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Date:      Mon, 24 Jun 2013 14:10:05 -0300
From:      Andrew Hamilton-Wright <>
Cc:        Polytropon <>
Subject:   Re: Boot hangs in single-user mode
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <>

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I have tracked down the issue.  Not sure whether this is a PR issue or =

On 2013-06-06, at 11:18 AM, Polytropon wrote:

> On Thu, 6 Jun 2013 10:24:52 -0300, Andrew Hamilton-Wright wrote:
>> Strangely, it seems that I cannot boot single user, either
>> using "boot -s" from the boot loader, or using the boot menu.=20
>> When I get to the point where the root filesystem is mounted,
>> it hangs right after printing the message:
>> Trying to mount root from ufs:/dev/ada0s1a
> Have you tried hitting the RETURN key several times?=20

   [ ... ]

> It's important to identify if the system is _really_ hanging,
> or if the message "just isn't visible"...

This is indeed the crux of the issue.  While hammering on the RETURN key =
did not produce a prompt, it turns out that there was a prompt...

At some time in the relatively distant past, I had configured this =
machine to allow display to a serial console (long since disconnected) =
by adding these lines to /boot/loader.conf=20


My notes say "These came from the serial console setup page, and do work =
for vt100", however I did not note exactly which man page they came =
from, unfortunately.  I do not see these lines on syscons(4), sio(4) or =

Similar lines are mentioned in the handbook regarding setting up a =
serial console (there is no mention of single-user mode here):

The issue, as it relates to single-user mode, is essentially this:  if =
the system is configured to boot with multi-console options, then when =
the single user prompt is printed, it is only printed on the "second" =
console (which is also the only valid source of keyboard input) -- in =
this case, the configured but unattached serial port.

I'm not sure what the best strategy is here.  Having only one console =
that is accepting input for the single-user shell certainly makes sense. =
 The question is, which of potentially several consoles should it be?

IMO, it would be better/clearer if (for i386/amd64 anyway) the console =
was the one associated with the motherboard-based keyboard and video =
card.  An argument here would be that the [CTRL]-[ALT]-[DEL] sequence is =
still valid when associated with this keyboard, so it does seem odd that =
other input on that device is ignored.

I can see arguments for other setups, also, mostly revolving around the =
"why would you _have_ another console configured if you didn't need it, =
so the configured console must therefore be the important one" -- though =
the FreeBSD user base is certainly willing enough to experiment that I =
am sure I am not the only person who set up multi-console for a "fun" =

Perhaps the best strategy would be to add a message printed on all =
consoles (as the rest of the boot information is) just before the prompt =
is printed (singly) to let people know that this is happening?  I'm not =
sure if a way to 100% predict the desired console is possible.

Thoughts?  If figure I will put a PR in, so that at least this is =
tracked, even if we don't change anything.  I will reference this thread =
in the PR, but if anyone has input as to what to suggest, I would =
appreciate it.  At the very least, the handbook should get updated to =
indicate that this may happen.


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