With URxvt and xterm it is possible to use a virtual terminal supporting 256 colors instead of only eight. Since my Intel GMA graphics card is well-supported by the KMS framebuffer driver, I am exclusively working on the TTY. Unfortunately it only supports eight colors although with MPlayer (-vo fbdev/fbdev2) and other framebuffer tools far more can be addressed. Is there a way to tell the TTY to use more than eight colors?
Your 256-color RXVT/xterm/URXVT/etc are defined by terminfo and the setting of the
Here's the manpage on
If you find a TERM that works, modify the getty lines in your inittab and add the proper TERM at the end:
I'm revising my answer now that I'm sure of things.
It was erroneous to conclude that the ANSI sequences were being handled via BIOS or otherwise outside of the kernel; indeed, they're handled in the kernel. I found what I had missed before thanks to hnaz_ on the LinuxNewbies IRC channel:
So... as a definitive answer, having reviewed the source code that handles the escape sequences for virtual terminals: If you want 256 color support on virtual terminals you'll have to build you own kernel after extending the code that parses the escape sequences to handle the wider color-specification.
The function is called csi_m(). The changes will have to be similar to those which extend the X-based terminal emulators to handle escape sequences specifying the richer color codes. There will probably be other changes needed as well, but this is where you would start.
The ANSI escape sequences for setting the foreground and background colors of text are what's limiting things here.
From memory these sequences look something like escape [ 01;34m There are codes in the 30's for foreground and I think 40's for background.
So I don't think there's any way to achieve what you're looking for.
Have a look at fbterm - it's a replacement framebuffer that can run in 256-color mode (you just run it as root from a TTY)
I've had mixed success with it - some applications work fine, and report 256 colors; however Emacs (the main reason I wanted 256 colors on TTY) doesn't seem to work; there's a bit of a discussion about it here, but it doesn't really get resolved:
However, mplayer should work!