Subject: Re: Running without a video console
To: Ken Hornstein <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Andrew Gillham <email@example.com>
Date: 11/01/1995 00:47:09
> I'm interested in running a few PC's without any video cards on them (the
> idea here is to make some minimal systems for home to serve as routers or
> home automation controllers, but I digress :-) ).
Yup, I'm messing with the ramdisk driver for a diskless router scenario.
> Anyone know if it's possible to run a PC without a video card? I've looked
> at the COMCONSOLE stuff in com.c, and it seems to be sorta what I want, but
> I don't get access to the BIOS I/O for stuff like the boot blocks.
I have no problems using COMCONSOLE, though I do have pc0 defined and a
video card. I would assume you can comment out pc0.
> I tried booting the beater 386 I have here without a video card; it just
> booted, ran for a few seconds, then rebooted (reason unknown, unfortunately
> :-(). None of the BIOS I/O appeared on the terminal I had hooked to COM1.
You need to edit /sys/arch/i386/boot/Makefile and uncomment the
This will cause the boot block to use the com port. I haven't tried
using the boot code this way, but I know it compiles.
You might want to look into the netboot code, and compile it for a
serial port also. Then you boot off of another box, and don't need a
hard drive, or floppy drive, etc in your router box. (though you need
something to boot from)
I have often wanted a PC BIOS that communicated with the serial port,
and allowed CMOS configuration, etc. Haven't seen one yet.
> I know, I know .... you can get a video card very cheap, but I'd still like
> to think it was possible somehow.
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