The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Terminal insanity

Smirk is preparing to set up a network presence in Charlotte, North Carolina and this week I have to configure a router, a management server and some managed power strips. To help manage some of the equipment (like the router and managed power strips) Smirk purchased a terminal server.

Now, when I hear the term “terminal server” I picture in my mind a small box like device with one network port on one side, and a bunch of serial ports on the other side. A person can then log into the “terminal server” from the network and access any serial device hooked up to it. Conversely, someone can use a serial device to access the network. Sure, there might be some configuration settings to be made on the “terminal server” but pretty much, you plug devices into it, and that's that.

The unit Smirk got, however, resembles a “terminal server” in that yes, it has a network port on one side, and a bunch of serial ports on the other side (said serial ports being RJ45 with their own special wiring—fortunately the manual came with wiring diagrams but I was stuck talking to the device with some scissors, a bit of wire and a paper clip, but I digress) but there any simularity ends.

The thing comes with drivers.

As in, to use this external network based device I need to install special device drivers on my workstation before I can use it. For Linux, that involved installing the Linux kernel sources (which was a major project in and of itself no thanks to the package manager yum) and compiling the driver (which was a major project in and of itself no thanks to the incompatibilities of various versions of RPM), realize that yes indeed, it is a Linux kernel module which promptly caused my machine to die on the spot.

The computer didn't freeze. It didn't kernel panic. The screen went black and that's all she wrote.

Upon reading further, this “terminal server” uses this “driver” to make the serial ports appear as if they were physically part of the computer, which is not like any “terminal server” I ever had to deal with. Smirk is sending the unit back as it's not what we want.

So instead, I'm bringing the terminal server I have and using that.


Doesn't everybody have an old terminal server they aren't using anymore?

Okay, maybe Mark …

Obligatory Picture

[It's the most wonderful time of the year!]

Obligatory Contact Info

Obligatory Feeds

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

It is assumed that every brand name, slogan, corporate name, symbol, design element, et cetera mentioned in these pages is a protected and/or trademarked entity, the sole property of its owner(s), and acknowledgement of this status is implied.

Copyright © 1999-2021 by Sean Conner. All Rights Reserved.