I have a server I would like to disable the video output entirely on to save any memory unless I have a severe issue I need to be physically in front of it. The server does not have a graphical environment installed, but it does have 7 virtual terminals or consoles.

I have disabled them in /etc/inittab, but I still get whatever video output was generated from boot and log messages. Can I simply unload a video output somewhere, if so, how?

  • What kind of a server would that be? Distribution, version and architecture, in particular. – Grega Bremec Jan 12 '16 at 3:18
  • Any particular reason you need to save the very tiny amount of memory? – Canadian Luke Jan 16 '16 at 16:50

Add this to your kernel boot parameters (in your GRUB or [e]LILO config):

quiet loglevel=0 vga=current

That will kill many of the messages, possibly not all, depending on what init software you are using.

You can also try configuring individual boot processes to ensure they are as silent as possible.

Otherwise, it's probably not worth killing ALL output. It won't save you that much, and in the end if something goes wrong, it could make recovery difficult.

  • Thanks, but I was looking to disable the video output altogether, ie the screen so it is entirely blank as if there were no video card. I'd have to check if I can just unload the relevant video module. – Walter Jan 13 '16 at 11:50
  • No matter what you do, the computer is going to be providing some output; at the very least, what you would see if you were to hook up a serial cable to it. – Klaatu von Schlacker Jan 13 '16 at 18:51
  • Right, but to that point, can't I disable a kernel module and then poof, I'd no longer have serial output? If I don't have a driver for it, how could it work? – Walter Jan 14 '16 at 13:47
  • Serial communication is compiled into the kernel. You could re-compile but I would keep the old kernel around for safety. A pretty good overview of where all the low level output comes from can be found here linux.it/~rubini/docs/serial/serial.html , then download the kernel sources and poke around, or just build; using menu-config is probably the best way to see what can be excluded in order to silence the machine. Sounds like an interesting experiment; you should post a follow-up on how it goes! – Klaatu von Schlacker Jan 14 '16 at 18:37

Actually, the answer I was looking for was to modularize the framebuffer support. Once that is a module, you can enable/disable it and then you no longer have any video.

I already use the console setting above, but I was looking to completely disable the video.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.