November 27, 2009

OpenRD console access on FreeBSD.

Categories: FreeBSD, Sysadmin.

This morning, I received the Open-RD I bought a few days ago and started playing with my new device. One of the first thing I wanted to access was (of course) the system console. While the default setup provides a SSH daemon and even GDM and a full desktop, my goal is to have FreeBSD on this device and move the services I run at home from my personal computer to this low-consumption computer (and I don't intend to switch to GNU/Linux).

Since the console is usually available on the serial port, I looked for some cable to connect the OpenRD to my computer. Unfortunately, I didn't have the required cable. I then spent about two hour with various serial cables, cables looking like serial cables but which where not serial cables, parallel SUB-D25 connectors, a serial SUB-D25 cross-over cable and a soldering iron to build a null-modem SUB-D9 serial cable. Unfortunately, when I connected my computer to the OpenRD, I was still not able to access the console using cu(1).

After reading a bit of documentation, I realised I missed the fact that the console was available on USB and not via the serial port. However, FreeBSD did not recognised the chip the OpenRD uses to provide serial over USB support.

Using usbconfig(8), I could get the vendor ID and product ID the uftdi(4) driver was lacking. I patches the source code and a few minutes later could enjoy a set of new devices when I plug the OpenRD on my computer:

% ls /dev/cuaU*

I can now access the OpenRD console using cu(1):

% cu -l /dev/cuaU1 -s 115200

\o/ I can boot a FreeBSD 8.0-STABLE arm kernel!

I filled-in the usb/140951 problem report in the FreeBSD GNATS with the patch. If you own an OpenRD and want to have access to the console, the patch is just waiting for you.

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