I have followed this guide:


And I installed the closed-source Prolific driver (the open source one and the FTDI ones always gave out a AppleUSBCDC error and didn't work both, I suspect it's because this Mac Mini is 64bit?). So now I have both tty.usbserial and cu.usbserial on /dev.

I also tried the .plist file mentioning getty, and getty is running but I can't get the terminal to talk to it. Even echoing something to /dev/tty.usbserial does not make it show up on the terminal.

Maybe it's because the 19200 entry on /etc/gettytab has "g|" behing it? Excerpt:


Here is the .plist file I was using:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">

I also tried using 'cu.usbserial' - still no go. Also, I'm not sure if I need to set some setting on the VT100 to make it work, but I assume it's pretty much plug-n-play. Right? :) If the VT100 does not work at all with USB/serial converters, then I guess there's no point but I don't believe so. The terminal in question is this one:


Thanks for any help, really wanted to see the dinosaur kicking again!

  • 1
    I love those things. Spent hours typing in Pascal on them in college.
    – Alan B
    Apr 2 '12 at 14:13
  • Me too. I actually used a different kind of terminal to access a VAX back in the day, but they're really great pieces of hardware. Wish I could make this one work again Apr 3 '12 at 8:03
  • This was accessing a VAX 11/780, and DEC Pascal. These and VT52 terminals. I'd spend 30 minutes banging in code (and with the cast iron, sprung keyboards on those things you really got a workout) and then 15 minutes waiting for it to compile. Tell that to kids these days etc etc ...
    – Alan B
    Apr 3 '12 at 8:19
  • my Pascal days were spent on 386s and 486s with Turbo Pascal. That was fun :) Apr 3 '12 at 9:24

I got this to work with a Plugable adapter (Prolific PL2303HX chipset), but I had to use /dev/cu.usbserial instead of /dev/tty.usbserial.

It was helpful to use screen to test the connection -- it allowed me to figured out that my cable was wrong. I used the DB9-DB25 connection from here:

Text-Terminal-HOWTO / Physical Connection

Remember that you cannot run getty from the command line in recent versions of OSX -- it has to be started by launchd. You have to use a plist file as outlined here, and use launchctl to load and start it.


I had a lot of the same problems trying to get a VT220 to work with my Mac. The thing that eventually solved my problem was using a Tripp Lite Keyspan USB to Serial adapter. Here's a link to the Tripp Lite adapter and the drivers. http://www.tripplite.com/high-speed-usb-to-serial-adapter-keyspan~USA19HS/

Previously I had tried two different USB to Serial adapters, one that used the Prolific drivers, and they didn't work.

Make sure to check your cables too. I purchased a null modem cable that turned out to be wired incorrectly or damaged. You can do that with a multimeter. You might have to search for a different pin-out if you're using a DB9 -> DB25 or something like that.

Here's a breakdown of what I did and what worked if you're curious: https://gist.github.com/albertfilice/0f12dc87f8d1ec02ef14


on your plist file, on the second stringparameter, just have the letter g. this matches the entry in your gettytab file. as i understand it, the first letter, followed by the bar, is the entry name.

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