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[tlug] Kuro-Box

Dear All,

just wanted to share my experience with this equipment.  I bought
"kuro-box" which is esentially a developer bare bone version of the
bufallo linkstation.

You can place any UDMA IDE drive in there and then Linux will provide
NAS capabilities, using the built in PPC processor and Gigabit
networking.  It also has a USB port which is intended for another
external USB disk (however, you can hack the system to use it for
other things (eg. printserver).

For me the attraction was that it consumes low power (ie. 17 Watt
according to spec), and so can be permanently on in my home without
using too much power.

The construction is straight forward - it took me 10 minutes to open
up the box, place a 250 Gig hd inside.  Once connected to power it
will boot a mini linux from memory.  Normally you are supposed to use
a Win application to install the hard drive, but people on the web
found out a manual way, which also allows customisation:

1. Prepare disks using the included utility.  If no input is given 3
partitions are created,  one root (rather too small), one swap (also
too small) and the rest is for data.  So the point here is to specify
the interactive options so that you have more space for additional
applications you want to install.

2. Create file systems.  The default will use ext3 journaled systems. 
Also here you can tweak the options to get better performance /
capacity for your needs

3. install system image.  This is provided on a CD or can be
downloaded from the website.  Its a zip file containing a basic linux
root system and runs telnet, ftp, webinterface etc by default (very
unsafe).  Basically just extract to the root partition.  I also copied
some bin's from the Flash system to this new root (like unzip) as they
seem to be missing in the image.After finishing you have to save
something to flash (not sure about what actually happens but you use a
command write_ok) to finish off.

4. reboot into new system.  This will now run the kernel from flash
with the root=/dev/hda3 option.  Some services like samba ftp and
telnet are already enabled.

5. Install development system.  Obviously it would be better to run
newer application versions, and add stuff like postfix and imap.  On
the CD are some binary packages. just copy them to the disk using
samba/smb from a pc (or ftp) and then extract them in root.  After
that you can start compiling.

I first compiled openssh:  download packages from the web site, as
well as latest version of zlib (the one included is too old).  then :

# ./configure --with-zlib=../zlib-xxxx/
# make
# make install

After that I also compiled rsync.  You can configure the startup
services now to include ssh and remove ftp/telnet and the web

My main purpose for using this box is 

a) backup my OSX home dir (rsync)
b) serve my website (with Gigs of baby fotos) from home (w/o costing
loads in power) (apache)
c) share mp3s with friends who also use the kuro-box (rsync)
d) mail server (future plan)

I onl have the box since friday and only spent two hours with it.
However first impressions are very positive.  A full Linux server with
low power the size of an external hard disk enclosure.  It seems so
flexible that it can be molded to any purpose.  Some people even seem
to be able to make it boot gentoo and debian (will try when I have
more time).
Patrick Niessen

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