the console driver
driver provides multiple virtual
terminals. It resembles the SCO color console driver.
driver is implemented on top of
the keyboard driver
and the video card driver
and so requires both of them to be configured in the system.
There can be only one
in the system.
driver provides multiple virtual
terminals which appear as if they were separate terminals. One virtual
terminal is considered current and exclusively occupies the screen and the
keyboard; the other virtual terminals are placed in the background.
In order to use virtual terminals, they must be individually marked ``on'' in
will recognize them to be active and run
to let the user log in to the system. By default, only the first eight virtual
terminals are activated in /etc/ttys
You press the
key and a switch key to
switch between virtual terminals. The following table summarizes the
correspondence between the switch key and the virtual terminal.
Alt-F1 ttyv0 Alt-F7 ttyv6 Shift-Alt-F1 ttyva
Alt-F2 ttyv1 Alt-F8 ttyv7 Shift-Alt-F2 ttyvb
Alt-F3 ttyv2 Alt-F9 ttyv8 Shift-Alt-F3 ttyvc
Alt-F4 ttyv3 Alt-F10 ttyv9 Shift-Alt-F4 ttyvd
Alt-F5 ttyv4 Alt-F11 ttyva Shift-Alt-F5 ttyve
Alt-F6 ttyv5 Alt-F12 ttyvb Shift-Alt-F6 ttyvf
You can also use the ``nscr'' key (usually the
key on the AT Enhanced
keyboard) to cycle available virtual terminals.
The default number of available virtual terminals is 16. This can be changed
with the kernel configuration option
Note that the X server usually requires a virtual terminal for display purposes,
so at least one terminal must be left unused by
so that it can be used by the X server.
driver, in conjunction with the
keyboard driver, allows the user to change key definitions and function key
command will load a key definition file (known as ``keymap'' file), dump the
current keymap, and assign a string to a function key. See
for the keymap file.
You may want to set the keymap
to the desired keymap
file so that it will be automatically loaded when the system starts up.
For most modern video cards, e.g., VGA, the
driver and the video card driver
allow the user to change the font used on the screen. The
command can be used to load a font file from
The font comes in various sizes: 8x8, 8x14 and 8x16. The 8x16 font is typically
used for the VGA card in the 80-column-by-25-line mode. Other video modes may
require different font sizes. It is better to always load all three sizes of
the same font.
You may set font8x8
to the desired font files so
that they will be automatically loaded when the system starts up.
Optionally you can specify a particular font file as the default. See the
If your video card does not support software fonts, you may still be able to
achieve a similar effect by re-mapping the font built into your video card.
to load a screen map file which defines the mapping between character codes.
You can use your mouse to copy text on the screen and paste it as if it was
typed by hand. You must be running the mouse daemon
and enable the mouse cursor in the virtual terminal via
Pressing mouse button 1 (usually the left button) will start selection.
Releasing button 1 will end the selection process. The selected text will be
marked by inverting foreground and background colors. You can press button 3
(usually the right button) to extend the selected region. The selected text is
placed in the copy buffer and can be pasted at the cursor position by pressing
button 2 (usually the middle button) as many times as you like.
If your mouse has only two buttons, you may want to use the
option below to make the
right button to paste the text. Alternatively you can make the mouse daemon
emulate the middle button. See the man page for
for more details.
driver allows the user to browse
the output which has ``scrolled off'' the top of the screen.
Press the ``slock'' key (usually
on many keyboards) and the terminal
is in the ``scrollback'' mode. It is indicated by the
LED. Use the arrow keys, the
keys and the
keys to scroll buffered terminal
output. Press the ``slock'' key again to get back to the normal terminal mode.
The size of the scrollback buffer can be set by the
option described below.
driver can be made to put up the
screen saver if the current virtual terminal is idle, that is, the user is not
typing on the keyboard nor moving the mouse. See
for more details.
The following kernel configuration options control the
- This option sets the number of virtual terminals to
N. The default value is 16.
- This option selects the alternative way of displaying the mouse cursor in
the virtual terminal. It may be expensive for some video cards to draw the
arrow-shaped cursor, and you may want to try this option. However, the
appearance of the alternative mouse cursor may not be very appealing. Note
that if you use the
option then you must also use this option if you wish to be able to use
- This options specifies characters that will be looked for when the driver
searches for words boundaries when doing cut operation. By default, its
value is “
\x20” — a space
- This options instructs the driver to convert leading spaces into tabs when
copying data into cut buffer. This might be useful to preserve indentation
when copying tab-indented text.
- This option disables the ``debug'' key combination (by default, it is
Ctl-PrintScreen). It will prevent users
from entering the kernel debugger (KDB) by pressing the key combination.
KDB will still be invoked when the kernel panics or hits a break point if
it is included in the kernel. If this option is not defined, this behavior
may be controlled at runtime by the
- This option disables the ``reboot'' key (by default, it is
Ctl-Alt-Del), so that the casual user
may not accidentally reboot the system. If this option is not defined,
this behavior may be controlled at runtime by the
- Sets the size of back scroll buffer to N
lines. The default value is 100.
- Unless the
above is specified, the
reserves four consecutive character codes in order to display the mouse
cursor in the virtual terminals in some systems. This option specifies the
first character code to C to be used for
this purpose. The default value is 0xd0. A good candidate is 0x03.
- Adds support for pixel (raster) mode console. This mode is useful on some
laptop computers, but less so on most other systems, and it adds
substantial amount of code to syscons. If this option is NOT defined, you
can reduce the kernel size a lot. See the
VESAMODE flag below.
- If you have a two button mouse, you may want to add this option to use the
right button of the mouse to paste text. See
Support and Copy-and-Paste above.
- These options will set the default colors. Available colors are defined in
See EXAMPLES below.
SC_KERNEL_CONS_ATTRS is a character
string giving a sequence of attributes in binary format. The sequence will
be repeated up to the number of CPUs. Beware that the string must not be
null, since the kernel divides by its length.
- This option will specify the default font. Available fonts are: iso, iso2,
koi8-r, koi8-u, cp437, cp850, cp865, cp866 and cp866u. 16-line, 14-line
and 8-line font data will be compiled in. Without this option, the
syscons driver will use whatever font
is already loaded in the video card, unless you explicitly load a software
font at startup. See
- This option, which is also available as
disables switching between virtual terminals (graphics <-> text)
during suspend/resume (ACPI and APM). Use this option if your system is
freezing when you are running X and trying to suspend.
The following options will remove some features from the
driver and save kernel memory.
- This option disables ``copy and paste'' operation in virtual
syscons driver can load software
fonts on some video cards. This option removes this feature. Note that if
you still wish to use the mouse with this option then you must also use
- This option disables back-scrolling in virtual terminals.
- This option removes mouse support in the
syscons driver. The mouse daemon
will fail if this option is defined. This option implies the
SC_NO_CUTPASTE option too.
The following driver flags can be used to control the
driver. Driver flags can be set
tunable, either in
, or else at the loader
- 0x0080 (VESAMODE)
- This option puts the video card in the VESA mode specified by
vesa_mode during kernel initialization.
Note that in order for this flag to work, the kernel must be compiled with
SC_PIXEL_MODE option explained
above. A list of the available mode can be obtained via
- 0x0100 (AUTODETECT_KBD)
- This option instructs the syscons driver to periodically scan for a
keyboard device if it is not currently attached to one. Otherwise, the
driver only probes for a keyboard once during bootup.
These settings can be entered at the
prompt or in
- When both
have been compiled into the kernel, the one to use for the system console
can be selected by setting this variable to
GENERIC kernel uses
when this value is not set.
- virtual terminals
- terminal initialization information
- font files
- key map files
- screen map files
driver requires the keyboard
driver and the video card driver, the kernel configuration file should contain
the following lines.
You also need the following lines in
for these drivers.
If you do not intend to load the splash image or use the screen saver, the last
line is not necessary, and can be omitted.
Note that the keyboard controller driver
is required by the keyboard driver
The following lines will set the default colors. The normal text will be green
on black background. The reversed text will be yellow on green background.
Note that you cannot put any white space inside the quoted string, because of
the current implementation of
The following lines will set the default colors of the kernel message. The
kernel message will be printed bright red on black background. The reversed
message will be black on red background.
is not set, or
is set to its default of bright white on black, the following line will set 4
red-ish colors for printing kernel messages in colors depending on the CPU.
The default scheme is probably better for up to 8 CPUs. Use a long string to get
unique colors for more than 8 CPUs.
To turn off all per-CPU coloring of kernel messages, set SC_KERNEL_CONS_ATTR to
a non-default value, or use the default in a pattern of length 1.
The following example adds the font files
to the kernel.
driver first appeared in
driver was written by
This manual page was written by Kazutaka
The amount of data that is possible to insert from the cut buffer is limited by
}, a system limit on the
number of bytes that may be stored in the terminal input queue - usually 1024
This manual page is incomplete and urgently needs revision.