Category Archives: linux

Will the Serial Console Ever Die?

Will the serial port as a console connection ever be displaced — especially for devices such as switches, routers, SAN boxes, etc.? In one sense it’s a simple connection. But it is the only current port that, in order to use, you need to know about wiring / baud rates / parity, etc. It has non-standard pinouts. And it is becoming too slow to upload firmware to dead devices, as the firmware updates get larger. Also, the serial port is rapidly disappearing from new laptops — which is where you often really need it, in data centers. Centronics, PS/2, and current loop are mostly defunct. Is there any sign on the horizon of a USB console connection?”


This has been a question of my own for a while. There are lots of switches, routers, PDU’s and even servers where we use serial for direct connection. For the servers we use IPMI for remote console. This helps when the OS has died for some reason or we need to change BIOS settings. It’s certainly a nice and alreasy existing feature to have. But as the article states, the setup is more manual as far as configuring port speed and such as well as being really slow for todays standards.

I don’t know. I’m torn between a tried and true technology and moving forward with improved speed and standard connections. What do you guys think?

MontaVista boasts 1-second Linux boot

MontaVista’s Linux demo goes from a cold boot into a sample, “fully operational” vehicle dashboard application in a single second, the company said. It will be showing off the speedy boot performance at the Virtual Freescale Technology Forum this week.

The demo in question is an embedded OS built around specific hardware, so it does forgo drivers and processes required with your typical production version of Linux. Nevertheless, it’s a performance worth some bragging rights.

what did icons ever do to you anyway?

Here’s another reason why removing menu icons in Gnome (as well as removing the choice to turn them back on) is a bad idea. What about the 3rd party applications that rely on menu icons that are now turned off by default with no easy way for the average user to turn them back on?

My example is a project called Gnome SSH Tunnel Manager (gSTM)
The application creates ssh tunnels using an easy interface. It sits in the notification area with easy 1-click(right) access to turn tunnels on and off while showing their running status with a red or green light next to the name of each saved tunnel.

This application uses menu icons for it’s status icons as well as the Quit button at the bottom and “show gSTM” button at the top.

with menu icons
with menu icons
without menu icons
without menu icons

Gnome hates icons

I originally posted this to the gnome-list mailing list in the hopes of reaching
some type of authoritative response.
So far there has been no response from anyone close to the developers in question.

This “bug” was brought to my attention when I recently tried out Ubuntu 10.04 alpha 2 to see what new improvements Ubuntu and Gnome in general had. Upon going through my usual routine of setting preferences to my liking, I could not find the option to put back the menu icons in the 3 main menu’s provided by Gnome in the top panel. Only some of the icons
are shown, others are not. There used to be a setting to bring them all back. This was previously just an annoyance to have to complete the look
of the menu’s.

I went to #ubuntu+1 on Freenode and asked if this lack of preference was just a temporary setback in the alpha developemnt of Ubuntu. I was
pointed to this “bug”:

Reading the first comment:

“Discussed many times. We should remove the interface tab. Basically
everthing there is a user experience design cop-out. It only belongs in
a tweak UI tool – – but only if someone cares enough to write one.”

“Discussed many times”
Discussed where? Were Gnome users asked for feedback on this decision?

“It only belongs in a tweak UI tool – but only if someone cares enough to write one.”
User experience preferences for gnome should now be the responsibility of third party developers who might or might not develop tools to put
back user experience preferences which gnome developers created and then removed in the first place?

The rest of the comments in “bug” are people disagreeing with the original developer in his decision to remove the preference competely.
Save for 1 developer who agree’d and implemented the descision stating “majority of users”. What majority of users? So far I’m seeing most
people disagreeing with the descision. Not to mention, I don’t see the majority of users requesting preferences be removed regardless if they
are of interest to them or not. Why this descision? Is this preference really that much of a bane on the system resources? Why are we removing
half the icons from the menu’s making them looked half finished and unpolished? Why not remove all icons and be done with it?

I voiced my opinion in the comments of this bug just like the “majority of users” were doing. My comment and one other was removed and my
account on bugzilla disabled.

So, where does a user go to voice his opinions on this type of developer decision where said developers will read it and hopefully impact the
descision? Where can a user submit feedback on bringing back a preference that was removed?

Can we please get this preference put back? I don’t care where it is, but we shouldn’t have to wait for a third party tool to reimplement
preferences to finish the look of the menu’s that have already existed but were removed.