• Home
  • Help
  • Search
  • Login
  • Register
  Show Posts
Pages: [1]
1  Linux Stuff / Linux distributions / Re: Distro opinions? on: October 12, 2009, 07:07:44 PM
Well, I did my homework over the weekend, and went with the excellent instructions by Martin Michlmayr for Debian Lenny:


I upgraded all four SheevaPlugs, and transferred my firewall and torrent functionality to this platform. All went without a hitch, and now I have dead easy images done with "dd" for any new projects I may need.
The reasoning was that support for Sheeva's underlying HW is pretty certain in the future with Debian, and Lenny seems to be robust and very small footprint: my boxes run on 2 GB SD with about 1 GB to spare, even with some swap thrown in.

And like with Debian on my SLUGs before, support for USB peripherals seems to work right out of the box. Had no probs with the USB-ethernet dongles, for example.

I'm pretty tied up for the next month or so, but after that, the "burn in" period should be over, and if all is well, I finally try to find time to write instructions at least on the shorewall-based firewall box. It now comes even with port knocking enabled...

2  Linux Stuff / Linux distributions / Distro opinions? on: October 04, 2009, 11:08:08 AM
OK, I've been rather busy lately (changed jobs, went once halfway around the world due to it, after which I was told to have some mandatory holidays...) In the mean time, my two SheevaPlugs have churned on happily, one as a shorewall-based firewall, another as a rtorrent node. Flawless operation 24/7, even though I have been gone 80% of the time.

Together with my EPIA always-on NFS server, this package has proved to be a robust one - even when the UPS runs out of juice here in my neck of woods and I am out of town, everything boots up perfectly after the power returns.  Logging in, only uptime shows that something happened.

Huge improvement over my earlier EPIA+SLUG-based universe.

Also, during my travels, the two new SheevaPlugs that I ordered have finally arrived. Now is their turn to get something useful running on them...

I took a look at the distro discussion, but it turned out rather inconclusive: cbxbiker61 continues to push out new releases, somebody mentioned SDHC-based Gentoo, and some ran USB-stick-based Debian. There was also a mention that Ubuntu 9.10 probably would not support the HW any more.

In my opinion, the most useful setup is as follows:

Some distro, any distro, with enough stuff installed to run IP tables, (preferably HW) IPsec, (HW) dm-crypt, USB-Ethernet devices, HIDs, etc. I'm extremely grateful for dxbiker61 for the earlier help on this front.

Boot from SD card: this makes it really easy to back up and clone systems, and leaves USB for more useful uses.

Some perceived OS continuity in the future for the underlying HW, so that there is no need to go back to square one every few months.

I understand that for Marvell, SheevaPlug is just a development platform and they do not probably see much value in either SD or USB boots, but for the rest of us, this device is THE device... At least for the time being  Grin

But they need to provide an OS anyway, and the comments on 9.10 were kind of alarming here.

Also the fact that most upgrades seem to come from outside of manufacturer's realm is a bit worrisome.

On the other hand, based on the extremely long delivery times, Sheevas seem to sell well.

So in this light, who thinks he has the best solution for a SD-bootable distro, with enough bells and whistles to go and HOWTOs around?
3  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: crypto accelaration on: July 19, 2009, 12:53:46 AM
I have used VIAs inbuilt crypto engine on EPIA mobos with 100% success for about six months now on several active servers.

I can try if the same procedure works with Plug. I just need some time to sort out other unfinished business first.
4  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Re: new release on: July 18, 2009, 09:48:04 AM
You may find this slashdot-referred piece interesting regarding

5  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Re: Another newbie stuck with USB ethernet adapters... on: July 16, 2009, 12:10:48 AM
OK, will do, just need some time for my physical relocation and some additional testing. And there's some real work to be done as well, I was on holiday during this tinkering...

Anyway, I have gained enough trust on Plug now to order three more  Wink

Hope the delivery times are still not counted in months.
6  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Re: Another newbie stuck with USB ethernet adapters... on: July 15, 2009, 10:13:49 AM
I went thru the configurations between my working Slug firewall and non-working Plug firewall, file by file, and found an error in my Plug configuration - the definitions for NATting between the ports in Plug version of shorewall were missing, and hence no packets were routed even when the new kernel was built to support it.

I was misled yesterday when even non-active shorewall config in Plug did not forward packets: looks like the default behaviour has changed at some point in recent years, as even Slug without active shorewall did not forward packets by default.

Anyway, I can now confirm that my Plug works as a two-interface firewall via an additional USB network interface when using release 3 of kernel by cbxbiker61.

eth0 goes to a gigabit switch in intranet using a fixed IP address and eth1 is connected to a DSL line using dhcp.

I have not yet checked traffic shaping, as it has been totally revamped between shorewall versions, and a simple copy of my old setup could not be used any more. Will try when I find some spare time for that, but for most home firewall cases, that is a low-priority feature.

There is a HUGE difference in startup times between Slug and Plug when running "shorewall restart": 60 secs vs 7 secs. First I thought that I had some grave omissions in my configuration, when restart was done that quickly...

Naturally this can not be explained only by faster CPU, as the shorewall versions are also different (the log output in the new version is much more brief than with the old one), but Plug certainly shows what five years in HW and SW development can do. I'm starting to like this new toy more and more every day...

I will fly back to my second home during next weekend, and install one Plug there as the primary firewall in order to see how it behaves in a 24/7 "always on" situation.  If there is interest, I could write instructions into Wiki on how to set up the shorewall firewall on Plug, AFTER I have seen that it works reliably (should be obvious by mid August or so). Even though the web documentation for shorewall is plentiful, excellent, and up to date, it certainly is a daunting task to build your configuration from scratch, if you have never done so before.

...and I even got the blue led blinking ok after succesful boot, thanks to the tips found elsewhere here Grin

Big thanks to everyone who has helped me so far.
7  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Re: Another newbie stuck with USB ethernet adapters... on: July 14, 2009, 12:59:28 PM
OK, I will go through all dynamic settings from ground up then.
8  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Re: Another newbie stuck with USB ethernet adapters... on: July 14, 2009, 12:39:11 PM
So you are saying that only the config and RELEASE files were wrong, as neither modules file nor uImage file were updated at the file repository, and you kept the version number as "3"?

I'm downloading from this location:


And only RELEASE and config are different from the previous set.

I did a full install with the new kernel (including uBoot install) and still can't get routing to go thru the Plug.

Plug itself can access web OK via eth1 and its routing table looks fine (default goes to eth1), so everything else looks ok.

I'll keep on looking in case I have missed something obvious.
9  Linux Stuff / Kernel / uBoot and booting from SD/USB? on: July 14, 2009, 02:08:27 AM
Newbie wishlist continues:

Has anyone got a system up that reliably boots from SD, having the whole FS on the SD only? Or USB?

Does uBoot support automatic recognition of bootable images on SD & USB prior to resorting to internal flash?

What steps are necessary to get a bootable format on SD or USB that works with Plug?

I've created numerous setups that boot and run from USB or CompactFlash on x86 machines and Slug, but looks like the boot setup on Plug is quite different.

Being able to have everything on removable media makes many maintenance issues much easier, as the memory can be plugged into other Linux machines, and any mistakes made can be fixed offline.

Again, I just started tinkering with this, so if this obvious, just give me a link and I go away...
10  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Re: Another newbie stuck with USB ethernet adapters... on: July 14, 2009, 01:54:45 AM
Thank you for the prompt turnaround, but no routing yet, unfortunately.

I think you forgot to set CONFIG_IP_ADVANCED_ROUTER. 

It is naturally possible that I made some mistake while building the shorewall config from scratch for this test, but based on the description behind this link, looks like that option should be set:


Also, even without shorewall active and IP forwarding set in /etc/sysctl.conf, no forwarding occurs.

Just an idea: Ubuntu for x86 seems to have everything enabled, at least I have never hit a snag with it while adding all sorts of peripherals and functionality to many servers utilizing it. Why not copy the config of that distribution, compile it, and see how much the kernel grows when "all options" are set?

Would be nice to have 1:1 feature set available on ARM.

PS: for bookkeeping purposes, might be worthwhile to update RELEASE file contents in the download area to match the release.
11  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Re: Another newbie stuck with USB ethernet adapters... on: July 13, 2009, 10:36:24 AM
One additional note: this page shows what features are needed in the kernel to support traffic shaping in shorewall: it is for 2.6.21 but should be at least a good starting point.

12  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Re: Another newbie stuck with USB ethernet adapters... on: July 13, 2009, 10:14:45 AM
OK, thanks again for the new kernel !

I can happily report that plugging in an USB-ethernet adapter makes eth1 accessible, and I was able to install my favourite "shorewall" firewall, and get incoming packet rules working (i.e. access, control and tracking of incoming port traffic).

The biggest issue was the shorewall config syntax that has changed between versions.

What still seems to be missing in the kernel is IP packet forwarding support, without which the box can not act as a router for intranet computers.

At least adding the usual "gotcha":


to /etc/sysctl.conf and running "sysctl -p" or reboot still does not allow packets originating from other computers to flow thru the Plug.

My guess is that this is controlled by CONFIG_IP_ADVANCED_ROUTER in the config file.

Just in case it is of any help for this or anything else, attached is "lsmod" output from the Slug that is currently running as my firewall router.

(a minor note: your directory file RELEASE still claims the release to be "1")

Module                  Size  Used by
ledtrig_heartbeat       3040  0
ipt_MASQUERADE          3488  1
ipt_LOG                 6624  16
xt_tcpudp               3232  37
xt_state                2304  13
act_police              6308  1
sch_ingress             3840  1
cls_u32                 9156  4
sch_sfq                 6400  3
sch_htb                17664  1
xt_pkttype              1888  4
iptable_raw             2080  0
xt_CLASSIFY             1856  0
xt_CONNMARK             2464  0
xt_MARK                 2432  0
ipt_REJECT              5600  4
xt_length               2016  0
xt_connmark             2048  0
ipt_owner               2048  0
ipt_recent             10096  0
ipt_iprange             1888  0
xt_physdev              3120  0
bridge                 59616  1 xt_physdev
xt_policy               3872  8
xt_multiport            3424  4
xt_conntrack            2912  0
iptable_mangle          2912  1
ip_nat_irc              2944  0
ip_nat_tftp             1952  0
ip_nat_ftp              3744  0
iptable_nat             7812  1
ip_nat                 18642  5 ipt_MASQUERADE,ip_nat_irc,ip_nat_tftp,ip_nat_ftp,iptable_nat
ip_conntrack_irc        7212  1 ip_nat_irc
ip_conntrack_tftp       4528  1 ip_nat_tftp
ip_conntrack_ftp        8368  1 ip_nat_ftp
ip_conntrack           56856  13 ipt_MASQUERADE,xt_state,xt_CONNMARK,xt_connmark,xt_conntrack,ip_nat_irc,ip_nat_tftp,ip_nat_ftp,iptable_nat,ip_nat,ip_conntrack_irc,ip_conntrack_tftp,ip_conntrack_ftp
nfnetlink               7768  2 ip_nat,ip_conntrack
iptable_filter          3104  1
ip_tables              14088  4 iptable_raw,iptable_mangle,iptable_nat,iptable_filter
x_tables               14628  20 ipt_MASQUERADE,ipt_LOG,xt_tcpudp,xt_state,xt_pkttype,xt_CLASSIFY,xt_CONNMARK,xt_MARK,ipt_REJECT,xt_length,xt_connmark,ipt_owner,ipt_recent,ipt_iprange,xt_physdev,xt_policy,xt_multiport,xt_conntrack,iptable_nat,ip_tables
tun                    11936  1
ipv6                  269416  14
dm_snapshot            17180  0
dm_mirror              20948  0
dm_mod                 59120  2 dm_snapshot,dm_mirror
rtc_dev                 7432  0
evdev                  10400  0
ixp4xx_mac             19572  0
asix                   12896  0
usbnet                 17350  1 asix
ixp4xx_qmgr             8652  5 ixp4xx_mac
ixp4xx_beeper           3616  0
ixp4xx_npe             14368  2 ixp4xx_mac
firmware_class         10656  1 ixp4xx_npe
ext3                  137704  1
jbd                    59368  1 ext3
mbcache                 9188  1 ext3
sd_mod                 19248  3
usb_storage            77707  2
scsi_mod              102800  2 sd_mod,usb_storage
ehci_hcd               31240  0
ohci_hcd               17156  0
usbcore               126920  6 asix,usbnet,usb_storage,ehci_hcd,ohci_hcd
13  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Re: Another newbie stuck with USB ethernet adapters... on: July 12, 2009, 02:54:49 PM
Thank you for your generous offer.

I took a look at three different models of ethernet adapters which I could lay my hands on at short notice, and here are the entries logged to syslog at boot:

two seem to use something called "asix":

Jul 12 11:37:36 AAA kernel: eth0: register 'asix' at usb-0000:00:01.2-2, ASIX AX8817x USB 2.0 Ethernet, [MAC]

One uses something called "pegasus":

Jul 13 00:28:31 BBB kernel: pegasus: v0.6.13 (2005/11/13), Pegasus/Pegasus II USB Ethernet driver
Jul 13 00:28:31 BBB kernel: pegasus 2-1:1.0: setup Pegasus II specific registers
Jul 13 00:28:31 BBB kernel: pegasus 2-1:1.0: eth0, ADMtek ADM8511 "Pegasus II" USB Ethernet, [MAC]
Jul 13 00:28:31 BBB kernel: usbcore: registered new driver pegasus

The way "pegasus" maps to config entries is obvious, but I do not know what "asix" matches with.

Yet again, based on my earlier experience with driver modules and kernels, enabling all of these as modules  should not add to the size of the kernel too much:

# CONFIG_USB_CATC is not set
# CONFIG_USB_KAWETH is not set
# CONFIG_USB_RTL8150 is not set
# CONFIG_USB_USBNET is not set
# CONFIG_WAN is not set
# CONFIG_FDDI is not set
# CONFIG_HIPPI is not set

some additional newbie questions:

1) do I need to flash the whole installer via "runme" every time I want to install a new kernel, or is there some lesser procedure or script that is sufficient, now that the new installer itself already resides on flash?

2) would it be possible to make a kernel that tries to boot from SD, USB and only finally from internal flash, giving ultimate flexibility for configurations?  Would it be possible to create a kernel image that can be used in all three storage scenarios?

3) Any info from Marvell how to blink the LED as status feedback?  Slug has very nice "heartbeat" blink when it is up and running, the pulse of which is connected to system load.
14  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Another newbie stuck with USB ethernet adapters... on: July 12, 2009, 11:00:00 AM
OK, this is my first post - I did wade through the topics, but failed to hit what I was looking for.

Still, I may have missed something obvious, so forgive me, if what I ponder below is common knowledge.

First, thank you all for providing decent instructions and tools to replace the very rudimentary initial kernel.

I finally got my two Sheeva Plugs thru mail and started on my quest to replace the old batch of Slugs (with their dying power supplies) with them.  Got six of them sprinkled around the world at the moment, their tasks being 1) dual-ethernet firewall and 2) always-on bittorrent node.

I succesfully managed to install the installer, and get the latest kernel in. Bittorrent replacement (rtorrent is my favourite) was a doodle, but I still hit a snag with my firewall's USB ethernet adapters: apparently even the latest kernel does not have support  built in for them.

My understanding is that Sheeva Plug has N times the memory of Slug, yet Debian for Slug seems to have everything + kitchen sink compiled into the kernel: you plug stuff in, and it works. 

So why the trend not to do the same with Ubuntu for Sheeva, when the memory restrictions are so much less in the way of providing hooks for dynamically loadable modules? Unused driver should not cause any sort of performance degradation, as far as I remember.

As this is a generic platform for tinkering of all sorts, it would be very beneficial to have at least basic projected functionality available without the need to start compiling your own kernels. Kind of "geeky, but yet not so darn ubergeeky"-level...

Firewall with two ethernet ports certainly is one basic use case, and the only way to add a port is via USB, yet there is not life in /etc/udev, as expected.

Or is somebody actually already using Sheeva Plug as a firewall box?  If you are, can you please spare the modules and uImage files for a kernel that knows what to do with USB ethernet adapters?

I know, I could install the cross compilation env, brush up my seven-year old, fading memories of kernel compilation process, and bite the bullet, but just in case someone has done it already...

As for the hardware: I really miss the possibility of using "beep" on Sheeva (boxes with no displays are especially in need of some sort of status indication - can the blue led be blinked via program?), and the fact that shutdown does not actually power down the unit is bit of a drag.  Otherwise, especially if I ever get the OS to boot directly from SD card, this is a formidable step up from Slug.
Pages: [1]