From an email I once sent...
Conserver is an application that allows multiple users
to watch a serial console at the same time. It can log
the data, allows users to take write-access of a console
(one at a time), and has a variety of bells and whistles
to accentuate that basic functionality. The idea is that
conserver will log all your serial traffic so you can go
back and review why something crashed, look at changes
(if done on the console), or tie the console logs into a
monitoring system (just watch the logfiles it creates).
With multi-user capabilities you can work on equipment
with others, mentor, train, etc. It also does all that
client-server stuff so that, assuming you have a network
connection, you can interact with any of the equipment
from home or wherever.
Here's the conserver FAQ. Got any
additions? Let me know.
There are currently two mailing lists available. email@example.com
is an announcement-only mailing list for informing of new
versions, major developments, etc. firstname.lastname@example.org is
for general Q&A, discussions, ideas, etc. for
conserver users. You can sign up by sending a message to
with a subject of "subscribe" or head over to the online
The console server software found here is a heavily
modified version originally written by Tom Fine (email@example.com)
at Ohio State and then Kevin S Braunsdorf (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Patches from Robert Olson (email@example.com) were
then applied to get network console support.
Arnold de Leon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
then fixed various bugs and added enhancements while at
Synopsys. I then
took the result, continued fixing things, and added
features we found useful.
Networking and Computing - currently Certainty
Solutions) has been supporting my coding efforts (in
too many ways to list) since 1996.
The conserver.com Distribution
The result is a combination of many people's work.
This version is being released in hopes that it will help
others. There is no warranty or support implied by the
distribution of the software.
So, what the heck is up with all the different
conserver versions? Well, the original authors are
continuing to distribute their own threads of the
software so you have three main threads (as far as I
know). First, there's Tom Fine's thread at
He isn't actively developing it, however, according to
the website. Next, there's Kevin Braunsdorf's version at
Kevin is semi-actively working on his thread. Doesn't
look like any new versions have been out since August
2000 (version 8.5), but maybe this info will be out of
date by the time you read this. Lastly, the conserver.com
version is based on Kevin's "5.21-Beta" distribution, but
since HEAVILY modified and enhanced (more details
in the "Origin" section above).
If I were looking for a conserver package I would
either use Kevin's latest distribution or the
conserver.com distribution. Which one? Well, obviously
I'm biased and believe the conserver.com distribution
should be your choice, but Kevin's does have UPS (serial
port line toggling bits) that the conserver.com version
doesn't have. What does the conserver.com distribution
have? Well, in reality, too many things to list. You'll
have to look at the CHANGES file and
see the enhancements, bug fixes, and general development
since the original. Don't let the version numbers fool
you - you'll have to compare and contrast for
The current version, released on Jun 05, 2002, is 7.2.2.tar.gz.
You can get it via FTP
or HTTP. See the
file for information on the latest updates.
As of version 6.1.7, the packaging and numbering
scheme has changed. I used to package conserver as
conserver-GNAC-v.vv. Since GNAC (now Certainty
Solutions) has changed its name I've decided to drop
the GNAC portion and use a three-digit version number
(conserver-v.v.v). Why change the version numbering? I
need to differentiate this thread of the code from the
original authors' and I couldn't come up with a good
replacement for the GNAC name - sad, but true.
Check the INSTALL file for
I always like to hear from people who use conserver -
it's exciting to see how many people all over the world
are using the package. If you'd like to give me a real
thrill, send me a postcard of your site, town, or area!
Even if you're right around the corner, it would be a
blast to hear from you.
P.O. Box 984
Redwood City, CA 94064-0984
Here's a list of systems that I've been told can
successfully compile conserver. If anyone has more to add
to this list, please let me know.
- Solaris 2.5.1 thru 8 (sparc/x86), gcc
- BSDI BSD/OS 3.X, gcc
- MacOS X
- Linux 2.2.18 (x86), gcc
- Linux 2.4.2 (x86), gcc
- FreeBSD 4.2 (x86), gcc
- cygwin (w2k),gcc 2.95.3
- DEC Tru64 4.0, gcc
- DEC Tru64 4.0/5.1, DEC cc
- HP-UX 10.20, gcc
- AIX 4.3.3, AIX cc
Other Good Information
Zonker Harris has fabulous documents regarding the
hookup of consoles to terminal servers and other such
devices. His Greater Scroll of
Console Knowledge is a great place to start.
Bryan Stansell (email@example.com)