View Full Version : [SOLVED] Screen resolution for ttys (text mode, not X)

December 27th, 2009, 09:55 PM
I have my new installation of Karmic running very smoothly, with the proprietary Nvidia drivers giving me fast, crisp and snappy performance in X (GNOME) at my laptop LCD panel's native resolution, 1280 x 800.

But the ttys (tty1 to tty6, ctrl-alt-f1 to ctrl-alt-f6) insist on running at a default 640x480. And the same applies to boot-time messages.

Is there a way I can tell Ubuntu to work at 1280x800 when in text mode?

I see a lot of threads on resolution for X, but nothing much on this.

December 29th, 2009, 09:04 AM

December 31st, 2009, 12:01 AM
I know this isn't a showstopper, but there must be someone with an idea to help. The X screens look so good it's a shame to have a messy login (even the pulsing white Ubuntu logo is distorted because it's a wide screen) and limited screen space in tty windows.

January 3rd, 2010, 05:21 PM
So, I spent the day booting with different options.

The grub2 official method appears to be setting the gfxpayload option, either to 'keep' or to a specific value. However, no values produced useful results - the login messages and the TTYs either defaulted back to 640x480, or were black or a garbled mess of colours.

The older way is adding 'vga=' to the boot options, but grub2 says this is deprecated, and it doesn't work for most values. I got halfway by setting vga=792, making sure 'quiet splash' were not present, and ignoring the deprecated message. Then I got a 1024x768 resolution for login and tty consoles. Other values just got low resolution.

But the best result was by changing the boot commands in /etc/grub.d/10_linux from 'linux' and 'initrd' to 'linux16' and 'initrd16'. Then setting the boot option "vga=865" in GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT in /etc/default/grub - and including "quiet splash" or not, it doesn't matter - I am able to get full native resolution of 1280x800, both in login console messages (visible if "quiet" isn't specified) and in TTYs 1 - 6. :) :D

If anyone is tempted to try this out, check what video modes your card supports via
sudo hwinfo --framebuffer and get the mode number from the line you want - I used Mode 0x0361 which is 865 decimal. You can probably set the boot option vga=0x0361 directly.

And remember after any changes to run
sudo update-grub

Now ... is this a bug? And is it a bug in Ubuntu, Debian, Grub2 or the kernel? :confused: