I have connected a switch to a PC with a serial cable, and I want to manage it. What utility can I use to open a serial line and manage the switch through the console?

On Windows I used PuTTY (serial line COM1).

  • For the record, there is Putty on Linux too. At least on Debian since Wheezy (7).
    – MGP
    Mar 24, 2017 at 12:19

6 Answers 6


Minicom. Look here for some tutorial.

  • I'm using gpsfeed+, and set serial parameetrs to COM1 & 4800. I couldn't get data via 'minicom -c on'; It says 'cannot open /dev/ttyS0: No such file or directory'. minicom serial port setup as /dev/ttyS0, 4800 8N1. What's wrong?
    – Dr.jacky
    Mar 11, 2017 at 17:50
  • Does /dev/ttyS0 actually exist? If you're using a USB to serial adapter (which might be COM1 on Windows if you don't have a physical serial port), you'll probably have to use /dev/ttyUSB0 or something similar (exact name might depend on kernel and chipset of adapter).
    – Ale
    Mar 19, 2017 at 14:28

GNU Screen will do this as well. You just provide the argument of whatever device you are using, for example:

screen /dev/ttyUSB0
screen /dev/ttyS0

Like any other file, you will need read write privileges for the /dev/tty* devices. See the 'Window Types' section of man screen to see how to specify the baud rate etc, but screen can usually figure this out.

  • screen is the hassle free way Sep 3, 2011 at 2:40

I prefer picocom personally.

Minicom has too much ncurses bloat for my liking. It always takes me ages to get where I want.

Whereas with picocom you specify all of your options (baud/parity/stop) on the command line, no fuss.

  • You can easily set a minirc.dfl file in /etc/, a ~/.minirc.dfl or whatever, or you can have a script and call it via -s, so it can be automated to a degree.
    – Kurt
    Jun 11, 2009 at 7:46
  • I know, it's just far more complicated than it needs to be though. Especially when I find myself changing parity between different hosts.
    – Dan Carley
    Jun 11, 2009 at 11:31

We use Kermit with a simple configuration/script file that sets the options.


I use minicom. Relatively straightforward, and works like a charm.


I use CuteCom with a USB-to-serial device. You may have to start it with 'sudo ./cutecom' in order to have it access the ttyUSB of your computer.

  • 2
    Suggesting to use sudo to get around a permissions problem is a very bad idea. in general you never want to use sudo for something that does not actually need admin privileges (see also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_least_privilege). Users needing to access a serial port don't need them, simply put the user in the dialout group, change the udev rules for serial ports so another group is used for them, or temporarily adjust them with a sudo chmod 666 /dev/ttyS0 (but this is only a temporary fix and might allow other users to use the port when they're not supposed to)
    – Ale
    Mar 19, 2017 at 14:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.