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If you work on the commandline a lot (i.e. also on the console) you look for ways to make it more comfortable. One way is to configure your shell and make it more comfortable, or even switch to another well configurable and usable shell like the ZSH.

Of course there's more to the commandline than just the shell. For example you may want to use a higher resolution than the 80×25 characters, install some handy programs, make use of colours, use a different font and so on.


Modern displays reach at least Full HD or higher resolutions. The classical UNIX and Linux console however features a maximum of 80×25 characters. Even if you utilize the console very seldom, 80×25 is not really usable. Especially in Debian GNU/Linux, where (by default) you'll see the console on every boot and shutdown it is simply ugly.

So a higher resolution on the console is desirable. There used to be a kernel parameter vga=xxx where xxx was a code for the resolution and colour-depth. But the use of that option is deprecated, so it already gets ignored or will be soon.

Certainly there must be another solution to accomplish a higher console resolution than 80×25 characters? Indeed there is, although it is not as easy as the 'vga=xxx' parameter. Well… not exactly. It is just different ;-)

Configuring GRUB

Possibly you already did part of the GRUB configuration if you also use my GRUB Splashscreen. Here I'll assume you didn't.

First, you need to do some default settings in GRUB. The file /etc/default/grub needs to be edited for that.

  • Find the line GRUB_TERMINAL=console. If it is not a comment, make it one or change it to GRUB_TERMINAL=gfxterm.
  • Find the line #GRUB_GFXMODE=640×480 and uncomment it (if it already isn't). Change the resolution to the value you wish to use.1)
    If you are unsure which resolutions are supported, just hit 'c' in the GRUB menu and enter the command videoinfo (UEFI) or vbeinfo (BIOS). It should then list all available modes.
  • Add the line GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX=keep just below that line before.

This is already it. All that remains is running update-grub, reboot and you're done. Though you may want to pimp the console a little more before rebooting ;-)

Splash Screen

I used to describe here how to add your own self-made splashscreen and also provided my own 'creations'. Well, I am a lot of things but not an artist ;-) and also these days there is a way more convenient way to add a splash screen of your choice: Plymouth.

To use Plymouth, install some packages first (all of the following steps should be done as 'root'):

apt install plymouth plymouth-theme-breeze plymouth-themes

Now you can check the available themes using:

plymouth-set-default-theme -l

After you choose your theme (I use breeze because I am running that same theme in KDE Plasma), you can set it like this:

plymouth-set-default-theme -R <theme-name>

And last but not least, you need to tell GRUB to actually show the splash screen. To do so, find the line starting with GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT in /etc/default/grub. Usually it only says “quiet”, add a space and the word splash after the quiet but make sure it still stays inside the quotes. The line should now look like this:


Once this is done just update the Grub config with update-grub and after a reboot you should now see the splash screen instead of text flashing by on boot.

For more information and especially troubleshooting, you can check the Debian Wiki.

Console Font

In Debian the default console font is “Fixed”. This font is fine for the occasional console user, but a much more readable and beautiful font is “Terminus”. In Debian the packages “console-setup” and “console-terminus” should be installed by default. If not, just install them:

# apt install console-setup console-terminus

Afterwards run the console setup:

# dpkg-reconfigure console-setup

Just accept all the default values, except for the font. There choose “Terminus” (or “Terminus Bold” if you prefer).

Afterwards, reboot your machine and enjoy the console!

You can also add a colour-depth, like e.g. 1920x1080x32


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misc/console.txt · Last modified: 2024-05-20 11:33 by jens