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Text-Terminals on Linux

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20.3 Non-Linux OSs

Under Microsoft's DOS one may use the DOS command "ctty COM2" so that the DOS command line will display on a serial terminal (on COM2 in this example). Unfortunately one can then no longer use the computer monitor since MS DOS is not a multiuser operating system. Nor can more than one terminal be used. So this capability is of little (if any) benefit. If you emulate DOS under Linux with the free dosemu, it's reported that you can run several terminals (multiuser). But it's reported that PCTerm emulation doesn't work with it (yet ??).

While MS didn't create a "multiuser DOS" OS, others did. This permits the use of many terminals on one DOS PC. It's compatible with most MS-DOS software. One multiuser DOS OS is named "REAL/32". The terminal's "pcterm" emulation is used here. There also may be a "scan" (scancodes) setup mode which needs to be set. Other OSs such as PICK, PC-MOS, and Concurrent DOS were/are multiuser and support terminals.

There are 3 programs for Linux which let you run Windows applications on a Linux PC: free: Wine, non-free: VMware and NeTraverse. Can they use text-terminals under DOS? Wine can't since it doesn't have a DOS mode. The other two require you to run the MS Windows OS software as a "guest OS". The guest MS Windows OS has a DOS mode but it's not of much use for text-terminals since it's not multiuser.

For other unix-like OSs, the configuration of the host computer for terminals is usually significantly different than for Linux. Here are some links to on-line manuals for unix-like systems.

  • SCO's OpenServer Adding Serial Terminals in SCO OpenServer Handbook.
  • Hewlett-Packard's HP-UX "Configuring Terminals and Modems" (Url to it is dead.)


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