(Thanks to everybody who replied.
I still don’t have a working solution yet I eventually managed to find a configuration that works for my purposes, combining some of the advice; more about this in a followup post.)
OK, here’s an interesting problem for all you Linux masters/journeymen (or maybe even beginners) out there. The whole story is a bit too long to explain it on IRC or somesuch, so I’m doing it here. I’m also offering a bounty/reward; see below.
But first things first. Last week I got an ASUS 1018P. It’s a 10″ netbook that I specifically got to do a certain Project that I have been thinking about for a while now. It currently has Ubuntu 11.04 desktop on it (most attempts to install other versions of Linux failed, but that doesn’t matter right now). In GUI mode, everything seems to work fine; graphics are correct (it’s a widescreen), wireless is instantly recognized, sound works, etc. No problems there.
Now, what I want, is apparently rather unusual in this day and age. You know how in the old days of MS-DOS (or early Linuxen) the computer would boot, and you would get a 80×25 text screen? Well, that’s basically what I want here. I want an option in my boot menu that does just that; instead of booting into the GUI, it shows you a login prompt in 80×25 text mode, and stays there after logging in.
Sounds simple? Not for me. I know a little about Linux, but not enough to pull it all off, because I run into too many problems that I don’t know how to fix. The way I understand it, the new menu option must boot in runlevel 3, and must use a screen resolution lower than 1024×768 (currently it shows a font with more columns/rows than 80×25, which makes the text unpleasantly small on the 10″ screen).
(The machine is capable of showing 80×25, by the way; it uses it for the BIOS screen, and it also uses it for certain other Linux installations, like Gentoo, so I know it works. It’s just that Ubuntu insists on switching to a higher resolution with a smaller font.)
If you know how to fix this, I would like to hear from you. ^_^ Please leave comments either below, or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Assume that I am not very smart and don’t know much about Linux. ;-) In other words, I would need some hand-holding, rather than vague advice.
The first reader to come up with an acceptable solution can pick a “prize” from the list below. To summarize, this is what I need:
- extra option in GRUB2 boot menu
- boot in runlevel 3 (necessary for text mode, I think, but feel free to correct me)
- set screen to a lower resolution, e.g. 640×480 or 800×600, which allows for 80×25 text
- ideally, the process should be reproducible on other netbooks as well (assuming Ubuntu)
- BONUS points if everything else still works in text mode (sound, wireless, etc)
- BONUS points if it’s still possible to switch to a graphics mode using one library or another, and back to text mode (not a GUI, I’m more thinking along the lines of SDL here, etc), and you can tell me a bit about how to do this
Now for the rewards. I don’t have money to offer, but I do have a bunch of stuff laying around that I don’t use, and that might be of interest to people. I will send it to you free of charge. NOTE: Sorry, but I can only send it to you if you are in the US or Canada; otherwise the shipping costs will get a little too unwieldy. :( If you are from another country, maybe we can make other arrangements, e.g. I could write some Python code for you, or something.
- The Little Lisper, Third Edition
- Ada 95 Problem Solving and Program Design (Feldman, Koffman)
- Programming in Ada 95 (Barnes)
- Unix Ada Programming (Gehani)
- Data Structures and Algorithms: An Object-Oriented Approach Using Ada 95 (Beidler)
- Miranda: The Craft of Functional Programming (Thompson)
- Flex 3: A beginner’s guide (Davis, Phillips)
- The Art of Computer Programming vol. 1: Fundamental Algorithms, Second Edition (Knuth)
- Dreaming in Code (Rosenberg)
- In The Land of Invented Languages (Okrent)
- Twisty Little Passages (Montfort)
- Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (Salen, Zimmerman)
- The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology (Salen, Zimmerman)
- Photoshop CS Bible (McClelland)
- Magic: The Puzzling (Rosewater)
If none of these are to your liking, I also have a bunch of Magic cards (mostly older ones), fantasy books, video games, disassembled Zoids, etc. Oh, and you get to pick more items if you satisfy the “bonus” conditions listed. :)
Thanks in advance…
–Hans who should really turn in his hacker’s license :(