There are many different variants of the plug computer and not all variants are supported by Debian. This page provides an overview of different plug computer models and describes how well they are supported by Debian.
Generally speaking, there are two classes of plug computer: development kits and retail products. The development kits include a debugging module (either internally or externally) that offers access to the serial console and to JTAG. This debugging option is important in case something goes wrong with the installation or operation of Debian. Because of the importance of the debugging module, I'm primarily planning to support development kits. There will also be limited support for some retail products to which users have manually added a serial console. However, adding a serial console to a retail product will usually involve soldering and no support for this process is given here. Therefore, unless you know how to tinker with hardware, make sure to get a development kit with a debugging module!
Models with full support
The following models are fully supported by Debian. Please read the installation guide if you want to install Debian.
- SheevaPlug (or, more accurately, SheevaPlug Development Kit): this is the original SheevaPlug and it's fully supported. You can obtain this device from GlobalScale Technologies in the US and from NewIT in Europe.
- eSATA SheevaPlug: like the SheevaPlug, but it also offers eSATA.
- DreamPlug: the DreamPlug is supported since Debian 7.0 thanks to the work of Ian Campbell.
- GuruPlug (GuruPlug Server Standard and GuruPlug Server Plus): in addition to the functionality of the SheevaPlug, the GuruPlug Server offers wireless and Bluetooth. The GuruPlug Server Standard offers one Ethernet and one USB port whereas the GuruPlug Server offers two Ethernet, one eSATA, two USB and one micro SD ports. Make sure you get the GuruPlug JTAG, which is sold separately. Note that the GuruPlug has a fan.
- KURO-SHEEVA: a plug sold in Japan that is very similar to the eSATA SheevaPlug. Please follow the instructions for the eSATA SheevaPlug.
- Ionics Nimbus 100: this device is compatible with the original SheevaPlug and is therefore supported. However, make sure you get the development kit rather than the retail version since the USB-based debug connection (with access to UART and JTAG) is only included in the development kit. This plug is available from Ionics.
Models with limited support
The following model is supported by Debian but you have to manually add a serial console to your device in order to install Debian. No help is given here for adding a serial console so I suggest you buy a development kit with debugging module if you don't know how to add a serial console. If you have successfully added a serial console and can interact with u-boot, follow the installation guide to install Debian.
- Seagate FreeAgent DockStar: there are some external guides explaining how to add a serial console. See here and here.
Models that may or may not be supported in the future
Please note that I don't have time to add support for new devices, but you're welcome to add support for devices you're interested in. Please contact the debian-arm mailing list if you're working on adding support for a new device and need feedback or help.
- GuruPlug Display: this device looks interesting but is based on a different chip than all other plugs. While most plugs use a Marvell Kirkwood chip, the GuruPlug Display is based on a Marvell PXA chip which we currently don't support in Debian. It's unlikely this model will be supported.
- Ionics Nimbus 200, Nimbus 300, Cumulus, Stratus and Cirrus: I asked Ionics for hardware and didn't get a reply so I'm not planning to support these devices. However, adding support is possible if someone wants to work on it. If you intend to purchase such a device, be aware that the Nimbus and Cumulus need an external JTAG/serial module. The Stratus and Cirrus have an internal JTAG/serial module but only the Development Kit version.
- D2Plug: it would be possible to support this device in Debian but it seems that nobody is working on it.
Unsupported models without plans to support
The following devices are retail products which lack the debugging option. They will not be supported: