This article is from the the Brief Linux FAQ (BLFAQ) Maintained by Neil Zanella firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes. If you are using LILO to boot your system then you can do it by inserting the vga option in your /etc/lilo.conf file. For example a line saying "vga=ask" will let you choose the text mode at boot time (type "man lilo.conf" for more details). Don't forget to rerun /sbin/lilo after you modify /etc/lilo.conf . Alternatively you could get the SVGATextMode program by anonymous ftp from <ftp://metalab.unc.edu/pub/linux/utils/console/>.