Subject: Re: wscons 50 rows
To: Miles Nordin <carton@Ivy.NET>
From: Todd Whitesel <>
List: current-users
Date: 01/25/2000 00:48:51
> Does wscons on VGA use the text-mode of the VGA card?


> If so, w.r.t. unicode and old fixed-frequency monitors, do you think it
> would be of more-than-neglidgible benefit and improved simplicity to move
> VGA-based ports to a bitmapped framebuffer by default?  Would it help the
> issue under discussion any?

Somebody might want this as an option (Sun console font on your PC! Whee!)
but I personally like the FAST text mode hardware, so I think sticking to
the limitations of EGA/VGA text mode are worth it.

> I remember, for example, that Linux tried to do some svgatextmode stuff so
> you could ask for an arbitrary text screen geomoetry w ith something like
> an XFree86 modeline. It broke down to uselessness fairly quickly because

ooh, that sounds like a marvelous evil hack. But of course the hardware was
never designed to do it, so it's not surprising that it didn't work well in

> I've been wondering about this for a long time but i'm pretty ignorant as
> to the low-level issues involved w.r.t. NetBSD and compatibility with odd
> cards. I've never actually seen anything but a serial console on
> NetBSD/i386 because I have only fixed-frequency monitors.  So this is
> almost guaranteed to be a dumb question, but it would be considerable
> effort for me to self-educate--appologies in advance.

All of pccons, pcvt, and wscons use the text mode EGA/VGA hardware; the
standard text modes do not play with the screen mode, they just rearrange
the partitioning of dots to character cells depending on the font size.
I've got quite a few fixed-frequency VGA monitors and they work fine on
all my NetBSD machines (not just PC's) that support VGA text displays.

Todd Whitesel
toddpw @