Tips and tricks for Debian on OpenRD

Here are some tips and tricks about running Debian on the OpenRD.

Making use of the VGA chip

The OpenRD-Client and OpenRD-Ultimate feature a graphics chip from XGI. This section describes how you can configure your machine so you can use it as a desktop.

First of all, edit /etc/inittab and make sure that the getty entries for tty1 to tty6 are activated (in other words: not commented out).

Then edit /etc/initramfs-tools/modules and add the following two lines:


Now run the following command in order to activate this change:

update-initramfs -u

The graphics driver is now included in the ramdisk that Debian loads during the boot process. This means that you'll be able to see boot messages on your screen.

Finally, you have to restart your machine to configure the boot loader so that boot messages from Linux will be shown on the screen. Reboot and issue the following commands in u-boot:

setenv bootargs_console console=ttyS0,115200 console=tty0
run bootcmd

When Debian boots, you will now see the boot process on the screen.

If you want to run a graphical user environment, you can install X.Org and start X:

apt install xorg

X.Org will start without a configuration file. However, if you want to change the screen resolution, you have to create a simple configuration file for X.Org (see this example).

If you want to install a full desktop environment, you can run tasksel and choose Graphical desktop environment.