Summary: Console on /dev/ttya and getty/X on framebuffer?

From: Christopher Hoover (
Date: Sat Jan 22 1994 - 01:12:38 CST

This question has been asked and answered in the past.

One-line Summary: Set up xdm to run on the framebuffer/mouse/keyboard.

Detailed instructions follow.

Thanks to Bill Hunter <bill@Access.COM> and Tom Reingold <>
for their quick responses.

-- Chris.

>From Mon Mar 1 03:21:47 1993
Subject: SUMMARY: ACSII Terminal as console and framebuffer
Date: Mon, 01 Mar 93 19:14:15 +1100
From: David Moline <>
Content-Length: 3008
X-Lines: 75
Status: RO

Thankyou managers, the list helps yet again.

What I wanted to do was to use a serial port on a SS2 as the console, but still
have available for use the graphics monitor and sun keyboard (situated remotely
from the machine).

Thanks to the following:
"John D. Barlow" <> (Leclerc Francois) (Phil Blanchfield)

Phil and Leclerc both suggested modifying the /etc/syslog.conf file to direct
various messages to /dev/ttya. This was not what I wanted, I needed to be able to
have full console functionality from the serial terminal and disable various
functions that the sun keyboard has when it is the console (ie aborting the

John helped out most by emailing a summary posted to this list a while ago. This
gave instructions on how to set things up for OW2, and provided enough
information to use it with OW3.

Now what to do:

1. Make new special files corresponding to the "raw" keyboard and mouse:
   mknod /dev/zs2 c 12 2 # The keyboard
   mknod /dev/zs3 c 12 3 # The mouse

   These are just serial ports and will need some "special treatment"
   in order to behave as /dev/kbd and /dev/mouse.

2. Shutdown your machine and tell the monitor to
   setenv input-device ttya # Or perhaps ttyb
   setenv output-device ttya

   You can also use eeprom(8S).

3. Reset and reboot. /dev/fb, /dev/kbd and /dev/mouse are now useless.
   In my case, /dev/bwtwo0 works as a substitute for /dev/fb.
   Also /dev/ttya (ttyb) is useless - if you have an entry in ttytab
   for it, comment it out.

4. Modify the StartOW file in the xdm directory ($OPENWINHOME/lib/xdm) and add
   the following lines:

        FRAMEBUFFER=/dev/bwtwo0 # As appropriate /dev/cgthree0 /dev/cgsix0 etc.

   This file is only used by xdm to control the local display (see the Xservers
   file). So setting these variables will not affect xdm running on any other
   foreign display (ie xterminal).

5. Start xdm (which is what I desired to do). To set up xdm to run - basically,
   set the OPENWINHOME env variable, and then start xdm with the config option
   for example in /etc/rc:

   OPENWINHOME=/usr/openwin; export OPENWINHOME
   if [ -f $OPENWINHOME/lib/xdm/xdm-config ]; then
      $OPENWINHOME/bin/xdm -config $OPENWINHOME/lib/xdm/xdm-config &
      echo "Starting XDM..."

6. I also modified one other file in the xdm directory (Xsession). I simply
   modified the file to search for on start-up to be $HOME/.xsession, rather
   than $HOME/.xinitrc. This is probably a religious issue about what files are
   to do what function, but that is the way I prefer to have xdm setup.

Now the serial port is the console in every sense and you are still able to log
in and use the framebuffer, keyboard and mouse.


David Moline ( Graphics Computer Systems Pty Ltd, Australia
Ph: +61-3-888-8522   Fax: +61-3-808-9151

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