Re: SUMMARY: SPARCserver cgsix as non-console

From: Lance Sloan (
Date: Thu Apr 01 1993 - 12:56:59 CST

When we upgraded our SPARCserver 490 to a 690, we didn't want to use the
cgsix framebuffer as the console. We wanted to continue using a vt220 as
the console on ttya and use the framebuffer like a workstation.

I didn't get any good answers from Usenet, so I sent mail to several Sun
employees that I've traded mail with in the past. Unfortunately, the only
reply I got from them was that it is possible to do, but they weren't sure
how. A couple Sun people are trying still trying to find a solution from
their internal tech group.

Then, yesterday afternoon, Bill Hunter of Access Graphics (
sent me mail explaining exactly how to do it. There may be other ways of
accomplishing this, but this works perfectly:

> Date: Wed, 31 Mar 93 11:15:49 MST
> From: (Bill Hunter)
> To:
> Subject: Re: 690's cg6 as non-console
> here is what you do:
> 1. Make new special files corresponding to the "raw" keyboard and mouse:
> mknod /dev/zs2 c 12 2 # The keyboard
> mknod /dev/zs3 c 12 3 # The mouse
> These are just serial ports and will need some "special treatment"
> in order to behave as /dev/kbd and /dev/mouse.
> 2. Shutdown your machine and tell the monitor to
> setenv input-device ttya # Or perhaps ttyb
> setenv output-device ttya
> You can also use eeprom(8S).
> 3. Reset and reboot. /dev/fb, /dev/kbd and /dev/mouse are now useless.
> In my case, /dev/bwtwo0 works as a substitute for /dev/fb.
> Also /dev/ttya (ttyb) is useless - if you have an entry in ttytab
> for it, comment it out.
> 4. Modify the StartOW file in the xdm directory ($OPENWINHOME/lib/xdm) and add
> the following lines:
> KEYBOARD=/dev/zs2
> MOUSE=/dev/zs3
> FRAMEBUFFER=/dev/bwtwo0 #As appropriate /dev/cgthree0 /dev/cgsix0 etc.
> This file is only used by xdm to control the local display (see the
> Xservers file). So setting these variables will not affect xdm running on
> any other foreign display (ie xterminal).
> 5. Start xdm (which is what I desired to do). To set up xdm to run -
> basically, set the OPENWINHOME env variable, and then start xdm with the
> config option for example in /etc/rc:
> OPENWINHOME=/usr/openwin; export OPENWINHOME
> if [ -f $OPENWINHOME/lib/xdm/xdm-config ]; then
> $OPENWINHOME/bin/xdm -config $OPENWINHOME/lib/xdm/xdm-config &
> echo "Starting XDM..."
> fi
> 6. I also modified one other file in the xdm directory (Xsession). I simply
> modified the file to search for on start-up to be $HOME/.xsession, rather
> than $HOME/.xinitrc. This is probably a religious issue about what files
> are to do what function, but that is the way I prefer to have xdm setup.
> Now the serial port is the console in every sense and you are still able to
> log in and use the framebuffer, keyboard and mouse.

This works! It's fantastic!

I find it very humorous that the people at Sun couldn't figure this out.

Thanks again, Bill Hunter!

  Lance Sloan                                    
  UNIX System Administrator           GMI Engineering and Management Institute
  Assistant Programmer                                    Flint, Michigan, USA

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Sep 28 2001 - 23:07:40 CDT