Having jumped through some hoops in part 1 to get a working base system the laptop was now in a good, usable state. On rebooting however it's clear that the standard linux console is a little strained when faced with a 13" 3200x1800 display. To say the text is a bit on the small side is an understatement.
Initially I thought that this could be fixed by selecting a lower resolution using KMS (Kernel Mode Setting) parameters. Grub2, the default Debian bootloader, allows these parameters to be set quite easily in the config file. I changed /etc/default/grub by adding the following lines:
Running 'sudo update-grub' will refresh the bootloader configuration with the new parameters. After rebooting I was presented with a nice, clear (and much larger) grub boot screen. Success!
This was short-lived however. By the time the machine had reached a login prompt the framebuffer driver had kicked in and had overridden my attempts at reducing the resolution. FOILED!
Getting nowhere with the framebuffer documentation meant that I needed an alternative approach... BIGGER FONTS! In Debian the console font is set by default using the console-setup package. To get a feel for which font to chose I had a look in /usr/share/consolefonts and used the 'setfont' command to try a few out for size. In the end I found that TerminusBold16x32 worked very well. To make this change permanent I reconfigured the console-setup package:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure -plow console-setup
Now that the screen was usable I decided to fix the keyboard. I had two niggles. The first was that the keyboard repeat rate was very slow. On Linux this can be controlled using the kbdrate command. I experimented a bit until I found settings that I liked, then transferred the parameters to /etc/kbd/config:
The next annoyance was the behaviour of the function keys. By default these are mapped to various multimedia functions. I prefer them to be in their standard F1..12 mappings. To change this a simple option in the BIOS can be used. Mash F2 on boot and navigate on the settings menu to POST Behaviour->Fn Lock Options. On this screen just change the setting to "Lock Mode Enable/Secondary" to regain easy access to the function keys. Apply and reboot.