Booting Linux with No Video card

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Thu Dec 6 02:16:48 UTC 2018

Ok, generic answer:

1) Linux is able to boot without video hardware. Many WiFi base stations run Linux. They have no video hardware at all.
Server systems might not have video hardware which could be connected to a monitor. It could be they have no video hardware.
2) You do not fool Linux into thinking there is video hardware.
3) You need to tell where your console is connected and which parameters it uses (speed, parity, stop).
4) Boot prompt is not necessarily Linux, usually it is your boot loader which quite often is called grub (on PCs).
5) I am not aware whether grub connects to serial ports.
6) It might be your motherboard requires VGA or whatever video card and conventional keyboard in order to set up the firmware so that it is able to boot without that hardware. It might be the firmware plain refuses to boot your system without video card and/or keyboard. This is not Linux specific. It is dependent on motherboard firmware (BIOS, UEFI,  whatever). Usually only PC server systems boot without video cards. Even then they have console which could be connected over serial line. You can then configure that server firmware using your text console.

Honestly, I have a feeling you are trying to accomplish something that your hardware might not be able to do out of the box. These days computers are so cheap that personally I wouldn't start experimenting with unknown brand motherboards at all. The last system I built was an Intel NUC which is known to work well with Linux. You, your partner, friend or shop assistant adds RAM and SSD. Then you boot the system. It just works and costs you a few hundred.

I know tinkering with computers is fun. I have tinkered with different computer and processor architectures in the past. I have built systems from scratch but I don't do it any more. I feel it just isn't worth the hassle. That's my personal view. Yours might be different and I'm fine with that.

I like the machines when they just work and are supported for years (software close to ten years). I don't want to reinstall or reconfigure my daily rigs at home all the time. I purchase them with as long on-site warranty as possible. Minimum three years. If they break service personnel comes fixing them on my kitchen table. I have certain older computers which are ten or more years old. No warranty on those any more.

But that's me and my choice on the computers I own and support at home. 

On December 6, 2018 12:27:11 AM UTC, Linux for blind general discussion <blinux-list at> wrote:
>Linux for blind general discussion <blinux-list at> wrote:
>> I have a feeling you haven't provided enough information for anyone
>> help. Unfortunately it is quite normal on this list.
>> Please try to tell exactly what you are trying to accomplish with
>> exact hardware setup and scenario.
>Trying to install Debian on a new system. When I said, debian prompt, I
>was referring to the boot prompt observed when booting a USB stick or
>cd. This usually consists of the distribution name and optionally a
>prompt to type commands.
>The board does not have integrated video, at all. When the USB stick is
>plugged in (or boot cd inserted), the computer just sits there, doing
>Having observed similar behavior from another system, it was clear that
>video hardware is required. Immediately upon inserting a video card
>into the previous system, everything worked as normal.
>The reason I wrote was because subsequent to my previous experience, I
>found out that Linux could be fooled into thinking there was video
>hardware present when, in fact, there isn't. I knew it could be fooled
>into thinking there was a monitor present, but someone informed me that
>linux also did not necessarily need video hardware either.
>Unfortunately, the evidence he gave confirmed my own information; that
>is, editing xorg.conf to use xorg-video-dummy-x86 or similar. This is
>way ahead of where I am, as there is no xorg yet and we are still at
>trying to boot a linux USB stick or cd.
>I am using a braille display and, as previously stated, I saw no
>indication that the stick (or cd) had booted appear on the display. The
>computer just sat, humming to itself.
>I went ahead and ordered a cheap video PCI card, but I was curious to
>know if Linux could be fooled into running without it. It appears,
>however, that it can't. At least, not here. It was a generic question
>(can linux do this?) and not necessarily hardware specific.
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