How to configure a USB attached serial port on Linux

Recently I came out of the 1990’s, and moved to an IBM laptop that does not have a serial port… Gasp!

Of course, this is not a big deal to alot of people, but I’m a server guy.  I do terminal sessions to Sun/Solaris servers and Cisco routers and such;  I really can’t live without a serial port.  So I basically had 2 options:

  1. Go back to my old latop (nope, no way, nahgahdah)
  2. Get a USB attached serial port

…so after reading a ton of reviews at, I finally settled on the CABLES UNLIMITED USB-2920 USB 2.0 to Serial DB9 Adapter.  At the time I bought it, it was on sale and had a shipping special.  But at the time of this writing it is $16.99.  …Still not bad, really.

First, Windows

As it happens, when I first bought it, I connected it to my laptop, and I fired up a Windows XP guest in VMWare Server 2 on my Opensuse 11.2, and “virtually” connected the USB to the XP guest (can’t do *that* in ESX… nyah, nyah).  The driver installation in Windows was a little weird,  since the driver installation was a little language-challenged…  But if you know what you’re doing, you can get it done.  Once it was all set up in Windows, it was easy to use in Hyper Terminal and Putty, and it really worked perfectly.

Then, Linux

A few days later, I needed to do a serial connection again.  This time I didn’t feel like firing up my VM guest, so decided to stop playing around, and configure it natively in Linux for use in minicom.  Here’s where it gets good…  It is sooooo easy to setup in Opensuse, and I hope/assume it is nearly as easy in other distros, though I’ve not tested it.  Here’s basically what I did:

Step 1:  Plug into adapter into USB port

Step 2:  Launch minicom -s (to enter configuration)

Step 3:  Configure the port as /dev/ttyUSB0  (that’s a zero, though it could be a 1 on yours if you have multiple), and save as “dfl” (default)

Step 4:  Enjoy!

I hope this helps…


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