Emergency console access

Sometimes you may want to access the node console to perform troubleshooting steps or emergency maintenance. For instance, you may want to access the emergency shell on the console, in order to debug first boot provisioning issues.

Default console setup

All Fedora CoreOS (FCOS) images come with a default configuration for the console which is meant to accommodate most virtualized and bare-metal setups.

However, it may not always match your specific hardware configuration. In that case, you can tweak the console setup by adjusting kernel parameters.

You can specify multiple console= options on the kernel command line. Kernel messages will appear on all of them, however only the last-specified device will be used as the foreground interactive console (i.e. /dev/console) for the machine.

By default these console parameters are provided, in order:

  • console=tty0 for VGA.

  • console=ttyS0,115200n8 for serial console

The last entry (serial console) is thus used as the interactive console for the machine.

You can remove either console entries in order to match your machine setup, or even remove both and rely on kernel auto-detection (which however may not work for all cases).

Temporarily tweaking console setup

In order to temporarily change console configuration, it is enough to change kernel arguments in the bootloader for a single boot.

When the GRUB menu shows up initially, press 'e' to edit the current boot entry. Adjust the console parameters from the kernel line as described above, then press 'Ctrl-x' to resume booting.

Configuring console during installation

If you are installing FCOS via coreos-installer on a machine which requires custom console configuration, you can permanently configure that directly at install time.

sudo podman run --pull=always --privileged --rm \
    -v /dev:/dev -v /run/udev:/run/udev -v .:/data -w /data \
    quay.io/coreos/coreos-installer:release \
    install /dev/vdb -i config.ign \
    --delete-karg 'console=ttyS0,115200n8'

In the example above, the trailing --delete-karg 'console=ttyS0,115200n8' will remove the serial console entry from the boot parameters of the installed system.

Configuring console after installation

If you have an existing FCOS node with a mismatched console configuration, you can permanently adjust that via rpm-ostree.

sudo rpm-ostree kargs --delete 'console=ttyS0,115200n8' --reboot

In the example above, rpm-ostree will create a new deployment without the serial console entry, and the machine will reboot into it.