[armedslack] Armedslack on NSLU2

Thierry Merle thierry.merle at free.fr
Thu Sep 11 19:41:57 UTC 2008

Hi Stuart,

Stuart Winter a écrit :
> Hi Thierry
>> does anyone has already run Armedslack on the NSLU2?
> I didn't hear from anyone who is, AFAIK..
Well, I may be a pioneer since I succeeded :)
>> I got problems with debian (latest is a kernel panic on sustained disk
>> load) so I want to install Slackware, the distribution I am used to
>> install and configure for years.
>> I am planning to do so, by doing an installer image using the APEX
>> bootloader, in the debian way.
> I was looking at how Fedora ARM installs -- they haven't ported
> the installer as I have for ARMedslack, and Debian has -- they're
> using a separate tool to do the installation, since most ARM devices
> are headless.
> I did something similar for ARMedslack before I ported the installer
> and the script still exists in the 'slackware' directory, but
> it relies upon pkgtools being installed, so lends itself for use
> on a Slackware x86 box.
> To really do such a headless installation would require writing a
> sort of 'kickstart' (as Red Hat has) tool, or patching the Slackware
> install scripts.  Myself and one of the Slackware devs have had such
> an idea for ages now, but neither of us has time to do much with it.
> Anyway, let me know when you get it working on the NSLU2!
I started on an existing debian-arm distribution for having a functional
kernel written in FLASH. I think this step can be avoided but it was so
easy like this...
I extracted the slackware initrd from the armedslack-current/isolinux/
on an USB key and booted on it, consequently launching the setup.
Next, I just had to install on the hard drive that was plugged on the
'disk 2' plug.

Here are the basic steps I did:
- Installed a debian-arm distribution. I used the debian-installer lenny
beta 2 just to have a kernel written in FLASH.
- Save the /lib/firmware directory since it contains the NPE-B firmware,
mandatory for the Ethernet part of the chip.
- Erase and partition the USB hard disk as suited from a PC.
- rsync on a partition of this disk the armedslack distribution.
- format an USB key in ext3
- uncompress the slackware installer on it: gzip -cd initrd.img |cpio -i
- plug the usb key on 'disk 1', plug the hard disk on 'disk 2' plug
- power on the NSLU2, the slackware setup prompt should bring up on the
serial line (I have a serial line wired on my NSLU2).
- / is mounted read-only by default, do a 'mount -o remount /dev/sda1 /'
before anything else.
- setup and so on (don't forget where is the
armedslack-current/slackware/ directory on the USB hard disk - /dev/sdbx
and custom dir)
I did a full installation without X and KDE since it is a headless system.

Next are some customizations:
- in /mnt/etc/fstab, change all sdb* to sda*
- chmod -x the rc scripts that are not necessary like rc.keymap and so on.
- copy /lib/firmware from the debian installation to get the NPE-B
firmware binary (for Ethernet)
- copy from a standard slackware /lib/udev/firmware.sh to /lib/udev/
Power-down NSLU2, remove USB key, replace it by the USB hard disk. Power-up.

Well some things are missing like blinking leds but the system is fully
I am currently compiling some SlackBuilds for the utilities I am used to
run (courier-imap, ...) but now I feel at home on my armedslack-NSLU2 :)


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