Access Linux thru serial port
November 18, 2005 4:46 PM   Subscribe

How do I access a shell prompt through the serial port of a Linux box?

I want to set up a linux box that is deaf, dumb and blind, that is to say it won't have keyboard, video, mouse, or network attached. The only thing connected to the Linux box will be a serial cable from a terminal server. How do I get access to a shell prompt thru the COM port, so that I can log in and interact with Linux in text-only mode? Seems this should be super easy, coz that's the way they did it before video terminals, right?
posted by fuzzy_wuzzy to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
You will need to edit "/etc/inittab" and add a new "getty" line for your serial port.

See these instructions, for example.
posted by mbrubeck at 4:48 PM on November 18, 2005

Man that's exactly the simple, quick-n-easy instructions I was hoping for! Thanks mbrubeck!
posted by fuzzy_wuzzy at 5:24 PM on November 18, 2005

Two minutes. Is that a record?
posted by neckro23 at 5:40 PM on November 18, 2005

If you're not going to have a screen hooked up to the box in question, you might want to ensure that the local/main console is directed to a serial port - That way, it isn't spitting 'enlightening' ( lpt0 is on fire! ) error codes to the unconnected monitor when (not if) things go south, hardware wise.

Here's the nitty-gritty.
posted by Orb2069 at 5:58 PM on November 18, 2005

Out of idle curiosity, what are you doing with a box that's not even on a network? I mean it will be the absolute least crackable box ever (aside from physical security, of course) but I can't imagine it will be good for anything but teaching yourself non-server-oriented Unix...
posted by cyrusdogstar at 6:56 PM on November 18, 2005

Note that a lot of desktop motherboards won't boot properly without a keyboard...
posted by atrazine at 9:48 PM on November 18, 2005

what are you doing with a box that's not even on a network?

Oh, I dunno... maybe I'm using it to turn sprinklers on and off. ;-)

Actually, I fudged a little bit to make my question very cut and dry. There will be a network connection on this Linux box, it just won't be accessible from the management side of the universe. This box will perform a very specific operation, and I need to control it externally. And since in this project I control several other devices via RS232 connections, this fits perfectly.
posted by fuzzy_wuzzy at 1:38 AM on November 19, 2005

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