Restoring sc console look and feel with vt

Polytropon freebsd at
Sat Sep 23 13:24:39 UTC 2017

On Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:14:13 -0600 (MDT), Warren Block wrote:
> On Sat, 16 Sep 2017, Polytropon wrote:
> > On Sun, 17 Sep 2017 02:21:51 +1000 (EST), Ian Smith wrote:
> >> Are you sure there's no way to use sc(4) with X on 10.3?
> >
> > The reason why I switched to vt was exactly that reason: with sc
> > in place, X wouldn't start anymore. This happened at some point
> > during the "updating trail" of 10.1 -> 10.3 with ports updated
> > (via pkg). Something that worked for months suddenly stopped
> > working, which always is a terrible experience. When I switched
> > to vt in the loader, X worked again as it did before.
> I'm fairly sure that is due to KMS video.  vt(4) supports it, sc(4) was 
> out decades before anyone thought of it.

Yes, but in this case X "triggered the error", as it started
depending on KMS and wouldn't start without it (I definitely
had to add i915kms_load="YES" in /boot/loader.conf). So basically
we're in the state of "sc and X don't work together anymore".
For pure text-mode systems (i. e., servers with a directly
connected console), there's no problem continuing to use sc.

> From another channel, I've been told that persistently setting the gop 
> command in the loader is either not implemented or must be done in one 
> of the Forth loader files.  I tried some things with no success yet, and 
> have inquiries to dteske at .

It would be great to have at least an explanation that stays
valid, in which users can read where and how to set up things.
If this involved manual additions to loader files - no problem.

> >> We saw lots
> >> about getting proper console switching going (again) using vt and X on
> >> the stable@ list on earlier 10.x, but I can't recall any details, since
> >> sc still works fine on my 9.3 (amd64) system, where vt(4) first became
> >> available, including proper suspend/resume support from ttyvN or from X.
> >
> > That is a different problem. Until you start X, sc works perfectly
> > fine. Even in a setting where "sc + startx" is working, shutting
> > down the X session or switching using e. g. Ctrl+Alt+F1 leaves you
> > with a console that works, but without visible text ("blind console").
> > With vt, at least this problem is gone, even though the console now
> > is visible only with the tiniest letters.
> I just tested this on a Haswell notebook with 11-stable.  The mode 
> setting is either lost after leaving X, or it just keeps the resolution 
> chosen in X.

Correct - this matches my observations. In any case, 80x25 has
been destroyed until reboot.

> However, vidfont and vidcontrol work to select a larger font.
>    vidfont -p
> to print available font names.  Then
>    vidcontrol -f vgarom-16x32
> to choose one of them.  This can be set in /etc/rc.conf with
>    allscreens_flags="-f vgarom-16x13"
> It does not take effect until late in the startup, so the boot messages 
> are in the default or gop-set mode.

So basically, it goes from 80x25 text to 80x25 graphics to 78x34
graphics and finally to something that matches 80x25... I hope. :-)

I will test this soon. I think one of the problems is that 10.3
does not contain as many fonts as 11 does. Wel... what kind of
problems have we built upon us... now we need to manually download
and test fonts in order to get 80x25, and if we attach a different
screen, things break again... ;-)

> I'm not sure where this should be documented in the Handbook.

I'd say it could warrant the creation of a new chapter, just like
X has its own chapter. Text mode is now "little X", so maybe a
name like "Text mode operations" or "Console operations" could
be added. But on the other hand - as X is causing the problems,
it could just be a sub-part of the X chapter, especially where
it mentions that you need KMS, and _this_ is the point where
the user notices that the classic console mode is gone.

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list