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The display on these PowerEdge systems goes to sleep after some period of time. Normally, when you plug in a KVM, you have to press a key to "wake up" the display. I'm connecting these servers to a KVM switch, and I'd like the display to NOT go to sleep -- so when you select a system via the KVM switch you immediately see the console display. OS on these boxes is Linux, Ubuntu Lucid (10.04).

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What operating systems are you running? – NorbyTheGeek Nov 7 '11 at 17:26
Linux Ubuntu (Debian derivative) – Craig Constantine Nov 7 '11 at 18:13
up vote 6 down vote accepted

With X11 you want to disable DPMS in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

#In the "Monitor" section, you need a line like:
        Option          "DPMS"
#Then, in the "ServerLayout" section (for Xorg 7.2 and later, make a
#separate ServerFlags section instead), include lines like this:
        Option          "BlankTime"     "0"
        Option          "StandbyTime"   "0"
        Option          "SuspendTime"   "0"
        Option          "OffTime"       "0"

#Alternatively try this in the Monitor section:
        Option          "DPMS"          "False"

Mostly from:

From outside of X11 with a login sessions you could do the following:

setterm -blank 0
setterm -powersave off

From outside of X11 without a login session you can use the following kernel parameters in your boot loader:

consoleblank=   [KNL] The console blank (screen saver) timeout in
                seconds. Defaults to 10*60 = 10mins. A value of 0
                disables the blank timer.
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These systems do not have X11 installed; all headless (well, KVM switch plugged into them) rack-mounted servers. Any idea how X11 manipulates DPMS? ...maybe there's a command or another package I can install to get/set the DPMS options? – Craig Constantine Nov 8 '11 at 16:00
See updated answer. – Andrew Case Nov 8 '11 at 16:39
breadcrumbs for future readers with Ubuntu Lucid (10.04): the kernel param is easily added to the GRUB bootloader configuration. Just set the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX to "consoleblank=0" in /etc/default/grub, then run 'update-grub' (as root) to have it adjust your Grub bootloader menu items. – Craig Constantine Nov 8 '11 at 18:27

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