A new line of arm-based plug computers

Michael Torrie torriem at gmail.com
Mon Apr 5 16:56:58 MDT 2010

On 04/05/2010 04:17 PM, Kenneth Burgener wrote:
> Nice!  At 5W I think I will replace my home firewall (tower) with the 
> GuruPlug Server Plus version (two Ethernet ports).
> How would one go about installing Linux on one of these devices?  I see 
> that it does not have a VGA or serial interface.  Is there software the 
> comes with it for a USB terminal interface?  Would a USB CD-ROM work 
> with this device, or is a PXE installation going to be needed, or will 
> the OS have to be somehow prewritten to the minisd card??

You can use the built-in boot loader, U-boot, to boot off of just about
anything.  USB stick, SD card, the network, etc.

I'm pretty sure these plugs come with a mini USB serial port console
that works pretty well.  Linux has a drive that sees it as a USB serial
device.  Also the development version have a jtag interface, although I
don't know how that works (maybe requires the jtag adapter device?).  If
the picture is accurate, the miniusb serial device is next to the SD slot.

For my sheevaplug, I wrote the latest sheeva kernel (there's some guy
that keeps building the latest kernels) and wrote it to my internal
flash from within the ubuntu distro that it shipped with.  Then I
created a Debian lenny file structure on another machine and boot up the
internal kernel using the NFSROOT option to bring up debian.  Once I
have it set up right, I'm going to reformat the internal flash that
ubuntu is on to UBIFS and copy everything over.

You can also use u-boot to netboot the debian installer and it should be
able to write directly to an SD card or USB card.  Writing to the
internal flash requires you get it running on SD, USB, or NFSROOT, and
then copy it over to the flash from your running setup.

plugcomputer.org has a forum with a lot of good resources as well.

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