By Jeffrey Miller, Software Engineer
Neverware is continually working to add CloudReady product support for various types of older hardware. We end up testing and supporting quite a large range of machines with various levels of basic support. Debugging and dealing with incompatibilities requires a certain level of basic accessibility to the machine. Ideally machines are accessible over the network via SSH or in a console running in the Chrome browser. Occasionally graphic compatibility issues early in boot prevent access by these methods.
Serial consoles can be useful in these cases. However, our targets are usually laptops without serial ports. Here USB-to-serial adapters can be very useful. The Linux kernel provides the ability to use USB-to-serial adapters for consoles. With excitement I can attach my trusty FTDI USB to RS232 adapter to any one of these broken machines, make a few CloudReady configuration adjustments, and have convenient access to an otherwise inaccessible machine. I can debug the graphics issues from the comfort of my serial terminal emulation program on my development machine. Now the broken device can be pushed one step closer to a supported model!
So, when you are debugging a ChromiumOS graphics issue keeping your UI from starting try using a USB-to-serial console. May it excite you as much as it excites me.