A low-power FreeBSD journey: High resolution terminal

Certainly managing a Unix-like server includes SSH and less often local console the screen resolution on the local console isn’t much of a matter, though having a little bit more than the standard can be nice when browsing through large files or grepping through logfiles. Thankfully as I learned, on the current (yet upcoming) FreeBSD 10 the GENERIC kernel is coming with reasonable defaults which limits the effort for high(er) resolution terminal to a minimum, or in short:

echo "allscreens_flags="MODE_280" >> /etc/rc.conf

… OK that’s definitely to short to be helpful. This article in the FreeBSDwiki.net is quite good for me as beginners but, but it starts about having to recompile your kernel with VESA included. Right, not particularly something I’d like to do first just to get a better resolution right on a server’s console? Actually it seems that FreeBSD 10.0-RC3 on amd64 (at least) have the vesa driver built into the GENERIC kernel. The section of how to compile your own kernel is not required (anymore?). Just check your available modes, test it before messing up rc.conf and be happy.

# To check the available modes
vidcontrol -i mode

# To test your chosen mode works 
# FIXME: You do unmess if it doesn't except from rebooting?
vidcontrol MODE_280
# Once successful put the appropriate line in your rc.conf

MODE_280 equals to 1024×768 in 24-bit colour which isn’t exactly considered a high resolution to current standards but still more pleasant than the mere 80×25 characters yet still not too big for my smallest and oldest screen in the back of my cellar (i.e. a regular 4:3 15″ TFT) . Finally I should add that the FreeBSD handbook also contains a worthy-to-read section on this topic – and apparently it seems sufficient to load the vesa module with kldload. Though, not having an older release available I can’t relly check back. Another similar post can be found on this blog.

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December 29, 2013

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