Network & Systems Architect

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How to activate Serial Console on Debian Squeeze

July 6, 2011Christian Kildau5 Comments

Activating a Serial Console starting at the bootloader all the way up to a tty login requires just a few steps, but it took me some time to figure out all the knobs. Here’s how to do it with Debian Squeeze:

To have configruation changes persistent in Debian, you may not edit /boot/grub/grub.cfg directly, but need to edit/add the appropiate lines in /etc/defaults/grub:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="console=tty0 console=ttyS0,9600n8"
GRUB_SERIAL_COMMAND="serial --speed=9600 --unit=0 --word=8 --parity=no --stop=1"

Now run update-grub and you’ll get the Bootloader and all Kernel and Init messages on your serial console the next time you boot.

To get a login promt on serial you need to modify /etc/inittab to:

1:2345:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty1
2:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty2
3:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty3
4:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty4
5:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty5
6:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty6
# Serial console
s0:2345:respawn:/sbin/getty -L 9600 ttyS0 vt102

That’s it. run init q to reload init and activate serial login, or simply reboot.

This article has 5 comments
  1. Web Hosting

    Thanks, worked perfectly on a HP ProLiant DL380G5 with an iLO 2 mgmt card. No need to buy the expensive advanced license for the iLO2 now!

  2. Maarten

    Thanks! Exactly what I was googling for.

  3. Elijah Jericjo

    Thanks for that it works well, the only thing is though it really slows the boot process down, but I can live that.

  4. Merlijn

    Thanks 🙂
    Easy and simple steps, but I do find myself googling for it every time I need to enable a serial console. This was exactly what I needed. Most console servers doe support 19200 as speed nowadays however 😉

  5. Michal Dwuznik

    Well, _most_ servers nowadays support 115200 on Serial-Over-LAN.

    Sluggishness during boot gone…

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