High DPI kernel font for TTY consoles

The v5.0 kernel introduced a “high-dpi” font, FONT_TER16x32, which is simply twice as big, as the regular kernel font. Once enabled, one can update

$ cat /etc/default/console-setup | grep '^FONT'

And voila the ttys have readable text now! We are in progress backporting this feature to all the supported kernels on Xenial and up.

It means that all of Gnome/Unity, Plymouth, and Kernel will have high-dpi support. It would be great to add the large font support to Grub too, and thus complete the high-dpi setup.

I am not sure if we should default to the extra large fonts, or not, across the board. On non-interactive systems it will not matter, and interactive laptops will welcome readable fonts.


I recently installed Debian 8 with a hi-dpi monitor on a MacBook Pro or a Retina Display as Apple calls it. I used a very tiny netinst installer, but it leaves you with nothing but a Linux text console right after the download.

And the text is in very small font!

There’s a solution for this, luckily. First, squint and login your eyes and set the font to:
setfont Uni3-Terminus32x16
To make that change permanent, edit /etc/default/console-setup and make the following three variables look like this:
You can now enjoy a readable font size that will be added to each boot.

Debian 8 is pretty old, why use such an old release? Must be a good reason … :wink:

It would be nice if Ubuntu could detect HiDPI screen on install and enable this font in this case.

So, kernel actually has autodetection, and it’s console-setup that is forcing the default small font.

I have uploaded console-setup into groovy to drop the default setting altogether, for some languages. See http://launchpadlibrarian.net/480998638/console-setup_1.195ubuntu1_1.195ubuntu2.diff.gz

And this has been in place in groovy for a while now. I think it is working correctly, and by default I get sensible sized fonts on ttys in both bare-metal & VMs.

I will test it a bit further and then will SRU it into focal.