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So I have a Palm Pre (original P100EWW) model that I enabled developer mode on, and installed a Debian Squeeze chroot. Works great. I have plans to use this for ANYTHING (bittorrent peer, web server) but a phone.

I noticed if I do a cat /dev/urandom > /dev/fb0 it actually writes random pixels to the screen until a No space left on device error is generated. Awesome, now I can use the display.

So what kind of utilites are there that will either A) let me use /dev/fb0 as a console I can output text to or B) render text on /dev/fb0 from the command line.

I don't know about recompiling the kernel for this yet (I'd love to eventually strip WebOS off entirely and turn this into a minimal ARM server) so userspace tools if they exist is what I'm asking about. Also would prefer to render directly to /dev/fb0 and not use X.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

To use the framebuffer as console you need the fbdev module. You may have to recompile your kernel.

You may also be interested in the DirectFB project, which is a library that makes using the framebuffer easier. There are also applications and GUI environments written for it already.

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Looks like when I installed Directfb (webos-internals.org/wiki/Directfb), it came with a utility called dfbg which lets me put a picture on there (and doesn't remove it upon completion like fbi). I know I can likely find a utility to create a .png or similar from a block text so this might just work... –  ultrasawblade Sep 11 '11 at 1:57
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For the console side, you can echo stuff to /dev/console or you can use syslog, and depending on various other settings, it may show up on the console.

For images, I just tried catting a bmp file to fb0 and it actually worked! (sortof - multiple copies, smaller size)

I found a bmp-to-framebuffer program here. That should be a perfect example of the format the fb0 is expecting. There is also fbi, a program for writing directly to the frame buffer.

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fbi allows me to put a picture on the screen, which is useful, but it clears the framebuffer once it exits. –  ultrasawblade Sep 11 '11 at 2:00
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It's an old post but I understand normally you need framebuffer console (fbcon) to run console on framebuffer. It's in the configuration. (device drivers/graphics/console display..)

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