Range Register) support
    Block Devices ->[*] Loopback device support[*] RAM disk support
    (4096) Default RAM disk size[*] Initial RAM disk (initrd) support
    Console Drivers ->[*] VGA text console[*] Video mode selection support
    Console Drivers -> Frame-buffer support ->[*] Support for frame buffer devices[*] VESA VGA graphics console[*] Use splash screen instead of boot logo
    Save your configuration and exit.

    start: Generic kernel compile code

    make dep && make clean bzImage modules modules_install
    (make sure /boot is mounted)
    mv /boot/bzImage /boot/bzImage.old
    cp ./arch/i386/boot/bzImage /boot/bzImage
    end: Generic kernel compile code

    Bootloader configuration:

    Now all you have to do is configure your bootloader. First off, make a backup of your config file.

    cp ./grub.conf ./grub.conf.old
    Here is a sample grub.conf

    default 0
    timeout 7
    title=Gentoo GNU/Linux 1.4 with framebuffer
    kernel=(hd0,0)/boot/bzImage root=/dev/hda3 video=vesa:ywrap,mtrr
    And if you swing the LILO way:

    cp ./lilo.conf ./lilo.conf.old
    read-only # read-only for checking
    append="hdc=ide-scsi video=vesa:ywrap,mtrr"
    Here is the table of color depths (if you're not planning to use bootsplash
    these aren't very important) and resolutions for the "vga=" kernel argument:

        | 640x480  800x600  1024x768 1280x1024
    256 |  0x301    0x303    0x305    0x307
    32k |  0x310    0x313    0x316    0x319
    64k |  0x311    0x314    0x317    0x31A
    16M |  0x312    0x315    0x318    0x31B
    Save your grub.conf or lilo.conf.


    To make all of your virtual terminals use framebuffer, edit your /etc/inittab,
    adding these lines in the vacinity of line 37:

    c8:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty 38400 tty8 linux
    c9:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty 38400 tty9 linux
    c10:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty 38400 tty10 linux
    c11:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty 38400 tty11 linux
    c12:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty 38400 tty12 linux
    and you'll have framebuffer on all your terminals.

    Now reboot your box and all will be concluded.

    I'll be following this tutorial up with two more on the same subject. One to set up bootsplash and the other for setting up an XServer on framebuffer.
    "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime, doubly so."
    ~Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

  2. #2
    Additional you can install hwinfo, to list all the modes you're card is capable of.
    hwinfo --framebuffer should give you a listing.

    framebuffer can also be used to run Xprograms (via a rootless XServer running on
    top of framebuffer)

    This is something I would like to know more about. Is it also possible in combination with wine?

    Grt DeCePTioN.

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