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Installing RH from Windows over a null modem



Greetings all,

I've been reworking James Van Zandt's Emacspeak HOWTO, and I'm trying to
test the section on installing Linux from a speech-enabled Windows machine
using a null-modem cable.  Of course, many things have changed since James
wrote the HOWTO back in 1996, especially many of the instructions in this
particular section of the HOWTO, so I'm having a lot of trouble getting
things working.  I was hoping that someone out there might be able to share
some insight on this problem!

My Windows system is running Windows 2000.  I'm using HyperTerminal as my
terminal emulator.  I've set up a terminal session, 9600 baud, 8 bits, 1
stop, no parity, hardware flow control.  I'm using the VT100 terminal
emulation mode. My null modem cable is connected to COM1 on my Win machine,
and also to COM1 on my soon-to-be Linux box.

On the Linux end, I'm trying to install Red Hat 7.1 from a boot floppy and
two CDs that I downloaded and burned.    When I get to the boot: prompt, I
type in the following:

text console=/dev/ttyS0,9600

Before pressing Return, I start up my HyperTerminal session on my Windows
machine, and make sure it is running.  Then I press Return on the Linux
machine, and on the Linux box's monitor, I can see the following messages:

Loading initrd.img....
Loading vmlinux.....ready.
Uncompressing Linux... OK, booting the kernel.

Then the Linux machine hangs.  None of the above message actually appear in
the HyperTerminal window on my Windows box.  Oh, and I've also tried
unplugging the keyboard and mouse on the Linux-to-be box, since according
to some archived messages this action redirects output to COM1 on some of
the Free BSD systems.  Still nothing in the Hyperterminal window - in fact,
Linux just complains about there not being a keyboard or mouse and hangs. :
(

Now, I've actually already got Red Hat 7.1 installed on another partition
of this same machine.  If I boot into that partition and type the following
command at the lilo prompt:

linux console=/dev/ttyS0,9600

Nothing happens there either.  I still don't see anything in the
HyperTerminal window.  However, if I wait for the machine to finish
booting, then log in and at the command prompt type:

echo "test" > /dev/ttyS0

... the word "test" shows up in my Hyperterminal window.  So not only does
my null modem cable definitely work, but apparently output directed to the
COM1 port does in fact make it out of the COM1 port.

My suspicion is that there's some setting that's turned off in the Red Hat
distro that would otherwise allow console output to go to the com port, but
not being an expert, I'm only guessing.  I've done a lot of research on the
'net, but all the sites I've found that discuss connecting two machines
together via a null modem assume that Linux is already installed and thus
require altering a number of files on the Linux machine. Given that I want
console output *during installation*, editing these files before they're
installed is obviously not an option.  Should anyone have any suggestions
or ideas on other things to try, they would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

-jen


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