svga.txt 11.8 KB
Newer Older
1
.. include:: <isonum.txt>
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
2

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
=================================
Video Mode Selection Support 2.13
=================================

:Copyright: |copy| 1995--1999 Martin Mares, <mj@ucw.cz>

Intro
~~~~~

This small document describes the "Video Mode Selection" feature which
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
13 14 15 16
allows the use of various special video modes supported by the video BIOS. Due
to usage of the BIOS, the selection is limited to boot time (before the
kernel decompression starts) and works only on 80X86 machines.

17
.. note::
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
18

19 20 21 22 23 24
   Short intro for the impatient: Just use vga=ask for the first time,
   enter ``scan`` on the video mode prompt, pick the mode you want to use,
   remember its mode ID (the four-digit hexadecimal number) and then
   set the vga parameter to this number (converted to decimal first).

The video mode to be used is selected by a kernel parameter which can be
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
25 26 27
specified in the kernel Makefile (the SVGA_MODE=... line) or by the "vga=..."
option of LILO (or some other boot loader you use) or by the "vidmode" utility
(present in standard Linux utility packages). You can use the following values
28
of this parameter::
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46

   NORMAL_VGA - Standard 80x25 mode available on all display adapters.

   EXTENDED_VGA	- Standard 8-pixel font mode: 80x43 on EGA, 80x50 on VGA.

   ASK_VGA - Display a video mode menu upon startup (see below).

   0..35 - Menu item number (when you have used the menu to view the list of
      modes available on your adapter, you can specify the menu item you want
      to use). 0..9 correspond to "0".."9", 10..35 to "a".."z". Warning: the
      mode list displayed may vary as the kernel version changes, because the
      modes are listed in a "first detected -- first displayed" manner. It's
      better to use absolute mode numbers instead.

   0x.... - Hexadecimal video mode ID (also displayed on the menu, see below
      for exact meaning of the ID). Warning: rdev and LILO don't support
      hexadecimal numbers -- you have to convert it to decimal manually.

47 48 49 50
Menu
~~~~

The ASK_VGA mode causes the kernel to offer a video mode menu upon
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
51 52 53 54 55
bootup. It displays a "Press <RETURN> to see video modes available, <SPACE>
to continue or wait 30 secs" message. If you press <RETURN>, you enter the
menu, if you press <SPACE> or wait 30 seconds, the kernel will boot up in
the standard 80x25 mode.

56
The menu looks like::
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
57

58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65
	Video adapter: <name-of-detected-video-adapter>
	Mode:    COLSxROWS:
	0  0F00  80x25
	1  0F01  80x50
	2  0F02  80x43
	3  0F03  80x26
	....
	Enter mode number or ``scan``: <flashing-cursor-here>
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
66

67
<name-of-detected-video-adapter> tells what video adapter did Linux detect
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
68 69
-- it's either a generic adapter name (MDA, CGA, HGC, EGA, VGA, VESA VGA [a VGA
with VESA-compliant BIOS]) or a chipset name (e.g., Trident). Direct detection
70
of chipsets is turned off by default as it's inherently unreliable due to
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
71 72
absolutely insane PC design.

73
"0  0F00  80x25" means that the first menu item (the menu items are numbered
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
74 75 76
from "0" to "9" and from "a" to "z") is a 80x25 mode with ID=0x0f00 (see the
next section for a description of mode IDs).

77
<flashing-cursor-here> encourages you to enter the item number or mode ID
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
78 79 80 81
you wish to set and press <RETURN>. If the computer complains something about
"Unknown mode ID", it is trying to tell you that it isn't possible to set such
a mode. It's also possible to press only <RETURN> which leaves the current mode.

82
The mode list usually contains a few basic modes and some VESA modes.  In
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
83 84 85 86 87
case your chipset has been detected, some chipset-specific modes are shown as
well (some of these might be missing or unusable on your machine as different
BIOSes are often shipped with the same card and the mode numbers depend purely
on the VGA BIOS).

88
The modes displayed on the menu are partially sorted: The list starts with
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
89 90 91 92
the standard modes (80x25 and 80x50) followed by "special" modes (80x28 and
80x43), local modes (if the local modes feature is enabled), VESA modes and
finally SVGA modes for the auto-detected adapter.

93
If you are not happy with the mode list offered (e.g., if you think your card
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
94 95 96 97 98
is able to do more), you can enter "scan" instead of item number / mode ID.  The
program will try to ask the BIOS for all possible video mode numbers and test
what happens then. The screen will be probably flashing wildly for some time and
strange noises will be heard from inside the monitor and so on and then, really
all consistent video modes supported by your BIOS will appear (plus maybe some
99 100
``ghost modes``). If you are afraid this could damage your monitor, don't use
this function.
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
101

102 103
After scanning, the mode ordering is a bit different: the auto-detected SVGA
modes are not listed at all and the modes revealed by ``scan`` are shown before
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
104 105
all VESA modes.

106 107 108 109
Mode IDs
~~~~~~~~

Because of the complexity of all the video stuff, the video mode IDs
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
110 111 112 113
used here are also a bit complex. A video mode ID is a 16-bit number usually
expressed in a hexadecimal notation (starting with "0x"). You can set a mode
by entering its mode directly if you know it even if it isn't shown on the menu.

114
The ID numbers can be divided to those regions::
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
115 116 117

   0x0000 to 0x00ff - menu item references. 0x0000 is the first item. Don't use
	outside the menu as this can change from boot to boot (especially if you
118
	have used the ``scan`` feature).
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139

   0x0100 to 0x017f - standard BIOS modes. The ID is a BIOS video mode number
	(as presented to INT 10, function 00) increased by 0x0100.

   0x0200 to 0x08ff - VESA BIOS modes. The ID is a VESA mode ID increased by
	0x0100. All VESA modes should be autodetected and shown on the menu.

   0x0900 to 0x09ff - Video7 special modes. Set by calling INT 0x10, AX=0x6f05.
	(Usually 940=80x43, 941=132x25, 942=132x44, 943=80x60, 944=100x60,
	945=132x28 for the standard Video7 BIOS)

   0x0f00 to 0x0fff - special modes (they are set by various tricks -- usually
	by modifying one of the standard modes). Currently available:
	0x0f00	standard 80x25, don't reset mode if already set (=FFFF)
	0x0f01	standard with 8-point font: 80x43 on EGA, 80x50 on VGA
	0x0f02	VGA 80x43 (VGA switched to 350 scanlines with a 8-point font)
	0x0f03	VGA 80x28 (standard VGA scans, but 14-point font)
	0x0f04	leave current video mode
	0x0f05	VGA 80x30 (480 scans, 16-point font)
	0x0f06	VGA 80x34 (480 scans, 14-point font)
	0x0f07	VGA 80x60 (480 scans, 8-point font)
140
	0x0f08	Graphics hack (see the VIDEO_GFX_HACK paragraph below)
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152

   0x1000 to 0x7fff - modes specified by resolution. The code has a "0xRRCC"
	form where RR is a number of rows and CC is a number of columns.
	E.g., 0x1950 corresponds to a 80x25 mode, 0x2b84 to 132x43 etc.
	This is the only fully portable way to refer to a non-standard mode,
	but it relies on the mode being found and displayed on the menu
	(remember that mode scanning is not done automatically).

   0xff00 to 0xffff - aliases for backward compatibility:
	0xffff	equivalent to 0x0f00 (standard 80x25)
	0xfffe	equivalent to 0x0f01 (EGA 80x43 or VGA 80x50)

153
If you add 0x8000 to the mode ID, the program will try to recalculate
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
154 155 156 157 158
vertical display timing according to mode parameters, which can be used to
eliminate some annoying bugs of certain VGA BIOSes (usually those used for
cards with S3 chipsets and old Cirrus Logic BIOSes) -- mainly extra lines at the
end of the display.

159 160 161
Options
~~~~~~~

162 163 164 165 166
Build options for arch/x86/boot/* are selected by the kernel kconfig
utility and the kernel .config file.

VIDEO_GFX_HACK - includes special hack for setting of graphics modes
to be used later by special drivers.
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
167 168 169
Allows to set _any_ BIOS mode including graphic ones and forcing specific
text screen resolution instead of peeking it from BIOS variables. Don't use
unless you think you know what you're doing. To activate this setup, use
170
mode number 0x0f08 (see the Mode IDs section above).
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
171

172 173 174 175
Still doesn't work?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When the mode detection doesn't work (e.g., the mode list is incorrect or
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
176
the machine hangs instead of displaying the menu), try to switch off some of
177
the configuration options listed under "Options". If it fails, you can still use
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
178 179
your kernel with the video mode set directly via the kernel parameter.

180
In either case, please send me a bug report containing what _exactly_
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
181 182
happens and how do the configuration switches affect the behaviour of the bug.

183
If you start Linux from M$-DOS, you might also use some DOS tools for
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
184 185 186 187
video mode setting. In this case, you must specify the 0x0f04 mode ("leave
current settings") to Linux, because if you don't and you use any non-standard
mode, Linux will switch to 80x25 automatically.

188
If you set some extended mode and there's one or more extra lines on the
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
189 190 191 192 193
bottom of the display containing already scrolled-out text, your VGA BIOS
contains the most common video BIOS bug called "incorrect vertical display
end setting". Adding 0x8000 to the mode ID might fix the problem. Unfortunately,
this must be done manually -- no autodetection mechanisms are available.

194 195 196 197
History
~~~~~~~

=============== ================================================================
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234
1.0 (??-Nov-95)	First version supporting all adapters supported by the old
		setup.S + Cirrus Logic 54XX. Present in some 1.3.4? kernels
		and then removed due to instability on some machines.
2.0 (28-Jan-96)	Rewritten from scratch. Cirrus Logic 64XX support added, almost
		everything is configurable, the VESA support should be much more
		stable, explicit mode numbering allowed, "scan" implemented etc.
2.1 (30-Jan-96) VESA modes moved to 0x200-0x3ff. Mode selection by resolution
		supported. Few bugs fixed. VESA modes are listed prior to
		modes supplied by SVGA autodetection as they are more reliable.
		CLGD autodetect works better. Doesn't depend on 80x25 being
		active when started. Scanning fixed. 80x43 (any VGA) added.
		Code cleaned up.
2.2 (01-Feb-96)	EGA 80x43 fixed. VESA extended to 0x200-0x4ff (non-standard 02XX
		VESA modes work now). Display end bug workaround supported.
		Special modes renumbered to allow adding of the "recalculate"
		flag, 0xffff and 0xfffe became aliases instead of real IDs.
		Screen contents retained during mode changes.
2.3 (15-Mar-96)	Changed to work with 1.3.74 kernel.
2.4 (18-Mar-96)	Added patches by Hans Lermen fixing a memory overwrite problem
		with some boot loaders. Memory management rewritten to reflect
		these changes. Unfortunately, screen contents retaining works
		only with some loaders now.
		Added a Tseng 132x60 mode.
2.5 (19-Mar-96)	Fixed a VESA mode scanning bug introduced in 2.4.
2.6 (25-Mar-96)	Some VESA BIOS errors not reported -- it fixes error reports on
		several cards with broken VESA code (e.g., ATI VGA).
2.7 (09-Apr-96)	- Accepted all VESA modes in range 0x100 to 0x7ff, because some
		  cards use very strange mode numbers.
		- Added Realtek VGA modes (thanks to Gonzalo Tornaria).
		- Hardware testing order slightly changed, tests based on ROM
		  contents done as first.
		- Added support for special Video7 mode switching functions
		  (thanks to Tom Vander Aa).
		- Added 480-scanline modes (especially useful for notebooks,
		  original version written by hhanemaa@cs.ruu.nl, patched by
		  Jeff Chua, rewritten by me).
		- Screen store/restore fixed.
235
2.8 (14-Apr-96) - Previous release was not compilable without CONFIG_VIDEO_SVGA.
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
236 237
		- Better recognition of text modes during mode scan.
2.9 (12-May-96)	- Ignored VESA modes 0x80 - 0xff (more VESA BIOS bugs!)
238
2.10(11-Nov-96) - The whole thing made optional.
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
239 240 241
		- Added the CONFIG_VIDEO_400_HACK switch.
		- Added the CONFIG_VIDEO_GFX_HACK switch.
		- Code cleanup.
242 243
2.11(03-May-97) - Yet another cleanup, now including also the documentation.
		- Direct testing of SVGA adapters turned off by default, ``scan``
Linus Torvalds's avatar
Linus Torvalds committed
244 245 246
		  offered explicitly on the prompt line.
		- Removed the doc section describing adding of new probing
		  functions as I try to get rid of _all_ hardware probing here.
247 248 249
2.12(25-May-98) Added support for VESA frame buffer graphics.
2.13(14-May-99) Minor documentation fixes.
=============== ================================================================