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CODE4LIB  August 2004

CODE4LIB August 2004

Subject:

serials consoles

From:

Eric Lease Morgan <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 20 Aug 2004 11:37:54 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (41 lines)

Remember serial consoles? Weren't they fun?

As I was reading LinuxWorld I noticed a pointer to an article about
serials consoles. The article also pointed to a Linux How-to:

   * http://networking.earthweb.com/nethub/article.php/3396731
   * http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Remote-Serial-Console-HOWTO/intro-why.html

I have come to really like working at the terminal. While I did do a
bit of the punch card thing in high school, I really got started on
terminals. Yes, there certainly are a lot of weird commands, especially
if you are using Unix/Linux. This is not so true for Windows, and even
less so for VMS. (Is VMS still around?) One of the first rules of
computing when I started was, "No eating or drinking at the console."
:-)

A couple of years ago I configured my home Linux box to accept serials
connections from terminal application such as Kermit. (Remember
kermit?) All I needed to access my host, even if everything else was
down, was a null-modem cable and terminal application. If I couldn't
connect this way, then I had serious problems.

Kermit was one heck of terminal application. Nice. A scripting language
plus file transfers. Yea, 9600 baud is not very fast, and it is sort of
funning watching the text scroll so slowly, but there is a lot of power
in terminals. ^C. ^H. ^Z. ^D. All very useful.

I admit. I like my Macintosh too. You can't blame me. I started using
them in graduate school in 1984. I've gotten a few grants from Apple,
and I've given a couple of presentations there when they still had a
library. Imagine my happiness when Apple's OS became BSD Unix. Now I
can have my graphical interface, a great development environment, and a
terminal to "boot".

In any event, having serial console access to your hosts is the
ultimate in power-geektom. Simple. Clean. Efficient. Goes for the
jugular.

--
Eric Lease Morgan
University Libraries of Notre Dame

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