Shock! Horror! Some People Want To Change The Linux Console

“UIs do not belong into the kernel. No one draws X11 GUIs or similar in the kernel so why should we draw text UIs in the kernel? User-space is responsible for that so lets move it there.

see FAQ · dvdhrm/kmscon Wiki · GitHub.

Hmmm… I am of the school, “If it’s not broken why fix it?”. The Linux console is what one needs to become root quickly on a running system or a system in trouble. Tinkering it with stuff in user-space could make GNU/Linux systems less reliable at least in the short term. I don’t see any particular advantage to the changes David Herrmann seeks myself. The switch to KMS (Kernel Mode Switching) caused me enough pain with black screens. There is some support for this in the kernel group. Linus has been known to prefer moving as much as possible to user-space as long as performance is not worse and the move is not radical/risky. We shall see…
“We do _not_ move stuff over that is questionable.

I thought that was clear by now. The rules are:
– we only move things that _have_ to move
– we don’t break existing programs, and no “but they are broken already” is not an excuse.
– we only move things where that _particular_ move can be shown to be beneficial.
No whole-sale moves. No “let’s break things that I think are broken”. No “let’s change things because we can”.

Well-defined moves. Both in content _and_ in reason.


About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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3 Responses to Shock! Horror! Some People Want To Change The Linux Console

  1. oiaohm says:

    temps sudo nautilus does not work from fbcon or kmscon or Xterm or ssh. Reason no X11 server and general sudo is not for X11 applications.

    Only time that might work is if wayland becomes common.

    sudo -s Little favourite of mine. Bad favourite. Start a shell as root.

    systemd cgroup wrappers around users can prevent a user using sudo or otherwise to become real root if it wished.

  2. temps says:

    ps -A
    sudo nautilus
    crontab -e
    … The Linux console is what one needs to become root quickly
    I am ok with this.

  3. oiaohm says:

    The change makes sense Robert Pogson. Change is also bring Vesa fall back option to KMS this has been a major fail of KMS.

    The reality the old fbcon is in kernel is broken. Switching from X11 to console and back again is can still be issue due to mode switching not being 100 percent unified.

    fbcon without bash or some shell will not work for you as root anyhow. So no user-space no root access either. Kmscon just alters the user-space starting point.

    fblog that is part of kmscon move has some key advantages and shows why fbcon is busted. fblog detects a kernel panic it can do a mode switch to display why the kernel has paniced. fblog is kms supporting. In fact a feature I requested has got added to fblog the means to have X11 on one screen and the kernel log on another on a duel screen machine. This will be lot nicer for debuging those X11 KMS failures. Problem here fblog + fbcon also are not fully compatible due to fbcon being unable to work perfectly with kms.

    fbcon in case of kernel panic you might have received the error but you will never see it with X11 graphical in way.

    So to support KMS to be able to switch between X11 and console so kernel panics and other critical kernel errors can be displayed all of the in kernel fbcon would have to be rewritten.

    So yes KMS might have caused you black screens. fbcon is why you don’t get to see kernel panic messages at all most of the time.

    Next reality fbcon code base changes very very slowly.

    Finally framebuffer graphical output in Linux is going by by. dri2 v4l2 are compatible for transferring data between. The old frame-buffer object is not. So yes kmscon could allow the possibility of pulling the console you had at start up into a graphical window in your graphical environment.

    fbcon and framebuffer are very old design. Go back to Linux first graphical out put method they have too many years on them.

    kmscon does increase security a little. Since now you can completely terminate console data struts when user login and out locally. Like what happens on remote connections.

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