Customizing the Linux Console

Booting the kernel into a smaller text video mode

To boot the kernel into a specific hardware text mode, pass one of the recognized parameters to the kernel. This can be done in LILO or GRUB. Details are given below for GRUB users only, since LILO is no longer recommended for Red Hat Linux.

Supported choices on most VGA/ISA-heritage architecture:

/boot/grub/grub.conf (excerpt)
title Red Hat Linux (2.4.18-3smp)
	root (hd1,0)
	kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.9-13 vga=extended ro root=/dev/hdf2 hda=ide-scsi
	initrd /initrd-2.4.9-13.img

Try a "vga=ask" to get an interactive menu of modes on most hardware setups.

An addendum: to ensure other startup scripts cannot switch text modes, disable the setsysfont command:

$ su -
# chmod 000 /sbin/setsysfont

Disable or Change the Colored Text in the LS output

By default, Red Hat Linux enables the use of colored output text in the output from file listings with the ls command.

To remove color from all users' file listings, disable the /etc/profile.d/colorls.* files, and log out. The next login session for any user will not use colors.

$ su -
# chmod 000 /etc/profile.d/colorls.*

To remove color from just a single user's file listings, copy the global preferences to that user's home directory, and in that file, specify a 'none' setting for the use of colors. The next login session for that user will not use colors, while other users will use colors if they're enabled for the system.

$ cp /etc/DIR_COLORS ~/.dircolors
$ perl -pi -e 's/^COLOR.*$/COLOR none/' ~/.dircolors

To customize colors rather than disable them, edit either the system /etc/DIR_COLORS file, or from a user's individual ~/.dircolors file. The file has many comment lines to describe all of the various options available. The next login session will use the specified color scheme.

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