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I'm working on an Ubuntu server without X and I would like to easily change the resolution.

In order to do that, I have to specify GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX=1280x800 in the file /etc/default/grub, then sudo update-grub, and then reboot.

On a desktop installation, changing the resolution is muuuch faster : You just click and it changes immediately. How is that? How does this work?

Is it possible to do hot swapping like this without X ?

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AFAIK the text-only display is part of the kernel (or provided by a module of the kernel i.e. The video card driver), meaning any changes to it requires a restart. X however, isnt part of the kernel - it runs as a client/server application on top so a restart isnt necessary when the settings are changed.

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