Configuring console screen resolutions in lfs build 6.4

Lauri Kasanen curaga at
Sat Jun 6 07:42:05 PDT 2009

> Hello everyone: I was hoping someone may be able to comment on what I
> am trying to do with my lfs build.
> After building my lfs on a partition I installed on another,
> Zenwalks' core build, basically their usual build but without X
> windows(consoles only).  I noticed that on that build they boot into
> a resolution of 100 x 37 (got from stty -a) whereas lfs as is goes
> into 80 x25.  My goal is to find a way to be able to change the lfs
> build to the same resolution or other options that my system is
> capable of doing.
> What I first did was try different settings of  vga=<n> in Grubs
> menu.lst file;  this had no results.
> Then I wrote vga=ask for both Zenwalk and lfs  in Grubs menu.lst and
> when booting to either Zenwalk or Grub both gave me the same list
> of  screen resolution choices, although none offered 100 x 37.  Even
> though with Zenwalk it doesn't offer that choice it still boots into
> 100 x 37 if I just wait and not make a choice.
> Also, in either boot process(Zenwalk or lfs) I tried doing a "scan
> for more options" and the system console would blank off and for
> about half a minute I would hear a series of monitor clicking on and
> off sounds; although at the end it would return to the same menu of
> choices saying it could not find other options.
> What I have found so far is that the only screen codes that work,
> allowing me to change to something other that 80 x 25 are the other
> 80 x <n> resolution options.  I did find on the internet a reference
> to the 100 x 37 code but that did not work for me. Options that don't
> work just makes my screen go blank with the system doing a bit more
> activity then hanging, making me have to reboot; blind typing and
> entering some commands doesn't do anything that I have tried so far
> like halt or shutdown.
> At the moment on my other computer I have an editor program
> displaying both config files of Zenwalk and my lfs build side by side
> to look at possible differences that I may want to try change.
> I don't mind going through this process but it may take a long time
> due to my build system being on a older computer which is slow on the
> kernel compiles.
> At the moment I don't know much about boot scripts other than
> something involved with them when doing chapter 7 in the book.  I was
> thinking maybe that is where the changes need to be done?
> I recently tried the idea to watch the screen closely with the
> Zenwalk boot to try and note of what's being displayed just prior to
> its change over to 100 x 37 mode.  The messages scroll too fast for
> me to make any sense of what was being displayed although immediately
> after the change over the first things being displayed in 100 x 37
> mode is  something to the effect of:
>     sisfb
>     SIS 630 frame buffer
>     fb0fbSIS  630  frame buffer device  version 1.8.9
> In one recompile I made sure all settings related to SIS(that's the
> manufacturer of some chips on my system) were selected but to no avail.
> Any suggestions of what I may read to find more info on this matter
> or any comments is appreciated.  Thank you.
> The Zenwalk kernel build is
> and the lfs kernel build is  made using the lfs book 6.4
> with lfs  livecd:  x86-6.3-r2160 but using sources recommended in 6.4 book

There are now three kinds of console modes: pure text modes, visible with vga=ask, framebuffer modes via a fb driver, and KMS modes in the to-be 2.6.30 for some hardware. Zenwalk is clearly using a framebuffer mode.

Vesa FB differs from hardware-specific framebuffer drivers in that the hw-specific ones scan your display and automatically use the best resolution. With vesa you need to pick one yourself.

The easiest solution would be to pick the Sis FB driver, but in case it doesn't work for you, use the vesa driver, and then an appropriate vga=xxx code (791 would be 1024x768x16).

For more info see the framebuffer howto at

- Lauri

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