Martin Michlmayr
Martin Michlmayr

I'm a member of Debian, and I work for HP as an Open Source Community Expert. The opinions expressed here are mine.

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SheevaPlug: the NSLU2 killer

SheevaPlug in my hand I received a SheevaPlug this week, an intriguing device that packs incredible power and functionality into a tiny package. As many of you know, I've been doing a lot of work on Debian for the Linksys NSLU2 in the last few years. The NSLU2 is a key reason why ARM has become the third most popular architecture in Debian (after 32 and 64 bit x86), and I believe a main reason is that the NSLU2 is so incredibly cheap. At a price under $100, most people don't think too long and simply buy a device and do something cool with it.

The SheevaPlug is being offered at the same price range but offers considerably more. Riku Voipio asked the right question: "What would you do with something approximately 10x more powerful with same prize/size range?" I believe the SheevaPlug is a killer replacement for the NSLU2 and here's why:

I'm incredibly excited about the SheevaPlug and the first thing I did was to take the device apart and look at the inside. The results can be found in the SheevaPlug image gallery. My next project will be slightly more productive: porting Debian.

As I see it, we should support the following three installation variants for the SheevaPlug:

The first two should be relatively straight forward, but of course installing to the internal flash memory is particularly interesting given that 512 MB (plus compression) is enough for a basic installation of Debian. Unfortunately, installations to MTD flash are currently not supported in the Debian installer but I hope we can find a volunteer who wants to implement this functionality.

My next steps are to put a kernel for the SheevaPlug into the archive and to get a basic installation going. From there we can look at more sophisticated installation options and other functionality.

Sun, 15 Mar 2009; 20:15 — debian/kirkwood/sheevaplugpermanent link