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 '17 at 12:19

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 '17 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 '17 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 – toppledwagon Sep 3 '11 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 '09 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 '09 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 '17 at 14:01

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