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booting on the serial console


I have successfully installed kFreeBSD on my workstation using QEMU, and
I am now heading for my personnal holy grail: setting up a Soekris-based
Debian GNU/kFreeBSD router.

(For those who do not know those devices, soekris boxes are small
embedded computers that have no display but a serial console.)

So I need kFreeBSD to boot on the serial console port. I've been able to
configure GRUB2 to use the serial console, but I can't figure out how to
pass flags to the kernel so it uses the serial console too.

Usually, in BSD, you pass -P or -h to the /boot/loader in boot.config.
But since that loader is now completely bypassed in the boot process,
that doesn't work. I haven't found in the FreeBSD documentation what
-P/-h actually *does* at the machine level, or rather if it passes
"commandline" arguments to the kernel or what not.

Basically, I need to do two things:

 1. i need to enable the serial console. this is usually done at the
 loader level, with the -h flag, or at compile time, using the 0x30 flag
 on the sio driver
 2. i need to specify the speed of the port. this is usually done in
 config options or at compile time.

I tried setting hint.sio.0.flags="0x30" along with the other environment
in grub, without any luck.

What currently happens is that the serial port seems to freeze when the
kernel is loaded. 

Any of you familiar with the boot process? Is there any way I can just
revert back to the regular /boot/loader quickly?

More generally: how do you pass boot time options like -s (since user
mode) to the kernel?



Some references:

 * http://www.freebsd.org/doc/handbook/serialconsole-setup.html
 * http://soekris.com/net5501.htm
 * http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=boot&sektion=8
Antoine Beaupré
Réseau Koumbit Networks

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