I tried running the vesa framebuffer with the 4x6 font only,
for fun. It booted and was hard to look at as expected,
but hung as soon as the boot scripts tried to change font.
I tried again with 4x6 _and_ 8x8, that hung at the same place.
finally, removing 4x6, 8x8 and enabling 8x16-font allowed
a normal boot.
This is using the debian unstable distribution,
2.5.41 UP, preempt, some debugging options,
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc 3D Rage Pro AGP
1X/2X (rev 5c)