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Thread: Higher Resolution (not in Xwindows)

  1. #1

    Higher Resolution (not in Xwindows)

    I am working on 600Mhz Dell Inspiron 7500 laptop with 384 Megs of Ram and a 15.4" monitor.

    I am a fairly new Linux user and extremely interested in learning more. After purchasing (and reading) 2 very good books on the subject and spending countless hours scouring the web, I have been unable to get this question answered.

    Basically - I would like to work in the Linux Shell - Just the screen that comes up at 'runlevel 3' (no Xwindows). So far, I have found everything that I need there and do not like the resource usage of xwindows.

    How do I change the resolution of the standard shell? I can't stand looking at the 640x480 screen... Xwindows shows everything at 1280x1024 which is exactly what I want in the shell.

    I have done some research into the /etc/termcap file and actually made changes to the number of 'rows' and 'columns' using 'stty', but these changes didn't seem to affect anything. Could someone please help me?


    Thanks,

    Luke


  2. #2
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    Re:Higher Resolution (not in Xwindows)

    Set up framebuffer, I think.

    Or just setup X, and run a light window manager. You probably will have more flexibility with a few xterms on your screen at once than with one huge term.

  3. #3
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    Re:Higher Resolution (not in Xwindows)

    I don't think it's possible without running X. I believe it is a hardware limitation of the LCD screen that software cannot overcome. I've seen some laptops letting you set this up from BIOS, but they have a special circuit to blow the picture up in character mode.

    I agree with ph34r, try a light window manager.

  4. #4

    Re:Higher Resolution (not in Xwindows)

    I'd say try using framebuffer. We can help you set this up if you want. What flavour of linux are you using? And what boot manager (Lilo, Grub, some other exotic variety..)?

  5. #5
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    Re:Higher Resolution (not in Xwindows)

    Be careful of the framebuffer! Some graphics chips don't like it (mine doesn't, for instance). Definitely try it though, it could be the thing you're looking for to help you out. Like ph34r and Cloverm said, add x-windows and use a lightweight window manager (xfree86 even comes with it's own little window manager - twm).

    My question to you is why don't you want to use x-window? I would think that your system is more than powerful enough to run full-bore KDE with all the bells and whistles running (it might run a bit slow, but that is to be expected with older systems). Anyway, if you're worried that a desktop enviroment will make it hard to learn linux, believe me, it isn't true. Debian and Slackware have less "hand holding". Though, you can still do a lot of cli related stuff even if you use Suse, Redhat, or Mandrake.

    Cheers

  6. #6

    Re:Higher Resolution (not in Xwindows)

    Thanks much for all the responses - This the first time I've posted to this forum and it's encouraging to get so much good, clear advice.

    Regarding xwindows -

    I am currently running gnome, but have a few problems with it:

    1) My battery is a year and a half old, and I can get about 4 hours out of it in term, but only about 45 minutes in gnome - (I can watch the meter shrinking by the minute)

    2) gnome chews up my ram for no apparent reason - after hours in term, I have about 130 megs (execute 'free' command) - but after 45 mins in gnome, I've got about 4 megs free...

    3) Netscape, and Mozilla both drag and drag and drag when trying to render pages - (I assume it's because they don't get enough ram?) - I recently discovered galeon which is what I'm using now, and it seems to run OK

    4) I hate my laptop mouse/touchpad -

    5) Really just want to use vim and learn various compilers - which require no gui whatsoever...

    Please don't think I'm griping about drawbacks of gnome - I think it's phenomenal from an 'accomplishment' perspective, I just don't have any need for it and consequently, don't want to chew up unnecessary resources.

    I've tried to install KDE, but it requires the QT libs and I'm getting an error when I try to run the ./configure command to install QT...

    #After executing ./configure -
    #Many lines cascade past me and end at:

    /usr/include/libio.h:53:21: stdarg.h: No such file or directory
    gmake: *** [msvc_objectmodel.dep] Error 1
    qmake failed to build. Aborting.

    I've downloaded the entire KDE system (all .rpm files) but can't get qt running, so I haven't tried installing them.

    Ultimately, I'm not sure KDE will be much better, it sounds like there are actually 'lite' versions of xwin that would be easier to install and consume fewer resources while meeting my specific needs... Is there one that I should spend my time on?

    Thanks again.


    Luke


  7. #7
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    Re:Higher Resolution (not in Xwindows)

    Well, I think that you can't go wrong with xfce which is a very lite Desktop environment. WindowMaker is a great, very lite but feature rich window manager. Check this site out for more options.

    Cheers

  8. #8
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    Re:Higher Resolution (not in Xwindows)

    yeah if you use a window manager such as waimea or openbox your resource use will be much much lower. if you thought gnome was bad for resources then you definitely would not like kde as it is resource hog as well. xfce is about the lightest desktop environment you can get before delving into the window managers.

  9. #9
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    Re:Higher Resolution (not in Xwindows)

    You really have two options..

    1) Use a lighter window manager. It should use less resources and it will allow you to have multiple xterms (aterms, eterms, what have you) open on the screen at the same time. I like that method, however your needs don't require this, it's just convenient.

    2) Use a framebuffer. This will allow you to have terminals with more columns/rows, basically exactly what your original question was about. You still have multiple terms, but only one displayed per screen (using alt-[f1-f6] you could switch between them.)

    If you're in this to learn, figure out how to do both of those and make up your own mind.

  10. #10

    Re:Higher Resolution (not in Xwindows)

    [quote author=trickster link=board=1;threadid=5628;start=0#54151 date=1037735363]
    I'd say try using framebuffer. We can help you set this up if you want. What flavour of linux are you using? And what boot manager (Lilo, Grub, some other exotic variety..)?
    [/quote]

    Hey trickster, I've done some searching and reading, and it sounds more and more like framebuffer is what I need. So I'm going to go forward in that direction. With that decision, there are now quite a few questions:

    1) Where do I get it?
    2) Anything I should look out for when installing / configuring?
    3) Could I destroy my laptop monitor if configure incorrectly?
    4) So far, everything I've seen about video resolution outside of xwin is extremely cryptic - If you can recommend a specific config in framebuffer terms, that would be incredibly helpful - I'm looking for:
    1280x1024 (and I believe the lcd just does a 60-something Hz refresh...)

    In answer to your earlier questions:
    1) I'm running Mandrake 8.2 with a 'minimal / developer install'
    2) Using lilo (I'm not sure what version if there is one)
    3) Dual boot to win2kpro w/ Linux as the default


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