Guide for installing a Full Debian install on a $33 PogoPlug

Discussion in '*nix Software' started by chuck2002, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. chuck2002

    chuck2002 Senior member

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    Hi I ran across some info on installing Debian onto a PogoPlug device the other day and wrote up a quick guide for it that I thought I would share.

    This is a cheap, capable little device for tossing up and making do your bidding, and it doesn't need to run some stripped install.

    Some portions of it are less technical than others...

    Ok we are going to go over installing the full version of Debian Squeeze onto your PogoPlug Pink device. (This is the first edition device. These directions are not for any newer Pogo devices.)
    Here is an example of one that is a first generation device that will work with these directions:
    Pogo Drive for $33 Shipped
    http://www.adorama.com/COCPOGOE02.ht...urce=cj_361116

    You can get one of these devices for 33 bucks online, and this method of installing Debian goes onto a USB flash drive that you place into the Pogo. All of the changes (Except where you tell your Pogo to boot from a USB drive) are done onto the flash drive, so if you want to return your Pogo Plug's stock capabilities, just remove the flas drive and boot your Pogo.

    When we are done, you will have a fully functioning Debian server for $33 plus the cost of a USB flash drive. If you want more storage capacity, slap on a USB portable hard drive. Also, this little box is fanless and silent and draws around 4 watts of electricity.

    So the first thing you must do is to boot your Pogo, determine its IP address and login to it via SSH. You will use the following credentials: root with the password ceadmin
    Once in, you will need to perform the following:
    Gathered from this page:
    http://jeff.doozan.com/debian/uboot/

    cd /tmp
    wget http://jeff.doozan.com/debian/uboot/install_uboot_mtd0.sh
    chmod +x install_uboot_mtd0.sh
    ./install_uboot_mtd0.sh

    Now you have changed the default Pogo boot behavior to attempt to boot a USB drive first before booting itself.
    Next, you will want to fdisk and format your USB flash drive to get it ready to use with your Pogo.
    I prefer to use a Ubuntu desktop for this with the gparted application, however you can do it directly from your Pogo with these directions:
    fdisk /dev/sda
    # Configure partion 1 as Linux (I'd recommend making this at least 512Mb. The default bare-bones installation uses 280Mb.) --The more the better here because this is where Debian will live and you will be able to install more apps with more space.
    # Configure partion 2 as Linux Swap (I used 256MB. Adjust according to your anticipated memory usage.)
    # Set partition 1 active

    Ok now your drive is ready for linux, so plug it into your Pogo if you partitioned it with some other computer.
    Here is the install script we will use to install Debian. Enter the following commands:
    cd /tmp
    wget http://jeff.doozan.com/debian/dockstar.debian-lenny.sh
    chmod +x dockstar.debian-lenny.sh
    ./dockstar.debian-lenny.sh

    It will confirm that you know what you are doing and that your flash drive will be erased. This process will take about 30 minutes depending on your internet speed.
    Once complete, it will ask you to reboot, so do it.
    It will boot off of your flash drive, and you will be able to use ssh to login to your new Debian installation.
    The default username and password are:
    root
    root
    You should change the password first thing.

    Next, we will want to update the OS. Run the following:
    apt-get update
    apt-get upgrade

    Once that is finished, we will want to upgrade the distribution to Squeeze, which is the latest Debian distro. We could have gone straight to that, but the scripts for Pogo to make that happen are broken, so we have to do the dist upgrade from the working Lenny version of Debian. No big deal.
    To do this, we need to update our sources. I prefer to use the text editor Nano over vi, so first I install nano.
    apt-get install nano

    Update your sources file by entering this command:

    nano /etc/apt/sources.list
    entering the following information, replacing the same items that reference Lenny.
    deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian squeeze main contrib non-free
    deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian squeeze main contrib non-free

    My sources.list file looks like this after the updates:

    deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian squeeze main contrib non-free
    deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian squeeze main contrib non-free

    deb http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main
    deb-src http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main

    deb http://volatile.debian.org/debian-volatile squeeze/volatile main
    deb-src http://volatile.debian.org/debian-volatile squeeze/volatile main

    # Orion repository
    deb http://people.debian.org/~tbm/orion squeeze main


    Ok. Now run apt-get update again
    Install the archive keyring prior to performing the OS upgrade to avoid upgrade errors:
    apt-get install debian-archive-keyring

    Now we are ready to upgrade the OS to Debian Squeeze with this command:
    apt-get dist-upgrade

    Sit back and drink a beer or just go to the bar, as this operation will take at least an hour.
    During the process, the upgrade will stop a few times to ask you questions. Just say yes to everything.





    Ok now that you have your Debian server, what the heck are you going to do with it?
    -If you aren't awesome at the Linux commandline, I'd suggest installing Webmin. This is a web based interface that you can use to manage your server and most applications you install to it.
    -Next, you can install a game server if you are so inclined. I installed tremulous-server to mine just to see if it would do it. No problemo. Tremulous is a fun, free first person shooter.
    -Another thing you can do is install a LAMP web server. This is Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. I installed this and it works really nicely. You can run your own web server at home to do development on or host your own web page from your broadband connection. -Keep in mind that the Pogo has only 256 megs of RAM. YOu will want to do some mySQL optimization for smaller memory systems after installation. There are guides for this online.
    -One other thing you could do is to install Samba in order to do file sharing across your network. Samba is the Linux version of a Windows server file share.
    -Finally, you could use your Pogo as a cheap offsite backup solution. Get a USB portable hard drive and add it to your Pogo and then install duplicity. This program allows you to make a set it and forget it syncing of data from your location securely to some other location. This only syncs changes, so once your data is at your remote location, you will just be syncing changes. The best part is that the data is encrypted at the remote location, so your buddy never knows or can access your data.
    So here is the scenario: You have a Pogo at your house that has samba shares on it, so your household computers all backup to it.
    You get another Pogo, get it all configured and make a duplicity copy of your data to it. Now you send it to your buddy that has broadband internet. He configured his router so that you can access your pogo remotely via SSH. You then create or edit your automated duplicity task to do a weekly sync with the remote Pogo.
    Done deal. Set it and forget it remote backups on the cheap. If you want to get fancy, you can have the Pogo on your end email you with the job status log once it completes.

    Here are my instructions for installing Webmin since it is not part of the apt repositories:
    Run the following commands to install webmin:
    wget http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/webadmin/webmin_1.530_all.deb
    Install Webmin's prerequisites. You can copy and paste this whole lines of stuff into your SSH comand to do them all at once.
    apt-get install perl libnet-ssleay-perl openssl libauthen-pam-perl libpam-runtime libio-pty-perl apt-show-versions language-pack-en-base nano
    Now install the webmin package
    dpkg --install webmin_1.530_all.deb

    Once installed, you will access it from: https://pogoplug IP address:10000
     
  2. TBSN

    TBSN Senior member

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    Thanks for the guide, this has to be the cheapest little server. Are the specs basically on par with a router or a little higher than that?
     
  3. chuck2002

    chuck2002 Senior member

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    Ya I would say so with the exception of the onboard ram, which is 256 megs. Not sure what the processor is, other than an ARM.
    It isn't a speed demon, but it is capable of maxing out the speed of the USB interface during file serving.
    Plenty of available ram on my rig with just SSH services running:
    249.68 MB total, 49.41 MB used
     
  4. TBSN

    TBSN Senior member

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    I'm tempted to get it (it is around ~$45 shipped now) for a file server. The router I have has a usb hub and with DD-WRT I *could* use it to do file serving on the network, but I doubt it could max out the USB speed.

    How difficult is it to set up a network file server for someone who's a beginner-intermediate level linux user?
     
  5. chuck2002

    chuck2002 Senior member

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    Debian is pretty easy to setup file serving. You can find a samba configuration guide online to use and just basically copy and paste commands into the ssh window to install and configure to your liking.
    Also, Webmin is very nice for a GUI web interface to help with linux and Samba file serving management for linux beginners.

    The Debian OS installs to and runs off of the flash drive permanently. The nice thing here is that you just remove the flash drive and you can return the Pogo unit to stock form in a single reboot without the flash drive.
    It also is possible to forgo the flash drive and just install directly to a USB hard drive.
     
  6. Colt45

    Colt45 Lifer

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    These are handy little rigs, got one and put debian on it some time ago... ordered another but it hasn't arrived yet.

    Kinda disappointed the chip in there has no temp sensor, or I2C or SPI or whatnot, or maybe there are just no drivers... I thought I looked into it some time ago but I couldn't find a datasheet, maybe marvell is in the NDA BS business too.

    Anyhow, I've been interfacing mine to one of the AVRs with USB, figured I'd have it do some automation and monitoring of... something. Kinda got sidetracked lately though.
     
  7. TBSN

    TBSN Senior member

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    How do you use it with a receiver, can you play music through the USB?
     
  8. skyking

    skyking Lifer

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    what are the power requirements? I figure it has a wall wart and if it takes 12VDC, It could make a nice little mobile computer for automotive use.
     
  9. chuck2002

    chuck2002 Senior member

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    No wall wart. The power supply is internal to the device. It draws about 4 watts.
    No fans either. Takes a good while to boot though. I haven't timed it. It would make a nice little car box. The trim on the device could be removed to reduce space requirements.
     
  10. xSauronx

    xSauronx Lifer

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    dont need one, as i have an esxi box with a debian vm going, but i kinda want one just for the hell of it....
     
  11. TBSN

    TBSN Senior member

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    I just bought one for the hell of it. I figure I've wanted a NAS/fileserver for a while and this is the cheapest and smallest way to start into it.
     
  12. chuck2002

    chuck2002 Senior member

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    Same here. I also have an ESXi box but couldn't resist. It is a neat item, and you could slap on a big hard drive and use it to backup your ESXi vm's.
    You need one. :)
     
  13. Colt45

    Colt45 Lifer

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    They've got a 5V supply internally (IIRC) so the parent could use it in a car with a 12>5V regulator, if they bypassed the internal PS.
     
  14. Red Squirrel

    Red Squirrel Lifer

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    Add in a USB external drive dock, or esata if it has it, and this makes an awesome little backup server.
     
  15. chuck2002

    chuck2002 Senior member

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    It has only USB(v2) ports. (Quantity 4) No Esata. Regardless, ya it is a fun box to beat on.
     
  16. Colt45

    Colt45 Lifer

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    Depending on the revision, some of them have a SATA port internally, if you want to chop it up.
     
  17. chuck2002

    chuck2002 Senior member

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    Nice. Googling around, it looks like the pink front plate comes off with a yank and there may be a sata jack in there.
    I might just take this apart on mine just to paint it something other than pink....
     
  18. TBSN

    TBSN Senior member

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    I'd be willing to crack it open and give it a try. is there a link to that procedure or do I have to figure it out on my own? *edit* looks like only the pogoplug pro has the sata port? I got the pink one.

    Also I found two other companies that make little embedded computers like the pogoplug, like http://www.plugcomputer.org/

    They have a few more hardware options and come with some type of Linux I believe. Also there's http://www.tonidoplug.com/. Still it's hard to beat ~$50 shipped like this older-gen pogoplug.
     
    #18 TBSN, Aug 15, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011
  19. KillerBee

    KillerBee Golden Member

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    #19 KillerBee, Aug 15, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011
  20. Colt45

    Colt45 Lifer

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    The late rev pink pogos have the same board as the pro, but missing something, i forget what. Video? This is the version with SATA inside.

    You can tell by the sticker on the pink bit, the one I have is E02 and it is the old version, no sata. Not sure what it is for the newer ones.

    Or I guess you could just check /proc/(cpuinfo|meminfo) or top or something like that. Old one is 256MB ram and.. 1.2GHz? single core. The newer rev (with sata, pro board inside) is 128Mb ram, 700? Mhz, and dual core.
     
  21. chuck2002

    chuck2002 Senior member

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    I just took my Pogo apart. I yanked on the bottom of the pink stand near the bottom pulling straight out the front of the device. It made an ugly snapping sound and came apart. Then the clear sleve comes off and the two white halves come apart easily.
    I am left with some plastic tabs that broke off when I yanked the front off. It went back together ok though.
    Inside mine, there was nothing exciting. No SATA jack, no heatsinks on the chips, nothing really but a board and a small power supply.
    I did take that opportunity to black tape the power LED though, and put it all back together.
     
  22. chuck2002

    chuck2002 Senior member

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  23. TBSN

    TBSN Senior member

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    I wish they took the whole "plug" computer thing less literally because wallwarts can be a PITA.

    Quick question regarding the writeup at the beginning; The instructions on the site you are referencing for installing squeeze right off the bat won't work with the pogoplug? I just want to make sure because otherwise it would be easier just do the squeeze install mentioned here: http://jeff.doozan.com/debian/
     
  24. skyking

    skyking Lifer

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    Did you see the JTAG and serial pinouts in yours?
    http://www.pogoplugged.com/forum/thread/12366/Pins-for-the-two-connectors-on-the-v2-Pink-board./
    I'd bring the serial out of the case if you have some hardware laying around.
     
  25. chuck2002

    chuck2002 Senior member

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    No, unless he redid them. There was some package authentication issues that I experienced following those squeeze instructions. I did some looking on the forum and the solution was a different script, or install Lenny first.
    I decided to go the Lenny and then upgrade route to get around this problem.
     
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