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SlugNews -- The world-wide news of nslu2-linux Vol 1. Issue 1 11/23/04

The Linksys NSLU2 NAS box is an average home network attached storage device. However, in the hands of a group of world-wide computer enthusiasts, it's a general-purpose Linux development platform. SlugNews aims to bring a summary of the activities on the nslu2-linux projects to interested observers.


Slug is the pet name for the NSLU2. Due to time/space issues we may cover this history in a later issue. Slug development activity is not even 4 months old. Development activity breadth and depth is staggering. The range and breadth of activity is based on several factors:

1) World-wide open development (leading to SlugTime -- 40 hour days 10 hours in 4 timezones with overlap).
2) A sizable group of seasoned developers and members for a new project.
3) Most importantly, there is a friendly (by Internet standard) communicative meritocratic community.

In this information age, we live by the communication of relevant information. Short of a Phone Calling Card, nslu2-linux has just about all the means necessary to promote pertinent communication among its members. Web Sites, Internet-Relay-Chat, Wikis, Message groups, CVS, BitKeeper? repositories, SourceForge? projects, and even fund raising!

See http://www.nslu2-linux.org for more information.

All of these tools are useless without motivated, intelligent people working to solve problems and issues. That is where the nslu2-linux community really shines. The community is not perfect, but overall it is a truly magnificent with many things to be proud about.

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" so the saying goes. Thanks to Jim Buzbee who helped fuel the nslu2 craze by publishing some internal information and how to get telnet access to the box early on. Also, to the OpenWrt project that demonstrates great firmware replacement for the Linksys WRT54G? wireless AP. Finally, special thanks to rwhitby who created the Yahoo mailing list, IRC channel, registered the nslu2-linux.org domain, CVS repository, key in setting up the www.nslu2-linux.org wiki, BitKeeper? repository, and has drove Unslung development. kergoth (Chris L.) also deserves special mention for helping nslu2-linux get (and staying) running on open-embedded.

Overview of SW milestones

During the last 3 months there have been the following milestones in CVS and OpenEmbedded (oe):

Now deprecated:
1) (CVS) Makefile for building firmware with 2.4 kernel and Intel drivers (CSR+NPE)
2) (CVS) Makefile for building firmware with the 2.6.7/9 kernel and Intel drivers (CSR+NPE)
3) (CVS) Unslung 1.x releases (binary and source release) over 1K downloads

In development:
4) (CVS) unslung ipkg packages
5) (OE) Unslung 2.x releases -- (binary and source release) over 500 downloads
6) (OE) Unslung 3.x Alpha releases (jffs2 fs)
7) (OE) Openslug 1.x Alpha release (jffs2 fs)


Now deprecated:
8) (CVS) Slugtool -- important tool for splitting/joining Linksys NSLU2 flash images

In development:
9) (CVS) Sluggo -- tool to build Redboot
10) (CVS) SlugImage -- perl replacement for slugtool with major additions like the FIS directory and JFFS2 partitions.
11) (CVS) UpSlug -- a non-web based firmware image update tool
12) (OE) Switchbox -- a minimal rootfs allowing switching between root filesystems

HW milestones:
13) Operational JTAG reflashing and rumors of a slug with additional memory (FatSlug) :)
14) Of course there is serial port support
15) Testing of other buses
16) The SaltedSlug-- the bare PCB board used to verify traces

17) SlugBug is a bug tracking tool.


Long-term, SlugNews will focus on weekly or semi-weekly updates as to what's happening in the #nslu2-linux IRC channel on freenode.net. Before beginning, please forgive me if I've forgotten anyone or anything it's because of my senility, really it's nothing personal. Here's a summary of the last couple weeks activities:

  • unslung continues to progress with jffs2 support and the consolidation of several images down to -standard and -able
  • upslug is working. This allows firmware upgrades via the network without using the web interface. It used the upgrade capability in the device and can be triggered in a couple of different ways.
  • openslug has made great progress and is getting closer to beta.
  • slugimage was created and is working.
  • jacques successfully used JTAG to recover a corrupted Redboot in flash. This occurred during early jffs2 development.
  • developers are more familiar with OE. This means kergoth is now bugged by less startup questions.

Cheers [g2]

view · edit · print · history · Last edited by ka6sox.
Based on work by ka6sox and rwhitby.
Originally by tman.
Page last modified on April 14, 2005, at 03:26 PM