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serial console unplugged, boot hangs, help !

I'm building a box for co-location at an ISP, I want to set it up with a serial console so there is no need to stuff a keyboard in the rack and no reboot required to recognise a just-connected keyboard.

I've trawled through the misc archive and done the stuff with option COMCONSOLE, /etc/boot.conf, and /etc/ttys. The machine boots OK and apart from a few lines:

Using Drive: 0 Partition: 3
reading boot...
probing: pc0 com0 apm mem[636K 61M a20=on]
disk: fd0 hd0
OpenBSD/i386 BOOT 1.23
switching console to com0

nothing else happens on the VGA screen. Great, ...but... I checked what happens if the terminal (minicom on Linux in my case) is unplugged at boot time, and the boot process *hangs* !! When I plug in the console, it all starts happenning immediately - as if the boot program is waiting on some characters or response back from the terminal.

Any ideas ? Any solutions ? Else I'll have to go back to keyboard + mouse + VGA and I'd rather not...

P.S. this is 2.6, patches 001 - 020 applied.

Richard Bignell