There are five major steps to configuring a serial console.
Optionally, the BIOS may be configured to use the serial port.
If needed, the boot loader may be configured to use the serial port.
The Linux kernel must be configured to use the serial port as its console. This is done by passing the kernel the console parameter when the kernel is started by the boot loader.
The init system should keep a process running to monitor the serial console for logins. The monitoring process is traditionally called getty.
A number of system utilities need to be configured to make them aware of the console, or configured to prevent them from disrupting the console.
Examples in this HOWTO are from Red Hat Linux versions 7.1 through to 7.3 (released 2001 through to 2002). The maintainer would appreciate updates when new versions of Red Hat Linux appear. The maintainer would very much appreciate examples for Linux distributions that are dissimilar to Red Hat Linux; particularly Debian GNU/Linux and Slackware Linux. All contributors are acknowledged in Section G.3.