I'm starting to play with Internet of Things type development boards (originally Arduino, now ESP8266, RaspPi and CHIP). And one thing I'm struggling with is connecting to them from a Linux machine.

Arduino: I use the basic Arduino environment to send characters backwards and forwards.

ESP: I've used some custom script too.

Today I'm trying to connect to my new CHIP, following these instructions, which basically say "here's how to do it in Mac, in Windows use PuTTY ... in Linux I'm sure you'll figure it out."

But actually it's not so obvious.

  • I've tried using Minicom which seems to connect but shows me nothing.
  • I've tried using Cutecom, which lets me log in and navigate around the file-system of the connected CHIP, but the moment I try to do something like use an editor or even less, ie. things that I suppose send some kind of control codes for the screen or use the curses library etc. the Cutecom window is full of unreadable cruft.

I understand why connecting to other devices over USB-serial perhaps requires some low-level control (to get the right baud rates etc.), but surely there's some program in Linux that can communicate with these devices AND knows how to handle the screen / UI interactions at a higher level of abstraction than just pumping out raw characters. The equivalent of what we get with Telnet but talking to a device connected over USB-serial.

If so, what is it?

  • try minicom again, but turn off all flow control. It may have been waiting for CTS before sending any output. Putty seems to default to XON/XOFF flow control, so you could try that next
    – infixed
    Aug 8, 2016 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


Telnet only works on IP connected devices over a network, not for devices that present as a serial port. For that you need putty or, cu or tip or kermit, gtkterm or similar.Since you are comfortable with putty you can use the same in Linux also. Putty is available for many Linux distributions. Other good option is gtkterm. It is a nice gui, you will love it.

  • No. I'm not necessarily comfortable with PuTTY. That's just the solution the instructions give for Windows. I don't know if it works or not. I'd love to use telnet. But how do I point it at a USB-connected device? I tried telnet /dev/ttyACM0 but that doesn't seem to work.
    – interstar
    Aug 8, 2016 at 18:58
  • 3
    You can't. telnet only works on IP connected devices over a network, not for devices that present as a serial port. For that you need putty or cu or tip or kermit or similar. Aug 8, 2016 at 19:03
  • Actually, both putty and 'gtkterm' works. In Linux i personally prefer gtkterm. Which Linux distribution you are using? Aug 8, 2016 at 19:08
  • OK. Putty does seem to work. As does cu. @Nithin ... thanks. If you change your answer to remove the reference to being able to use telnet then I'll accept it.
    – interstar
    Aug 8, 2016 at 19:19
  • Thanks nithin and @stephen harris. PuTTy and cu both seem to work. Cu is closer to what I'm looking for really, as I don't really need a new window etc.
    – interstar
    Aug 8, 2016 at 19:55

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