Chapter 1. Terminals and Modems

This chapter describes some of the software and hardware considerations for setting up terminals and modems. This information also applies to most generic serial devices. It does not cover specialized devices (such as the dial & button Box and the Spaceball ). For information on these devices, contact Silicon Graphics.

Serial communication between users and serial devices, such as modems and terminals, is supported by the TTY subsystem. (“Dumb” serial printers are also connected using the TTY subsystem; they are covered in Chapter 2, “Printers”. ) This chapter tells you how to administer the TTY subsystem with respect to terminals and modems. It includes information about

In addition, always refer to any documentation accompanying a peripheral before connecting it to your system.

About the TTY Subsystem

A series of four processes—init(1M) , getty(1M) or uugetty(1M) , login(1) , and either sh(1) , csh(1) , or ksh(1) —connect a user to the IRIX system. init is invoked as the last step in the boot procedure and is responsible for spawning general processes. It spawns a process for each serial line that a user may log in on, as defined by instructions in the file /etc/inittab. The getty or uugetty commands in /etc/inittab require a line argument, which is the name of a special file in the /dev directory. For a description of other arguments that may be used with getty and uugetty, see the getty(1M) and uugetty(1M) reference pages.

A user attempting to make a connection generates a signal that is routed by the hardware to the getty process (derived from “get a tty”) for one of the TTY line files in /dev. getty responds by sending an entry from the file /etc/gettydefs down the line. The gettydefs entry used depends on the speed argument used with the getty command. (In the Synopsis of the getty(1M) reference page, the argument name is speed, but it is really a pointer to the label field of a gettydefs entry.) If no speed argument is provided, getty uses the first entry in gettydefs. Among the fields in the gettydefs entry is the login prompt (described in “Checking Line Settings Using IRIX Shell Commands”).

On receiving the login prompt, the user enters a login name. getty starts login, using the login name as an argument. login issues the prompt for a password, evaluates the user's response, and, if the password is acceptable, calls in the user's shell as listed in the /etc/passwd entry for the login name. If no shell is named, /bin/sh is furnished by default.

/bin/sh executes /etc/profile and then executes the user's .profile, if it exists. /bin/csh executes /etc/cshrc, .cshrc, and .login. The .profile, .cshrc, or .login file often contains stty commands that reset terminal options that differ from the defaults. The connection between the user and the IRIX system has now been made.


The following terms are used to describe serial devices and the TTY system:


The near-classic abbreviation for teletypewriter. The term covers the whole area of access between the IRIX system and peripheral serial devices, including the system console. It shows up in commands such as getty and stty, in the names of device special files such as /dev/ttyd1, and in the names of files such as /etc/gettydefs, which is used by getty.

TTY line  

The cable connecting the computer to the serial device.


The connector on the computer where the TTY line attaches.

line settings  

A set of characteristics for data transmission over the line.

baud rate  

The speed at which data is transmitted over the line. A part of the line settings.


The characteristics of the terminal interface and a part of the line settings. The TTY line and the terminal must be working in the same mode before communication can take place. Described in termio(7) .

hunt sequence  

A series of line settings such as different baud rates. During the login sequence, a user looking for a compatible connection to the computer can go from one setting to the next by sending a BREAK signal. Also referred to as a rotary.

terminal options 

Settings that define the way a given terminal operates. Described in termio(7) .

Installing an ASCII Terminal

This section describes the procedures for connecting and configuring an ASCII terminal. (Refer to the Serial Device Manager in your System Manager to accomplish many of the same tasks described in this section if you prefer to use a GUI to a command-line interface.)

The diagnostics terminal, or console, is the ASCII terminal connected to a serial port on the I/O panel of a server. It can be connected to any of these ports, depending on your system:

  • The alternate console port on a graphics system

  • The console port (labeled port 1 or port 2) on a nongraphics system

  • Any of the four serial ports on larger systems such as the CHALLENGE M or Onyx

The messages produced by the power-on diagnostics appear on the screen of this terminal.

Configuring the Terminal Software

This section tells you how to configure IRIX software to use an ASCII terminal with your computer system.

During configuration, you need to

  • Edit the file /etc/ttytype to associate the TTY port you have chosen with a file that describes your terminal settings. These terminal descriptor files reside in the directory /usr/lib/terminfo.

  • Update the file /etc/inittab to allow a login to that port.

    Note: The utilities described in this section are distributed as part of the eoe.sw.terminfo package. You must have installed this package on your system in order to use these utilities. See IRIX Admin: Software Installation and Licensing for information and specific instructions on installing this package.

The /usr/lib/terminfo directory contains files that describe different terminal models, their capabilities, and how they operate. For most ASCII terminal models, you do not need to edit this database.

Note: If your terminal is not in the database, or if it does not work properly after you have configured the software, you may need to write a terminal description. Refer to the optional Topics in IRIX Programming and the tset(1) , stty(1) , and terminfo(4) reference pages. Additionally, your terminal may support a compatible terminal mode (such as VT100). Check your terminal documentation for compatibility modes.

The directory /usr/lib/terminfo is divided into numeric and alphabetic subdirectories. Each subdirectory contains entries for terminals whose names begin with that character. For example, /usr/lib/terminfo/v contains the entry for the Visual 50. The entry name listed in the subdirectory is v50am.

To find the entry name for your terminal and to configure software for an ASCII terminal, follow these steps:

  1. Log in as root or become the superuser by entering the su command.

  2. To change directories to /usr/lib/terminfo, type

    cd /usr/lib/terminfo 

  3. Find the entry name for your terminal. Issue the fgrep command with a string that you suspect could make up part of your terminal name.

    ls -R | fgrep -i string 

    If this fails, examine the subdirectories of /usr/lib/terminfo, which contain all the terminal entries.

  4. Once you find the terminal name as it appears in /usr/lib/terminfo, issue the infocmp command to determine the model name of your terminal. For example, for a Visual 50, issue this command:

    infocmp -I v50am 

    You will see a display that begins with this line:

    v50am|visual50 (v50 emulation) with automatic margins,

    The data in the first field (v50am) is the model name of your terminal.

    Note: If it looks as if there are many terminal names that could apply, use this sample shell script to help speed up the search. This example uses the string wy60* to help locate all the Wyse60 models. Substitute your own string, as appropriate.

    for i in wy60*
    infocmp -I $i

    If you choose an incorrect model name, you can change it later; the line still works, but screen-based commands do not display correctly.

  5. Edit /etc/ttytype and enter the model name.

    This file associates the model name with the port where the terminal is connected. In the line that contains the port you are using, replace v50am with the model name of your terminal.

    An /etc/ttytype might look like this example:

    iris-ansi systty
    ?v50am    ttyd1
    ?v50am    ttyd2
    ?v50am    ttyd3
    ?v50am    ttyd4
    ?v50am    ttyd5
    ?v50am    ttyd6
    ?v50am    ttyd7
    ?v50am    ttyd8
    ?v50am    ttyd9
    ?v50am    ttyd10
    ?v50am    ttyd11
    ?v50am    ttyd12

    The optional question mark (?) at the beginning of a line in /etc/ttytype causes tset to display the model name as supplied (for example, v50am here) and prompts for the model name you are currently using. If you are not using the model name as provided, type in the name that you are using; otherwise, press Enter to accept the default. This provides an easy way to switch terminal settings if you use more than one type of terminal.

    tset is normally called in your login startup script (.login or .profile). tset commands use information from /etc/ttytype and /usr/lib/terminfo to initialize the terminal. These files also provide information on setting environment variables so that editors and other programs know how to communicate with the terminal. See tset(1) for detailed information.

  6. Edit /etc/inittab so that you can log in. /etc/inittab provides information about how the computer ports behave. This sample is from an /etc/inittab file:

    t1:23:respawn:/etc/getty -s console ttyd1 co_9600 # port 1
    t2:23:off:/etc/getty -N ttyd2 co_9600 # port 2 
    t3:23:off:/etc/getty -N ttyd3 co_9600 # port 3 
    t4:23:off:/etc/getty -N ttyd4 co_9600 # port 4 

    Here are two sample entries, with an explanation of each field in the entries:

    t1:23:respawn:/etc/getty -s console ttyd1 co_9600
    t2:23:off:/etc/getty -N ttyd2 co_9600

    t1 t2  

    uniquely identifies the entry.


    defines the init run level in which this entry is to be processed. A 23 means this entry is to be processed in run levels two and three. Refer to init(1M) for more information about run levels.


    means do not perform the action on the process field of init.


    means start the program in the process field of init and restart it every time the process terminates. See inittab(4) for a description of all possible actions.

    /etc/getty -s console ttyd1 co_9600  

    runs the getty process on the port labeled 1 at the baud rate and with the options specified in the co_9600 entry in the /etc/gettydefs file. The -s console option instructs getty that the login shell generated is a system console and therefore receives system error messages.

    /etc/getty -N ttyd2 co_9600  

    runs the getty process on the port labeled 2 at the baud rate and with the options specified in the co_9600 entry in the /etc/gettydefs file. The -N option instructs getty to honor the presence of the /etc/nologin file, which does not allow remote logins over the network.


    text following this symbol is a comment to the end of line.

    To enable you to log in to the terminal connected to the port labeled 2, find this line:

    t2:23:off:/etc/getty -N ttyd2 co_9600 

    Change it to

    t2:23:respawn:/etc/getty -N ttyd2 co_9600 

  7. If you do not plan to run the terminal at 9,600 baud, replace co_9600 in /etc/inittab with the correct entry name from /etc/gettydefs.

    /etc/inittab refers to /etc/gettydefs for information about the terminal line settings. In the example from /etc/inittab above, co_9600 refers to the name of an entry in /etc/gettydefs; it defines a 9,600 baud console setting.

    To see what entries are defined in /etc/gettydefs, examine the file or see “Checking Line Settings Using IRIX Shell Commands”. To make a new entry, see “Creating and Testing Line Settings”.

  8. Inform init of the change to /etc/inittab and start a getty process for the port:

    telinit q 

  9. Power on the terminal. The workstation sends a login prompt to the terminal screen. Press Enter if the login prompt does not appear.

    Note: If the default line speed set in /etc/inittab is incorrect, the prompt may be garbled or may not appear. Choose another line speed.

Setting Terminal Options

The TTY system described thus far establishes a basic style of communication between the user's terminal and the IRIX operating system. Once a user has successfully logged in, he or she may prefer terminal options other than the default set.

The stty command controls terminal options. Many users add an stty command to their .profile or .login file so that the options they want are automatically set as part of the login process. Here is an example of a simple stty command:

stty cr0 nl0 echoe -tabs erase '^H' 

The options in the example and their meanings are

cr0 nl0  

No delay for carriage return or newline. Delays are not used on a video display terminal but are necessary on some printing terminals to allow time for the mechanical parts of the equipment to move.


Erases characters as you backspace.


Expands tabs to spaces when printing.

erase '^H'  

Changes the character-delete character to a ctrl-H. The default character-delete character is the pound sign (#). Most terminals transmit a ctrl-H when the Backspace key is pressed. Specifying this option makes Backspace delete the character that was just typed.

Refer to the stty(1) reference page for a full list of stty options.

Installing a Modem

This section describes how to install a modem onto a serial port. It describes how to set up the hardware and software to support a UUCP modem connection. (Refer to the Serial Device Manager in the System Manager for a GUI-based approach to the tasks discussed in this section.)

Topics in this section are

Silicon Graphics is compatible with most industry-standard modems. This section uses the US Robotics Sportster and Telebit modems as examples for the installation procedure. If you are using another type of modem, substitute its information where applicable.

You can use the standard system software to set up a modem for three different modes:

  • As a dial-in modem—other users can call your modem to log in to your system.

  • As a dial-out modem—you can use the modem to call a remote modem to log in to the system where the remote modem is connected.

  • As a dial-in/dial-out modem—other users can call your modem, and you can call other modems.

If you want to set up your modem for a SLIP or PPP connection, complete the modem configuration steps in the chapter and then refer to the SLIP or PPP configuration procedures in IRIX Admin: Networking and Mail .

Before You Begin

There are a few prerequisites you should be aware of before installing the modem. Review the following points before installing the modem.

  • Choose a modem configuration script. Silicon Graphics provides a set of predefined configuration scripts for many popular modems to help with your modem installation. These scripts describe the correct jumper settings for your modem and contain the expected AT commands and values for your modem to operate correctly. If your modem is not listed, you can use the fix-hayes script as a template and customize it to your modem's specifications.

    Table 1-1 shows the modem types and their configuration scripts.

    Table 1-1. Modem Configuration Scripts


    Configuration Script

    Telebit T2500, T1600, QBlazer, T3000, and WorldBlazer


    ZyXEL U-1496


    Intel 14.4ex


    DSI 9624 models


    US Robotics (also called USR)


    Hayes ACCURA (also called Hayes14)


  • Check that the UUCP software is installed. The eoe.sw.uucp subsystem must be installed on your system. It is shipped with your IRIX system software distribution, but it is not installed by default. You can determine whether eoe.sw.uucp is installed by using the command

    versions | grep uucp

    Check the versions output for the following line:

    I eoe.sw.uucp uucp utilities

    If the line above is not present, eoe.sw.uucp is not installed. See IRIX Admin: Software Installation and Licensing for instructions on installing a subsystem and install eoe.sw.uucp.

  • Check the baud rate of the modem. The installation procedure examples assume you are using a 28,800- or 14,400-baud modem. Be sure to substitute your modem baud rate where applicable.

  • Check your serial port interface speed. The interface speed is the maximum speed of your computer's serial port, generally 38,400 or 115,200 bps. Check your system Owner's Guide to be sure. Use the maximum speed common to both modem and computer.

  • If your modem supports hardware flow control (RTS/CTS), be sure to use it to disable support for software flow control (XON/XOFF).

  • Determine how you want to use your modem: dial-in only, dial-out only, or dial-in/dial-out.

    Warning: Be sure you are not violating a site security policy by installing a modem on your system. If your system is networked to other systems, access to your system by modem provides a potential point of unauthorized access to the entire network.

Setting Up the Modem Software

The major tasks for setting up the modem software are similar, no matter how you choose to use your modem.

Table 1-2 provides an overview of the major tasks for each of the three usage modes. An “x” in the table denotes that the task is performed.

Table 1-2. Overview of Modem Software Setup





Turn off the port
in /etc/inittab




Execute telinit q to
reinitialize the port




Run fix-modem
configuration script




Edit Devices file




Chown device to uucp




Update action field in /etc/inittab




Modem Software Setup, All Modes

The installation procedure in this section is used to start the software setup for the three usage modes. Follow the procedure until you reach the section that is specific for the usage mode you have chosen. Then continue with that section. For example, if you are configuring your modem for dial-in only, complete the procedures in this section and the “Dial-In Mode” section.

  1. Log in as root.

  2. Edit /etc/inittab to turn off the port you will be using for your modem so that you can configure it correctly.

    Find the line for the port. The line begins with tportnumber, where portnumber is the number of a serial port. For example, if you connected your modem to port 2, look for a line similar to the following:

    t2:23:respawn:/etc/getty -N ttyd2 co_9600 #port 2

    Change respawn to off. This tells the system not to restart the /etc/getty program when it exits. If it is already off, continue to the next step. The line should look like this when you are finished:

    t2:23:off:/etc/getty -N ttyd2 co_9600 #port 2

  3. Write and exit the /etc/inittab file.

  4. Inform init about the change to inittab with the following command:

    telinit q 

  5. Run the modem configuration script for your modem type (see Table 1-1). Select the appropriate argument for its usage mode from Table 1-3 for the port you are configuring.

    Table 1-3. Determining the Usage Mode for Modem Configuration







    Note: Be sure to view the entire configuration script for information and command arguments specific to your modem type before running the script.

    For example, if you want to configure a US Robotics Sportster modem for dial-in/dial-out connected to port 2, use the fix-usr command and specify a dial-in/dial-out argument (-io) and the port number to which the modem is connected. For example, enter the command

    /etc/uucp/fix-usr -io 2 

    You can also specify the optional modem model type and the modem speed using the command

    /etc/uucp/fix-usr -io -m SPORT -s 38400 2 

    As another example, to configure a Telebit modem for dial-in only mode, use the fix-telebit command and specify a dial-in modem (-i), the model of the modem (tb+, t1000, t1600, t2500) and its speed, and the port number to which the modem is connected.

    In this example, if a T2500 modem is connected to port 2 at 19,200 baud, dial-in only, enter the following command:

    /etc/uucp/fix-telebit -i -m t2500 -s 19200 2 

Dial-Out Mode

This section describes additional steps for configuring dial-out only and dial-in/dial-out modems. Be sure you have completed the steps in “Modem Software Setup, All Modes” before starting the setup in this section.

You turn on dial-out modem software by editing the /etc/uucp/Devices file. You also have to change ownership of the port to UUCP.

  1. Edit the /etc/uucp/Devices file to specify the port to which the modem is connected and to set the correct baud rate for the modem. Also, add a direct line for use in debugging problems. The lines have the following forms:

    ACU ttynportnumber null baud 212 x dialer 
    Direct ttydportnumber - baud direct

    • If your modem runs at 2,400 baud or lower, the n field should be m.

    • If it runs faster than 2,400 baud and supports hardware flow control, the n field should be f.

    • All other cases can use d.

    The value for portnumber is the number of the serial port to which the modem is connected. The baud variable is the baud rate at which the modem runs. The dialer variable is the model tag, as listed in the first field of the /etc/uucp/Dialers file.

    Note: If your modem type is not listed in the Dialers file, you may want to obtain the most up-to-date version of the Dialers file. It is available online from Silicon Graphics with the ftp utility.

    For example, for a US Robotics modem connected to serial port 2 that can accept and send data at 38,400 baud (using RTS/CTS hardware flow control), add the following lines to the Devices file:

    ACU ttyf2 null 38400 212 x usr
    Direct ttyd2 - 38400 direct
    Direct ttyf2 - 38400 direct

    For a Telebit modem connected to serial port 2 and running at 19,200 baud, add the following lines:

    ACU ttyf2 null 19200 212 x telebit
    Direct ttyd2 - 19200 direct
    Direct ttyf2 - 19200 direct

    Save and exit the Devices file.

  2. Change the ownership of the device files. For example, if you are using serial port 2, give the following command (substituting the appropriate tty device as determined above):

    chown uucp /dev/tty[dfm]2

  • If you are configuring your modem for dial-in/dial-out mode, continue with the section “Dial-In Mode” below.

When you have finished the above process, try to dial out through the modem to verify the dial-out setup, as described in “Dialing Out to Another Modem”. For more information on dialer options, see the file /etc/uucp/Dialers.

Dial-In Mode

Be sure you have completed the steps in “Modem Software Setup, All Modes”. For dial-in/dial-out mode, be sure you have also completed the steps in “Dial-Out Mode”.

Complete the configuration by editing the file /etc/inittab. Perform the following steps:

  1. Edit the file /etc/inittab again so that the system recognizes that the port is used for the modem (as opposed to a terminal). This editing also sets the interface speed on the port and enables user logins through the port.

    Find the line for the port to which the modem is connected. The line begins with tportnumber, where portnumber is the number of a serial port. For example, if you connected your modem to port 2, look for a line similar to the following:

    t2:23:off:/etc/getty -N ttyd2 co_9600 #port 2 

    Make the following changes to this line:

    • Change off to respawn.

    • Change /etc/getty to /usr/lib/uucp/uugetty.

    • Add the dial-in -i option with the modem model argument. Pick the modem model variable from Table 1-4 (or check the /etc/uucp/Dialers file for additional variables):

      Table 1-4. The inittab File Dial-In Options by Modem Type

      Modem Type

      -i Argument

      Telebit T2500, T1600, QBlazer, T3000, and WorldBlazer


      ZyXEL U-1496


      Intel 14.4ex


      DSI 9624 models


      US Robotics (also called USR)


      Hayes ACCURA (also called Hayes14)


    • Change ttyd2 to ttyf2.

    • Change co_9600 to dx_115200. (This is the serial port interface speed. It lets the modem answer and connect at the maximum and slower baud rates.) This should be the highest possible speed for the serial port that your system supports. Refer to your Owner's Guide for your serial port's maximum interface speed.

    • Change the comment at the end of the line to note that this port is now used for a modem; include its phone number for reference.

    For example, if you connected a US Robotics modem to serial port 2, and found a line similar to this line in /etc/inittab

    t2:23:off:/etc/getty -N ttyd2 co_9600 #port 2

    you would change it to read

    t2:23:respawn:/usr/lib/uucp/uugetty -Nt60 -iusrin,conn ttyf2 dx_38400 #Modem 555-2345

    If you are setting up a Telebit modem to serial port 2, and found a line similar to this one

    t2:23:off:/etc/getty -N ttyd2 co_9600 #port 2

    you would change it to read

    t2:23:respawn:/usr/lib/uucp/uugetty -Nt60 -itelebitin,conn ttyf2 dx_19200 #Modem 555-3456

  2. Write and exit the /etc/inittab file.

  3. Inform init about the change to /etc/inittab with the following command:

    telinit q 

To test the dial-in setup, have someone try to dial in to the system through this modem.

To dial out through the modem to verify the dial-out setup, continue with the section “Dialing Out to Another Modem”.

Timing Out a Dial-In Connection

There is no standard way to configure the system to time out dial-in connections after a set amount of time. One way to accomplish this, however, is by using a shell for the dial-in account that supports time-outs after a specified period (for example, tcsh).

Warning: You should not change root's shell to /usr/bin/tcsh if /usr is a separate filesystem because it may not be mounted in single-user mode.

Note: The tcsh timeout does not work for dial-in connections that use PPP, SLIP, or UUCP.

Alternatively, you could write a script that determines the length of time a user is logged in and acts accordingly (refer to last(1) , grep(1) , and who(1) for more information).

Dialing Out to Another Modem

The cu utility dials your modem. Before you attempt to dial out, make sure your local modem is connected to both your system and a working telephone line. Also, make sure the modem is turned on. The cu syntax to dial the number 1-800-555-1234 is

cu 18005551234

Refer to the cu(1C) reference page for complete information on cu. If everything is working, you should hear the modem dialing and after a short time you should see the following message on your console:


  • If no login prompt is displayed, press Enter once.

  • If a prompt is displayed, continue and log in to the remote system.

  • To disconnect, press the Enter key, the tilde key (~), a period (.), and the Enter key again.

  • If you cannot connect, refer to the troubleshooting tips in “Troubleshooting Your Modem Setup” in Chapter 5.

Managing the TTY Subsystem

This section covers the following topics:

Checking Line Settings Using IRIX Shell Commands

The /etc/gettydefs file contains information used by the getty command to establish the speed and terminal settings for a line. The general format of the gettydefs file is

label# initial-flags # final-flags #login-prompt #next-label 

The following example shows a few lines from a gettydefs file:

co_9600# B9600 CLOCAL # B9600 SANE TAB3 CLOCAL #\r\n\n$HOSTNAME login: #co_4800
co_4800# B4800 CLOCAL # B4800 SANE TAB3 CLOCAL #\r\n\n$HOSTNAME login: #co_2400
co_2400# B2400 CLOCAL # B2400 SANE TAB3 CLOCAL #\r\n\n$HOSTNAME login: #co_1200
co_1200# B1200 CLOCAL # B1200 SANE TAB3 CLOCAL #\r\n\n$HOSTNAME login: #co_300
co_300# B300 CLOCAL # B300 SANE TAB3 CLOCAL #\r\n\n$HOSTNAME login: #co_9600
dx_115200# B115200 # B115200 SANE TAB3 HUPCL #\r\n\n$HOSTNAME login: #dx_115200
dx_57600# B57600 # B57600 SANE TAB3 HUPCL #\r\n\n$HOSTNAME login: #dx_57600
dx_38400# B38400 # B38400 SANE TAB3 HUPCL #\r\n\n$HOSTNAME login: #dx_38400
dx_19200# B19200 # B19200 SANE TAB3 HUPCL #\r\n\n$HOSTNAME login: #dx_19200
dx_9600# B9600 # B9600 SANE TAB3 HUPCL #\r\n\n$HOSTNAME login: #dx_9600

The entries beginning with dx are typically used for terminals or modems; those beginning with du are typically used for low-speed modems. See gettydefs(4) for more information on the fields of each entry.

These entries form a single rotary hunt sequence; the last field on each line is the label of the next line. The next label field for the last line shown points back to the first line in the sequence. The object of the hunt sequence is to link a range of line speeds. If you see garbage characters instead of a clear login prompt, press the Esc key to force getty to step to the next entry in the sequence. The hunt continues until the baud rate of the line matches the speed of the user's terminal.

The flag fields shown have the following meanings:


The baud rate of the line. Note that not all systems support rates greater than 38,400. Refer to your Owner's Guide to find the maximum supported baud rate for your system.


Hang up on close.


A composite flag that stands for a set of normal line characteristics.


Allow any character to restart output. If this flag is not specified, only DC1 Ctrl-Q restarts output.


Send tabs to the terminal as spaces.

For a description of all getty flags, see termio(7) .

Creating and Testing Line Settings

Create new entries for the gettydefs file by following the example shown in “Checking Line Settings Using IRIX Shell Commands”. Each entry in the file is followed by a blank line. After editing the file, run the command

/etc/getty -c /etc/gettydefs 

This causes getty to scan the file and print the results on your terminal. Any unrecognized modes or improperly constructed entries are reported.

Modifying Line Characteristics

You can modify TTY line characteristics using an IRIX editor, such as vi, to edit /etc/inittab.

The /etc/inittab file contains configuration instructions for the /etc/init command. The general format of a line entry in the /etc/inittab file is as follows:


The four colon-separated fields are as follows:


A unique one- or two-character identifier for the line entry.


The run-level(s) in which the entry is to be performed.


How /etc/init treats the process field (refer to the inittab(4) reference page for complete information).


The shell command to be executed.

/etc/inittab contains several entries that spawn getty processes. The following example is a selection of such entries from a sample /etc/inittab:

t1:23:respawn:/etc/getty -s console ttyd1 co_9600 
t2:23:respawn:/etc/getty ttyd2 co_9600 

There are at least three things you might want to do to an inittab entry for a TTY line:

  • Change the action. Two actions that apply to TTY lines are respawn and off (see the inittab(4) reference page for complete information on this field).

  • Add or change arguments to /etc/getty in the process field. A frequently used argument is -tnn. This tells getty to hang up if nothing is received within nn seconds. It is good practice to use the -t argument on dialup lines.

  • Add or change comments. Comments begin after a pound sign and continue to the end of the line.

Defining the Serial Interface

Consult your system Owner's Guide for complete information on your system's serial ports. There are two types of serial interface equipment available: Data Terminal Equipment (DTE) and Data Communications Equipment (DCE). The primary difference between DTE and DCE is the use of several pins on the connector. For example, DTE devices output on pin 2 and input on pin 3. DCE devices output on pin 3 and input on pin 2. You can connect a DTE interface directly to a DCE interface.

To connect either a DCE to a DCE or a DTE to a DTE, use a null modem cable. A null modem cable allows equipment interfaces of the same type to be connected by swapping the appropriate input and output pins.

Silicon Graphics provides three special files that determine the signals that are used on each port. The special files beginning with ttyd are used for devices such as terminals; ttymX files are used for modems that do not use hardware flow control; and ttyfX files are used for devices that can use hardware flow control on the RTS and CTS pins.