Installing Debian on the Thecus N2100 -- PART 1 -- Preparation for install

Posted by coldtobi | 2 Feb, 2008, 15:52

As you know, I bought myself a Thecus NAS 2100, with the intent to install debian on it and use it as an homer server solution.  This article -- or better articles -- will focus how to install debian on the box.

Please note, that this VOIDS YOUR WARRANTY, so the usual disclaimer applies: You brick it, you repair it. I do not recommend to install Linux on the box, if you are not sure you can handle it. Linux requires more hands-on than the GUI -- you won't have a GUI anyway -- but reveals the real power. With power comes responsibility.

The motivation why to install Linux lays on the hand: The Thecus is more a home server than "only" a NAS. Therefore my NAS will have to do some more duties than just to store data. Actually, all of them are related to "data storage", but not everything can be done with the "plain" firmware.

As an example, I am planning to use it as an dedicated backup server, a server hosting my mail system and of course as an multimedia server for streaming my music everywhere I want it, not bowing before the ITunes restrictions.

But as the services will surely adapt to my needs, I will focus on them later in dedicated articles.

Okay, lets get started after the "read more" line. (if you at the main page of my blog)

Table of Contens

  1. Part 1: Get Prepared (this article)
  2. Part 2: Installing the Installer.
  3. Part 3: Installing Debian I (start the installer and configure RAID)
  4. Part 4: Installing Debian II
  5. Part 5: Fine tuning after the installation
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Linus about "const pointers"

Posted by coldtobi | 28 Jan, 2008, 21:00

The concept of the C-modifier "const" is often misunderstood. On a recent question one person asked why there was a "const" parameter to the kfree syscall.

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What NAS?

Posted by coldtobi | 10 Dec, 2007, 10:43

I am still looking after an not-too-expensive but "good" NAS for my home network. There are quite a lot of differnet models out there, that will meet my expectations. Unfortuantly, I could not find a comperasion that shows all the features I want.

In this article, I try to assemble such a comperasion. But be warned: Its matched to the needs and features I want, sorted to the importance:

  1. Supports at least Samba. FTP, rsync and other non-proprietary protocols a plus
  2. MUST NOT use NDAS
  3. Unit must use a "common" file system (I case of hardware-failure, I want my data back)
  4. Enclosure must have place for all hardrives
  5. RAID support. That is you need at least two physical hardrives.
  6. Power efficient (otherwise I could recycle an old computer)
  7. Silent
  8. Should be able to run custom software. So this usually narrows down to a linux driven box with any access to it (to enable ssh for example)
  9. Max. 350 € for 1 Terra Byte of gross storage.
  10. Not-too short on RAM

Models over 350 are not reviewed at all. This is simply over my budget I planing to spend. (Of course, if the manufacturer would send me a unit for review... ;-) )

I took a closer look at these candidates: Maxtor Shared Storage II,  Western Digital My Book World Edition II, and finally the Thecus N2100. 

[Updated Dec 10 2007] 

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smartmontools on SATA

Posted by coldtobi | 13 Nov, 2007, 17:31

I had an annoying problem with my smartmontools. The startup script kept telling me, that it fails upon starting. Well, this was annoying but not critical.

But now that there is a new smartmontools package upstream, this discovered a bug: After installation, smartmontools barks in its postinst script as it fails to start. (See bugreport

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NavIT on Debian

Posted by coldtobi | 13 Nov, 2007, 11:25

Debian LogonavitlogoShort and Quick: I packaged NavIt 0.0.2 for debian, and well, here is the NavIt Debian package: 

(update: read on where to get the latest version) 

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GCC for the AT90PWM316

Posted by coldtobi | 11 Nov, 2007, 11:17

BTW: I uploaded updated versions of my avr-gcc builds as debian packages: The files linked inlcude my patch to support the AT90PWM316*. The patch is already upstrea, and according Jörg Wünsche, it will be applied to the upcoming release of the official toolchain.

As the PWM316 chip is just a great device for lightning. I used the patched gcc already for a commercial project.

The story why I needed to create the patch reads as a WTF, and is therefore noteworthy: The hardware-team accidentially soldered the PWM316 into the circuit, instead of the PWM3B. As time was tough and new hardware not feasible in the projects timeline, I had to get the gcc running...

 Well, thats off-topic: Here are the files:

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Opensource Navigational Solution Released: NavIT!

Posted by coldtobi | 6 Nov, 2007, 09:18

navitlogoNavIT 0.02 has been released!

Despite that the version is only at 0.02, NavIT is quite stable and feature-rich. And the best of all: It is Open Source! 

Lets quote from the website about the project:

Navit is a car navigation system with routing engine.

It's modular design is capable of using vector maps of various formats for routing and rendering of the displayed map. It's even possible to use multiple maps at a time.

The GTK+ or SDL user interfaces are designed to work well with touch screen displays. Points of Interest of various formats are displayed on the map.

The current vehicle position is either read from gpsd or directly from NMEA GPS sensors.

The routing engine not only calculates an optimal route to your destination, but also generates directions and even speaks to you using speechd.

Navit currently speaks 8 languages.

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