The new kernel mode setting feature in Linux 2.6.29 is relatively easy to enable, although at this point there does not seem to be much in the way of documentation.


You will need:

  • linux-image-2.6.29-1-686 or similar (or later)
  • The xserver-xorg and related packages from Debian experimental, unless you're reading this in the distant future, at which point 7.4 will be in unstable.
  • An intel graphics card which uses the i915 driver. I used an Asus eeepc 1000.
  • A willingness to break your system in the name of seeing something cool.


First, install the new kernel and the experimental packages. Add 'i915 modeset=1' to /etc/modules. Ignore instructions elsewhere on the web about adding stuff to kernel boot lines - I reckon these have no effect, unless they were/are necessary for Fedora. You can either reboot, or stop X and reload i915 with the right option.

Now enjoy the fast VT switching and nice framebuffer console for five minutes before you notice that the experimental packages broke your keyboard layout!