[NBLUG/talk] Linux on USB
anfrind at gmail.com
Wed Dec 28 22:51:14 PST 2011
On Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 10:06 PM, E Frank Ball III <frankb at frankb.us> wrote:
> On Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 11:33:49AM -0800, glenn at spontaneousdancing.net wrote:
> > I need to have a lightweight, x86-compatible (i586 specifically) GNU/Linux
> > distribution. I can't use VGA (so X is useless), and require serial
> > communication.
> I've only used serial port consoles on PA-RISC hardware. I don't know
> if the average x86 hardware supports this (servers do). Anyway I
> installed Debian PA-RISC and used a serial console and it worked fine.
It should still be possible, at least in principle. Several years ago
(2003?), I set up a program called "mgetty" (not "mingetty") to run on
the serial port of a home-built Linux PC (I think it was running
Debian, but it might have been a version of Red Hat prior to the
RHEL/Fedora split), and used a null modem cable to hook it up to a
secondhand Macintosh SE that was running a serial terminal emulator.
As a result, I had full shell access to the Linux box through that old
I wasn't using it as the primary way to control the machine,
however--it still had a traditional console running X11, and I could
still SSH into it from machines that supported more modern networking
technologies (i.e. Ethernet and WiFi). And I haven't tried anything
like that more recently, but a quick Google search indicates that
mgetty is still available for distributions at least as recent as
Fedora 15, so newer versions of Debian would likely have it as well.
<anfrind at gmail.com>
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