Changing Console Video Modes

Joshua Isom jrisom at
Mon Apr 21 18:52:30 UTC 2008

On Apr 20, 2008, at 9:28 PM, Edward Ruggeri wrote:

> I'm just reading through the manual for FreeBSD, and I am at section
> 3.2.6 "Changing Console Video Modes."  This discusses how to change
> the default console resolution.  I would try this out, but as I can
> only access my FreeBSD box remotely at the moment, I am hesitant to
> recompile the kernel with the necessary options (I currently get an
> error when running "#vidcontrol -i mode": "getting active vty:
> Inappropriate ioctl for device".  I assume this is because the current
> kernel is insufficient?).  I'm afraid my computer might need to be
> booted by hand, which I wouldn't be able to do.
> In any case, lacking the ability to experiment, I am curious about
> different video modes.  Will greater resolutions allow me to fit more
> text on the screen in the console?  Of course I know (maybe less than
> I think) about resolution in terms of graphical environments (e.g.,
> can see more of a high-resolution image w/ a greater resolution), but
> is it the same for text?
> Thanks!
> Sincerely,
> -- Ned Ruggeri

Don't forget to use i386 instead of amd64, since those higher 
resolutions are vesa modes(I also don't think you can get any 
widescreen resolutions) and amd64 can't access the vesa instructions.  
You might be able to try hacking the loader and change resolutions 
there but I don't know if it would stay that way through boot or what 
effect X windows would have.

You could just try a fullscreen xterm.  Using evilwm it can give you 
the look of a console with a higher resolution.

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