Make your Raspberry Pi look like the classic Apple IIe
Category : raspberry pi
Inspired by a reddit post where one user connected their raspberry pi to an old computer terminal, I had an idea to make my pi resemble a oldschool computer that I was fond of… the iconic Apple IIe. If you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s even, there is a good chance that you saw one of these in your school running everyone’s favorite game, The Oregon Trail. I’m working on tweaking some settings to make it look like the picture on the left and will have a write up on how to run that later.
Now, I do not have a old Apple IIe lying around, nor the desk space to allow me to get one, so that idea is out. So, making the pi’s console screen look similar to the Apple IIe with its glorious monochrome green monitor will just have to do for now. (Side Note: Believe it or not, there is actually already software and hardware designed to connect a pi to the IIe monitor, keyboard and mouse! It’s a pretty cool project you can check out here.)
After several searches on how to do this, I came up a little short in finding results. There was a severe lack of clear list of steps to follow and I’m surely not the only one with this idea, so here goes nothing! Before we dive in, however, below are a few reference links that I used to make this post…
- How To Change The Command Line Font Size – http://www.raspberrypi-spy.co.uk/2014/04/how-to-change-the-command-line-font-size/
- Boot Text Color – https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=11537
- Linux Boot Parameters – http://redsymbol.net/linux-kernel-boot-parameters//2.6.25/
Step 1 – Lets make it green!
There are 3 parameters stored in /boot/cmdline.txt that we will be adding to the end of the file. These represent RGB colors in decimal and have 256 values between 0 (lowest intensity) and 255 (highest intensity).
The only problem is that according to the linux man page, there are 16 different console palette values, which means we have to type in 48 different numbers in order to make everything green. I found a site that lists the apple IIe green as 91,194,64 but you can use any RGB color picker to get the color you want to make the console.
The first value is the console background color. To make it a little lighter and greener like the old CRT screen, I’ve set this to 10,15,10. If you want more green then bump up that middle value to a higher number. For numbers 2-16, you can set them to the same value as below:
IMPORTANT: In /boot/cmdline.txt all parameters must be separated by one space only or they will not be read when the system boots. If you make these changes and the colors stay the same, double check this file and make sure there are no line breaks or extra spaces.
If you want to customize different console palette colors, below is a chart showing what value corresponds to a console element.
Step 2 – Change the Font / Size