Linux, Technical, Technology

Serial Console Woes

So, I’m setting up a box. I need to test different filesystem configurations, which will involve a lot of boot-configure-install-post-install-benchmark cycles. We have a nice network boot infrastructure, but getting serial booting to work is always fun. Today I found that the vendor has set up BIOS “remote access” to COM2. Funny thing, the box only has one serial port! So, I set that to COM1, and configure console redirection only up to the boot loader, tell the bootloader that I want text console=ttyS0 and we’re in business!

But man, if SuSE’s YaST aint a bloody mess when it downgrades to text on a serial port:


What you don’t see here is the constant slow screen-redraw, constant pressing control-L. This is what it looks like at a good moment!

I think I understand why. I mean, I would think that Linux developers would take serial consoles and text mode to heart. After all, that’s the whole point, right? But that’s how I think, because I manage dozens of servers at a time, remote, and all my boxes are rack-mount jobbies with lots o’ fans and nobody wants to be in the same room.

But the developers who hack on Linux probably aren’t hard-core SysAdmins. Their dev system is some beat-up old hardware sitting near their desk, wired up to a spare VGA monitor, so yeah, text mode is kind of an afterthought. Especially given the pain in the butt that setting up serial consoles can be!

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Categories: Linux, Technical, Technology