Subject: Re: consoles
To: David Seifert <>
From: Chris G. Demetriou <>
List: tech-kern
Date: 01/21/1997 13:49:27
> > > The Alpha Multia/UDB has at least two somewhat independant consoles
> > > when at the firmware level.  (TGA and the 1st rs-232 port.  I haven't
> > > tried the 2nd rs-232 port as console yet)
> > 
> > And only one can be active at a time, both at the firmware level, and
> > in NetBSD.  (the second rs-232 port cannot be used as console, FYI.)
> > 
> > NetBSD/alpha automatically picks the same console device that the
> > firmware was using as its own console device.
> I can type "man foo" on the TGA, then type "man bar" on the rs-232 console,
> and look at two different fw man pages.  The fw seems to accept any command
> from either console.  NetBSD seems to always pick the TGA as console.
> There may be some fw settings that affect this.  I eventually want to find
> some docs on the fw.

Interesting; i've never seen that behaviour.  "whatever."

Alpha workstation firmware considers one or the other (graphics or
serial) their console.  The one that the firmware considers the
console is what it reports to the OS, and is what NetBSD/Alpha uses.

It actually _really_ surprises me that you can type to both in the
firmware.  That has interesting security implications.  (what if
you've set your machines up to use a graphics console, and have put a
terminal in somebody's office for them to use.  They shouldn't be able
to type to the firmware from that terminal...)

You mentioned that this was on a Multia/UDB.  I could very well
believe that the firmware's broken...