Display higher resolution at the command line view graphics, videos WITHOUT X!

I frequently find, when I run htop, that X is sucking up ~25% of my CPU. From what I have researched it seems I might have an issue with my video driver.

Given that I havent yet found a solution to this,  I like to run my system without X when possible. One quick fix that makes this so much more pleasurable is to us a framebuffer.

Using a framebuffer allows you to run the command line in a higher resolution than normal, it also lets you display images, browse the net with a graphical CLI browser, and even watch video.

The easiest way to do this is to edit ‘/boot/grub/menu.lst’

start by typing ‘sudo leafpad /boot/grub/menu.lst’ on the command line and press enter. If you dont use leafpad, replace that with your favourite text editor.

When that opens, scroll down and you will see something that looks a bit like this:

title        Ubuntu 8.10, kernel 2.6.27-8-eeepc-lean
uuid        01225088-77c2-4dc9-8113-2ef89ac2f7e8
kernel        /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.27-8-eeepc-lean root=UUID=01225088-77c2-4dc9-8113-2ef89ac2f7e8 ro quiet splash
initrd        /boot/initrd.img-2.6.27-8-eeepc-lean

Depending on your grub config, you might have more than one of these – the top one should be your default boot.

On the end of the kernal line, where it says ‘splash’ you need to type ‘vga=xxx’. The xxx should be replaced by 3 digits based on what colour depth and resolution you want. for example, mine is ‘vga=788’ which is 800×600 16bit. See this page for a table outlining possible setups and the relevant codes.

Once that is done, save and restart your system – you should now have a framebuffer on your command line!

to try it out, download fbi (a command line  image viewer) ‘sudo apt-get install fbi’

then ‘fbi ~/some/image.png’ and you’ll see for yourself!

This worked perfectly for me on my EEE900 running chunchbang. I take no responsibility if you muck up your system. GOOD LUCK!


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