It’s now possible to install openSUSE if you only have a serial line (without additional tricks). Our graphical bootloader frontend used to ignore serial input. That’s now (starting with 11.1 beta1) changed.
In the default setting it monitors com1/com2 (the first two bios configured serial ports) for input. Baud rate is autodetected (you have to press a few keys until it catches on). Output is sent to all lines it receives input from.
When it works, the first screen looks like:
openSUSE 11.1 installation
=== Main Menu ===
Select a boot entry.
1) * Boot from Hard Disk
3) Repair Installed System
4) Rescue System
5) Check Installation Media
6) Firmware Test
7) Memory Test
If two lines are not enough: it can work with up to four serial lines. You’ll just have to adjust these lines in gfxboot.cfg:
; serial line setup (up to four lines)
; format: port,baud,dev
; - port: 0-3: first four BIOS serial lines (COM1-COM4); >=4: I/O port (0x3f8)
; - baud: baud rate (e.g. 115200); 0 = autodetect (considers baud rates >= 9600)
; - dev: linux device name (e.g. ttyS0)
; - all lines are set up with 8 bits, no parity, 1 stop bit
; - if the bootloader also has a serial line setup, the port is
; automatically used
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