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Conserver

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Conserver

What is Conserver?

Conserver is a program that simplifies access to system consoles. It operates on a client/server model. The conserver daemon nails up connections to the terminal server and then you connect to consoles via the server with a client called "console". Among its features are logging - output on the serial console is logged to a file on the conserver server; authentication and access controls - you can require authentication and restrict access to particular groups or users; multi-user access - one user can be in "control" of a console while others shadow the session and take control when they want; simplified breaks - you can bind breaks to a key sequence so you don't have to remember the particular break incantation for the device you're on. The best part is that you no longer need to know the terminal server and port a host is on. That information is part of conserver's configuration; you only need to know the hostname of the console you want to connect to.

conserver supports multiple servers. One server is designated the master and the rest are just regular servers. The master redirects client connections to the appropriate conserver server.

Using Conserver

  • Attach to console named foo
$ console foo
  • Disconnect from console - (that's control e + c + period)
^ec.
  • Show all consoles and status
$ console -u
  • Steal console if someone else is already on it (their session goes readonly)
^ecf
  • Display console client help
^ec?
By default the console client connects to a server named "console". If "console" can't be found in your search order you'll need to specify the server. Run console with the -M flag to specify the conserver hostname e.g.
$ console -M console.garretthoneycutt.com

Modifying the config

The conserver config is /etc/conserver.cf

Logs

conserverd logs each console's output to /var/log/conserver/hostname.log. The main conserver log is /var/log/conserver/conserver.log.

Client configuration

There are client packages available for Ubuntu and Fedora. If you install the Ubuntu or Fedora package ensure the client conf /etc/conserver/console.conf looks like this:

# default config for console  
config * {    
 sslenabled yes;  
}
For Gentoo I put the following in ~/.consolerc:
config * {
  master console.garretthoneycutt.com;
  sslenabled yes;
  port 782;
}