tirsdag den 16. september 2008

Debian on NSLU2 - Part 1

I started this blog with the great Unslung distribution in mind. After some months I suddenly felt over this article and pondered over a particular phrase:

"Unslung will settle
into its role as a NAS+ distribution, and
future developments with Unslung will be focused on the "+" part, with an emphasis on making the add-ons simple and and easy."

So will "NAS+" be enough for me? My slug blood thirst immediately answered the question and I heard a long forgotten voice wispering: "Deebiiiaaan.. "

A little worried and quite frightened over my schizophrenia kind a symptoms I started google, for answers. To be honest the past Spindown issues was the main reason why NAS+ wasn't enough for me. So I hoped a full fledge Linux ARM Device would solve my poor harddrives dizziness.

So this multi-part article series will help you leave unslung in favor of Debian. And please don't fear the transition, its pretty simple as long as you stay focused!

"Why Debian? Unslung works fine!!"

Of course, if you're happy with how it works now, you shouldn't bother to change... I love Unslung! But I if you're ready to play more with your slug and gain pretty solid improvements over unslung, dont stop reading!

To name a few - Debian fixes:
  • The torrent problem. It now works with rtorrent and torrentflux(web client)! Don't even think about buying this one instead.
  • Spindown frustrations solved (sry harddrive industry, but you harddrive sales will not live up to your expectations this year ;)
  • USB-Hub -> Add more storage.
  • More packages (+17000)
^^ Those four have been the greatest advantages in my opinion. Unfortunately your slug will not gain greater file transfer speeds or anything in that direction. But you'll have more options and wider possibilities. Enough Talk! Lets look at the installation process.

Install Debian
"Oh jeez... damn.. I will never make it to the finish line" you might think, but please kick that thought far away! Debian is pretty much like installing Unslung(with more decisions to make though)! You can easily install debian even though you have unslung installed now!

When debian launches for the first time you will need new commands etc. but hey, why do you think this blog exits? To guide you through all that! :)

The initial install preparation is like dealing with Unslung. First tap your slug into upgrade mode, then you load up your upgrade utility (WinXP) and upgrade the slug with your debain.bin file. I used the latest beta file(Debian-armel-5.0beta2) (19/9/08) (please note the installation process is longer that the current stable release! Especially the package named "selinux-policy-default". You will notice a lot of swapping because of the low memory ressources(32mb). But don't panic! :)

Next you go over to the official Debian on NSLU2 install guide and start reading from "After you have flashed the debian-installer image, ..." theres no need to invent the wheel twice and the guide over there really follow you through the install process.. no hassle, I promise!

When you're finally done with the installation and your slug has restarted, your terminal will look like this:

So my goal is to give you all what Cherokee Web Server Install part 1, 2 and 3 gave you on the unslung system. But we dont stop here! When you are done you will have a proper SpinDown + a little torrent machine aswell! yum yum!

While I'm writing my next Debian article you can have fun learning basic Linux commands and reading about Debian:

Basic linux Commands
Nslu2-linux debian page

Have fun!

New debian release, see the debian part 3.

12 kommentarer:

Anonym sagde ...

Talking about the spindown frustrations finally solved on Debian/NSLU2: How exactly can I achieve to get my harddrives to spin down correctly? Unfortunately, you do not mention this :-(

Viktor K. sagde ...


You are right! been a little inactive the past month, my bad!

I just posted part 2 which partially anwers ur question.

Best regards,
Viktor k.

Anonym sagde ...

I am currently using unslung but due to ntfs problems with rtorrent and spindown issue I want to install debian. But the thing I wonder is when I want to reinstall unslung I simply flash it from redboot then install the packages vs. How the things work in debian if I want to return back to unslung or I want to reinstall debian what should I do. I am little bit afraid of bricking this very useful toy.

Viktor K. sagde ...

oh its pretty simple, you simply set your slug in upgrade mode and use the update-tool to reflash your slug..

Anonym sagde ...

Is that possible to use rtorrent with ntfs by using debian. It would be great dough if you prepare another guide about installing rtorrent for debian.

vikezz sagde ...


I think its possible to use NTFS. You can read about it here:


You can check rtorrent out here:

To install you simply type in:
apt-get install rtorrent

If you have any questions just ask.

Best regards,
Viktor K.

Anonym sagde ...

I tried to use rtorrent with unslung but It needed NTFS 3G drivers otherwise rtorrent gives error while writing on ntfs. That is why I asked if it is working on debian. Anyway I will let you know whenever I try it. Thank you

Viktor K sagde ...

Allright champ, sounds great! :)

Anonym sagde ...

You're not kidding about how long selinux-policy-default takes. I'm sure it's been over 2 hours and counting. As you indicate, I will be patient. I have it at 266 MHz.

Anonym sagde ...

Ok, I'm starting to lose patients. Is it possible it's in a loop or just swapping like mad. I'm sure it's been 4 hours or so. Sure, I have a 40GB laptop 3.5" drive on the USB2 port as my main system. I assume it used EXT2 as the system. So why so long? Certainly more than the 15minutes I've seen descibed elsewhere. Any suggestion is appreciated. What would happen if I just interrupted this process and what's best way to do that ?

Anonym sagde ...

Ok, finally. The patience paid off. I'm at 87% - configuring nfs-kernel-server. Still, not sure why this install is this slow from what I've read out there.

vikezz sagde ...

Hi mate, sry for the longtimenosee answer :)

did u succeed installing debian ? .. it take like 4 hours for it to complete..

thats REaaaally insane.. hehe.. but guess there are no way for it to go faster..