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Minicom is a menu driven communications program. It emulates ANSI and VT102 terminals. It has a dialing directory and auto zmodem download. It is included with almost all Linux distributions, so it should be readily available.

Minicom Project Page

A very common use of Minicom during embedded Linux development, is to communicate from the host machine to the kernel console, on the target's serial port.

See serial console for information on configuring the kernel for serial console support.


line wrapping

By default, minicom will not wrap longs lines of text, which causes them to run off the edge of your terminal screen. To avoid this, use the '-w' command line option. See 'man minicom' for more information.

location of configuration files

The configuration files for minicom are located in /etc, with a name prefix of 'minirc.'. You can have several minicom configuration files, for different serial hardware on your machine. This is handy if you have different targets connected to your host and need to refer to different serial connections by name. Each config can have the port and settings for the different connections, and you can refer to them by name.

For example, if you have an arm development board and a mips development board, and one is connected to the first serial port (UART) of the host, and the other is connected to the host via a USB/serial converter, then you can have different minicom config files to use them. For example, you can have /etc/minirc.arm which has the settings for the ARM serial connection, and /etc/minirc.mips which has the settings for the serial connection to the mips board. To access these, you would use 'minicom arm' or 'minicom mips' at the command line, respectively.

turning off modem initialization strings

Besides serial port settings (the most common being 115200,N,8,1), it is often necessary to turn off the modem initialization strings for minicom. By default, minicom is intended to create a serial connection over a modem. But when using minicom with a kernel serial console, if modem initialization strings are used, this may confuse the kernel console initialization routines. (Which can result in gibberish being output on the serial line). To disable the modem initialization strings, set the variables 'minit', 'mreset', and 'mhangup' to be emtpy. You can do this with the following lines in a minicom config file:

pu minit
pu mreset
pu mhangup