Subject: Re: port-i386/7418: dual head PCs using CONSDEV_COM can be confusing to lusers
To: Daniel Hagerty <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: netbsd-bugs
Date: 04/19/1999 15:06:51
[ On Monday, April 19, 1999 at 00:55:45 (-0400), Daniel Hagerty wrote: ]
> Subject: port-i386/7418: dual head PCs using CONSDEV_COM can be confusing to lusers
> >Description:
> 	x86 boxes that have a standard video console that have been
> configured with CONSDEV_COM can confuse lusers.  Machines configured
> this way give no indication of being functional on the video console
> until they reach multiuser by default.

Indeed, which is why I think CONSDEV_COM on most PCs is a mistake, even
with the helpful message printed by your patch.

Instead I created a patch some time ago which probes for the presence of
a keyboard and "does the right thing" (including printing a slightly
less verbose message too).  After -current becomes -current again I'll
clean it up and re-submit it.  For now I'm using it happily on my own
i386 servers with 1.3I and 1.3.3, as well as some for a client.  IMNSHO
this should be the default for PC boot blocks -- a Unix machine should
always default to the most appropriate console, and if there isn't a
working keyboard plugged in then I'd say there's only one other obvious
course of action (i.e. pick the first working COM port), and there
should definitely not be a requirement to re-compile the boot blocks
just to get a serial console working.  The only other "obvious" solution
is to employ a run-time configuration scheme, perhaps like FreeBSD has.

I've yet to encounter a real-life situation where a PC computer has both
a real serial console and yet requires the keyboard (and video display)
only for normal multi-user operation, but I did leave support for
CONSDEV_COM in my patched boot blocks, just for this scenario, but I'm
fairly certain that it's rare enough to justify requiring a custom

Anyone who wants my 1.3.3 patch is welcome to it -- just send me e-mail.

							Greg A. Woods

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