Subject: Re: Review request: panel daemon for port-cobalt
To: Dennis Chernoivanov <>
From: Rafal Boni <>
List: tech-userlevel
Date: 03/25/2003 01:18:31
In message <>, you write: 

-> port-cobalt got recently a driver for the Cobalt's LCD panel, so the next
-> logical step was to make some profit out of this fact. I have just finished 
-> a little daemon that allows to manage a box through a set of menus, and
-> would like to call for comments about both the idea and the code itself.
-> The sources are available as

From a quick look, it looks pretty neat.. In a past life when I had to
do this sort of thing, we made the device export a tty-like interface,
had it interpret some simple control codes (home, clear, move to some
location, en/dis-able cursor, move cursor), consed up a termcap/term-
info entry and ran curses on top of the LCD.  The *really* nice thing
about this is we were able to test most everything in an xterm (or over
serial console) without having the final hardware ready without any
real work to speak of.

Some thing which might also be useful:
	* locking/unlocking the panel via a simple password (N keys),
	  so Joe Random can't reboot your box, or a read-only mode
	  where certain items are disallowed.  I used this on the
	  prototype I had at home to keep room-mates from screwing
	  up configurations by mistake 8-)

	* Some type of config-file conditional so only certain parts
	  of the menu tree are accessible (we did this to lock the
	  lcd and to only show IP address info before it was set, 
	  since once it *was* a different interface was used to
	  configure the box),

	* And everyone's favorite: a simple "run this command and
	  display data on the lcd", so you can do simple monitoring
	  scripts and have them dump data to the lcd (I got bored
	  one day and did a marquee and a clock display for when
	  the lcd was idle for N seconds, but that's just self-
	  serving bloat 8-).  I think we even allows some rudi-
	  mentary screen control in the command output by use
	  of magic characters...

I don't have a cobalt, but do have one of the prototype boxes I
mentioned above and now use it as my firewall, with a simple LCD
control interface to reboot, etc. so I can call my wife at home
and say "it seems ill, can you reboot it from the LCD?", or "I
think my IP address changed, can you read it to me?" for those
times when I get renumbered, DNS hasn't updated yet and I'm not
at home :-)


Rafal Boni                                           
  We are all worms.  But I do believe I am a glowworm.  -- Winston Churchill