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
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?