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Re: Headless install on LX164

Paul Slootman wrote:

> On Mon 06 Dec 1999, Adam C Powell IV wrote:
> > edited that, commenting out consoles 2-6 and switching tty1 to ttyS0 in the two versions of
> > Next problem: when I boot, it asks me for a root password!  Rebooting with the rescue floppy
> That's because you're then on ttyS0, and that's not listed in
> /etc/securetty (which defines the terminals on which a root login is
> permitted). So add ttyS0 to that file.

Excellent, I thought there was something like this which I was missing.

> > So, next I try commenting out the login line, and uncommenting the getty line in
> > /etc/inittab.  Trouble is, getty needs a baud rate, and both 38400 (default) and 115200 give
> > me garbage.
> You probably need a baudrate of 9600 ?

Bingo!  (Couldn't figure out how to determine/set this on my ancient Tek 4207 :-)

Thank you all, everything is working beautifully now!  Well, except the terminal errors due to
Tek/VT220 incompatibility, but I'm managing.  I'll potatoize in the next couple of days, and see
how that goes, but don't expect any problems.

So, what have we learned?

   * Serial console uses different keystrokes to configure AlphaBIOS (at least on LX164), e.g.
     TAB to select in menus (instead of cursor up/down), ctrl-B to enter setup (instead of F2),
     ctrl-U to save the OS configuration (instead of F10, and it's not apparent when one needs to
     do this- at least on my screen).
   * Serial console install requires a special ramdisk image with /dev/console linked to
     /dev/ttyS0.  Greg Johnson made such an image and put it at
   * After install but before rebooting, one must edit /etc/inittab changing tty1 to ttyS0,
     changing getty's baud rate to 9600, and commenting the lines which start getty on tty2-6.
     Also, add ttyS0 to /etc/securetty so root can log in.
   * Curiously, after the initial root login, instead of merely uncommenting the tty1 line,
     Debian replaced all of the tty lines!  So, I had to hard-reboot to the rescue floppy, fsck
     the badly-unmounted partitions, and re-edit /etc/inittab.  I suppose the alternative is just
     to start with a getty on ttyS0 instead of the root login thing, but I don't know what will
     happen after the initial root login, it may just do the same thing.  The answer is probably
     somewhere in the as-installed /root.
   * The default Slink kernel seems to come without tulip driver, either built-in or as a module,
     despite more-than-ample space on the drivers floppy.  (Or else, for whatever reason, I get
     the following messages on startup: "eth0: UNKNOWN at 0x8800 (PCI bus 0, device 5), h/w
     address...\neth0: Cannot find correct chipset for SROM decoding!"  It's worth noting that my
     switch sees the tulip card as no-duplex under Northern (RedHat), and full duplex under
     Debian Slink and Potato, even with identical (Northern 2.2.12) kernel and tulip module!)

Thank you all for your help, I hope this message will be helpful to future serial consolers on

                   Adam Powell                    http://lyre.mit.edu/~powell/
                   Thomas B. King Assistant Professor of Materials Engineering
                   77 Massachusetts Ave. Rm. 4-117        Phone (617) 452-2086
                   Cambridge, MA 02139 USA                  Fax (617) 253-5418

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