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Re: Installing RH from Windows over a null modem

As cstrobel@crosslink.net said, you need to compile a kernel with
serial console support enabled.    Otherwise, you cannot run a console
over a serial port.

By default, Debian GNU/Linux disables serial console support.  I
suspect that Red Hat does the same.

The best, but rather difficult, solution may be for you to create your
own special purpose GNU/Linux distribution.  You could create one from
Debian -- that distribution has the two advantages that it is easy to
update and that you can readily figure out whether you have the legal
right to distribute packages within it.

Your distribution would be a subset of the complete Debian
distribution, but with non-standard settings.  This way, you would not
have any trouble tracking changes in the distribution.

Debian's disadvantage is that it is harder to install.

However, I've been told that Progeny has created a more automatic
installer for i386-type chips, like the Pentiums and AMDs, but not for
other architectures (which is why the installer is not already part of

If Progeny has done this, and if the software is freely
redistributable, you could include the installer in your own
distribution.  Although this would restrict your users to an i386-type
architecture, I think this would be OK for you.

Also, over time, I expect the Debian people to improve the install
process, perhaps by extending the Progeny installer to other
architectures.  (One reason that improvements are slow is that hardly
any Debian person installs more than once; they use the automatic
upgrade tools, sometimes with leaps as big as the difference between
RH 5.2 and RH 7.1)

Although it would take considerable work to create your own special
purpose distribution, the result has advantages:

  - select the packages to appear on the CD

  - require only one CD rather than many

  - set the system to boot to a text-only terminal rather than one of
    these graphical logon screens in X

  - set the boot to speak to you early

  - set the system to start Emacspeak 

    Indeed, it might make sense to figure out how to run 
    Emacspeak as the shell instead of /bin/sh

I don't know about the licensing requirements for Via Voice, which is
software for which you lack freedom.  You may be hindered from using
it.  Or maybe you may distribute it gratis.  If you are hindered from
distributing it, you may first have to help create free software that
works well with Emacspeak, such as `Festival Lite'.

Or, since you have an IBM email address, you might try to persuade the
appropriate folks to apply the company's `freedom for software' policy
consistently and put Via Voice under the GPL.  After all, IBM is
trying to become a hardware and solutions company that benefits from
software freedom.

    Robert J. Chassell                  bob@rattlesnake.com
    Rattlesnake Enterprises             http://www.rattlesnake.com

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