Install Debian Over Serial Console

Today has been really exciting for me, for it was the first time that I have ever installed an operating system over a serial console. Normally, I build images and then they are flashed to the box and then tested, but I am working on a custom build using debian as a hypervisor for openwrt virtual machines.

First, I simply grabbed the latest live cd off of the Debian website, and then copied it over to a flash drive. I then booted up my box from the live image. I then used a few tips I found on the following websites, to install from a serial console.

Basically, I added vga=off console=ttyS0,115200n8 to our kernel boot parameters. But we need to disable the vga=off in grub after we have finished our install. Modern Grub doesn’t seem to like it.

Second, I setup a few Qemu virtual machines using the -curses switch so that I can run them on the terminal. But that was too buggy for me so I used -nographic instead and to my surprise,the hotkeys are the same as GNU screen. It makes me wonder what is going on under the hood.

And finally, I started working on setting up a virtual network between my guests and the host systems. There is yet more work to be done but I am heading in the right direction.

I also began reading “The Grapes of Math: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life” by Alex Bellos and I am really enjoying it. It’s nowhere near as technical as the other books that I recently aquired, but is still very insightful and refreshing in it’s own way.

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