Non-X text mode console

Chris Snook csnook at
Mon Sep 15 18:24:08 UTC 2008

David A. Wheeler wrote:
> I routinely use text mode console without X, for a
> variety of reasons.  For example:
> * I have a number of systems (servers) at runlevel 3
> * console is critically important when X fails. "Log in with ssh"
>   doesn't work when ssh or the network fails.
> * It's often much simpler to quickly log in to do a small task
>   rather than waiting for all the X + desktop startup stuff
> * I have some systems that have GUIs but not X at all
>   (e.g., use DirectFB directly to the framebuffer)... and
>   I sometimes need a recovery method, just like I do for X
> I think it's clear from this discussion here that many people DO
> find non-X console mode useful, and thus, it shouldn't be removed:
> Dominik 'Rathann' Mierzejewski:
>> It does matter, since the removal affects me (and some other people, apparently),
>> while just keeping it means it will continue to work as it does now.
> The complaints about non-X console mode failing to support
> "multiple fonts" are irrelevant.  I do not WANT text-mode
> console to support multiple fonts; that would interfere with
> console mode's advantages (e.g., small size, often works even when
> X fails). When I want fonts, I'll use X.
> --- David A. Wheeler

Unless I've missed something huge, virtual terminals aren't going away.  What 
may or may not be going away is the x86 video BIOS text mode, to be replaced 
with a kernel framebuffer, which precludes the use of console fonts, which very 
few people ever mess with.  The console itself will remain.  Someone please 
correct me if I'm wrong.

-- Chris

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