Subject: Re: consoles
To: Chris G. Demetriou <>
From: Ben Tober <>
List: tech-kern
Date: 01/22/1997 11:12:05
> 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...
FWIW, I have observed the same behavior with the console firmware on the
AXPpci33 (running the most recent released firmware).  If the "console"
console variable is set to "graphics" and a terminal is attached to the
first serial port, then it is possible to issue console commands from both
the keyboard and the terminal.  Proper responses appear, respectively, on
the framebuffer and the terminal.  I can't imagine that this is a bug, per
se, as it's clearly kind of complicated to implement.  Whether it's a good
idea is something else.  As far as getting access to the console from the
serial terminal in a friend's office, yes, it's an issue, but only if the
system is not booted.  Once an operating system boots the console firmware
isn't running at all.