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 Another alternative to headless machines...
Author: Philip 
Date:   18-12-01 21:02

I have a bunch of headless servers. What I did was hook one of them up with a monitor keyboard and then configure all the others to use the serial port as the console. Then just run a bunch of null modem serial cables from each machine to the one with the monitor/keyboard. When I want to get on the console of one I just swap cables around...

works pretty well for me.

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 Re: Another alternative to headless machines...
Author: Dan Langille 
Date:   19-12-01 00:34

I've heard about serial consoles many times. I've never tried them though. One day....

I bet you could get a switch to toggle between the serial ports so you didn't have to swap cables?

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 Re: Another alternative to headless machines...
Author: Philip 
Date:   19-12-01 20:07

Yeah, you can, but they can get expensive... and I find that I do it so rarely it's not that big of a deal to just swap them. It *is* nice when I do need them though :)

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 Re: Another alternative to headless machines...
Author: Iain Patterson 
Date:   21-12-01 09:35

Doh, a flag in the kernel config! That's interesting. I wish I'd known that before I spent HKD$1400 (about US$200) on a funky KVM switch and cables!

Actually I needed the switch for my other machines anyway :-) and thought I might as well plug the FreeBSD box into it to kill another bird while I was throwing stones but it's nice to find out WHY it wasn't working.

Nice article!

Aside: my switch really is funky. You can switch screens from the keyboard. Control+Alt+Shift then X then Enter where X is the number of the display you want. Very nice...

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 Re: Another alternative to headless machines...
Author: Dan Langille 
Date:   21-12-01 18:39

A coworker's switch uses control control N ENTER.

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 Re: Another alternative to headless machines...
Author: Iain Patterson 
Date:   22-12-01 16:23

Hehe, that wouldn't work for me. I play games on one of the boxes so control, control N enter is a combination I could quite conceivably need...

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 Re: Another alternative to headless machines...
Author: Philip 
Date:   05-01-02 01:24

I don't have the URL anymore, but somewhere out there a guy built his own keyboard switcher that was really funky. He made is own switcher box that in addition to keyboard/video also took serial inputs from all the machines. He then wrote an application for each machine (windows, mac, and unix) that put a little box in each bottom corner of the screen. Move the mouse into that corner and it would send a signal on the serial port to the switcher and switch you to the machine "on that side".

Pretty crazy :)

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 Re: Another alternative to headless machines...
Author: You4eea 
Date:   06-06-02 02:38

Thank God, I found this article.....

Man I thought I was gonna have to spend $1400.00 myself.
FreeBSD Diary is were it is at.

Thanks for the money saved.

You4eea

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