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HP-UX 11i Version 3: February 2007

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gettydefs — speed and terminal settings used by getty


The /etc/gettydefs file contains information used by getty to set up the speed and terminal settings for a line (see getty(1M)). It supplies information on what the login prompt should look like. It also supplies the speed to try next if the user indicates the current speed is not correct by typing a Break character.

Each entry in /etc/gettydefs has the following format:

label# initial-flags # final-flags # login-prompt #next-label

Each entry is followed by a blank line. The various fields can contain quoted characters of the form \b, \n, \c, etc., as well as \nnn, where nnn is the octal value of the desired character. The various fields are:


This is the string against which getty tries to match its second argument. It is often the speed, such as 1200, at which the terminal is supposed to run, but it need not be (see below).


These flags are the initial ioctl() settings to which the terminal is to be set if a terminal type is not specified to getty (see ioctl(2)). The flags that getty understands are the same as the ones listed in /usr/include/sys/termio.h (see termio(7)). Normally only the speed flag is required in the initial-flags. getty automatically sets the terminal to raw input mode and takes care of most of the other flags. The initial-flag settings remain in effect until getty executes login.


These flags take the same values as the initial-flags and are set just before getty executes login. The speed flag is again required. The composite flag SANE takes care of most of the other flags that need to be set so that the processor and terminal are communicating in a rational fashion. The other two commonly specified final-flags are TAB3, so that tabs are sent to the terminal as spaces, and HUPCL, so that the line is hung up on the final close.


This entire field is printed as the login-prompt. Unlike the above fields where white space is ignored (a space, tab or new-line), they are included in the login-prompt field.


If this entry does not specify the desired speed, indicated by the user typing a Break character, getty searches for the entry with next-label as its label field and set up the terminal for those settings. Usually, a series of speeds are linked together in this fashion, into a closed set. For example, 2400 linked to 1200, which in turn is linked to 300, which finally is linked to 2400.

If getty is called without a second argument, the first entry of /etc/gettydefs is used, thus making the first entry of /etc/gettydefs the default entry. It is also used if getty cannot find the specified label. If /etc/gettydefs itself is missing, there is one entry built into the command which brings up a terminal at 300 baud.

It is strongly recommended that after making or modifying /etc/gettydefs, it be run through getty with the check option to ensure that there are no errors.


The following two lines show an example of 300/1200 baud toggle, which is useful for dial-up ports:

1200# B1200 HUPCL # B1200 SANE IXANY IXANY TAB3 #login: #300 300# B300 HUPCL # B300 SANE IXANY IXANY TAB3 #login: #1200

The following line shows a typical 9600 baud entry for a hard-wired connection:

9600# B9600 # B9600 SANE IXANY IXANY ECHOE TAB3 #login: #9600



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