Monday, May 17, 2010

Fixing Slackware64 Console Video Mode Bug

I have just finished installing my machine (Athlon64 X2 4000+, 2GB RAM, ATI RS690G motherboard) when I found that the console went blank after logging-out from X. It takes me a couple of hours to figure out what's wrong because the console is just fine prior to starting the X server. After playing around with LILO, I found out that the it's the video mode that causes the bug. My LCD display cannot switch to the requested "default" video mode upon logging out from X. These are the steps to fix the video mode (I'm using LILO bootloader):

1. Edit /etc/lilo.conf and change the video mode to "vga=ask". This will force the dialog that let you choose the correct video mode parameter to pass to the kernel on boot.

2. Reboot the machine.

3. Assuming that you know the correct video mode for your display (resolution and color depth). Enter the correct video mode number when LILO ask for the video mode to be used. LILO will display the video mode supported by the display (acquired via EDID). Anyway, the number corresponding to the video mode is in hexadecimal value. For example, 1280x1024x16 (1280x1024 16-bit) corresponds to video mode number 365h (794 decimal).

4. Edit /etc/lilo.conf and change the video mode to the suitable video mode number. For example, if your display support 1280x1024x16, you should change the "vga=ask" in lilo.conf to "vga=794". In the preceding example, the video mode number in lilo.conf is in decimal.

5. Reboot to see whether you have a flawless console video mode.

That's it. With this, you should be able to fix or enhance the look and feel of your console in Slackware64 (or other Linux distro).
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