VirtualBox, Gentoo and serial consoles

More as a reminder to myself for when I need this again, but I’m sure everyone needs this at least once.

Having screwed up my kernel configs for my VirtualBox Gentoo image, I needed a serial console to catch the boot messages scrolling past in order to see if all the required hardware was being loaded by the kernel. I’ve never done this on a physical machine before but I am converted now and will acquire a USB to serial port converter in the near future…

Using this article as a base you need to do the following:

  1. Enable serial ports for your virtual machine
  2. Select “Host Pipe”
  3. Enter /tmp/vboxconsole as the filename
  4. Use netcat to read the console: nc -U /tmp/vboxconsole

When booting you need to amend your grub boot line to have the following at the end:


Making it look something like this:

kernel=/kernel-2.6.30-r6 root=/dev/sda3 console=ttyS0,38400

Proceed to boot and look at netcat to see the entire boot output scroll past without disappearing into thin air when the kernel panics.

Man, I love virtualization. I tested this on Mac OS X 10.5 with VirtualBox 3.0.6, but it should work on any *nix platform. Some more Gentoo serial console madness can be found on the old Gentoo Wiki.

Welcome to the Open Sourcery Archives. These are my older blog posts, from days gone by. I'm keeping them up as part of the historical record. That, and I'm strangely sentimental about them. Please keep in mind that things most certainly have changed since these articles were written, links to external sites might be broken, and general thinking might have changed.

Regardless of all this, I hope you enjoy your stay!

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