What additional hard and software do I need to run and manage a Soekris box

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Note that in the Open Source world support for RS232 over USB varies and does not
Note that in the Open Source world support for RS232 over USB varies and does not
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appear to have top priority, although some Linux users claim to never have had a problem. The docs in the Linux source tree at Documentation/usb/usb-serial.txt.gz are one place to start looking to see what's supported.
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appear to have top priority, although some Linux users claim to never have had a problem. The docs in the Linux kernel source tree at Documentation/usb/usb-serial.txt.gz are one place to start looking to see what's supported.
To perform the initial installation of your OS, there are two common methods. The first is to perform a network install by PXE booting the machine. Refer to your OS's documentation for specifics on this procedure. This will typically require at least a DHCP server that you can configure and a TFTP server to load the installation image. The second is to prepare a hard drive or compact flash drive on another computer. This will require appropriate adapters for your choice of media. Please note that USB->Compact Flash adapters sometimes encounter geometry issues, the best way to avoid this is to do a PXE install on the Soekris itself.
To perform the initial installation of your OS, there are two common methods. The first is to perform a network install by PXE booting the machine. Refer to your OS's documentation for specifics on this procedure. This will typically require at least a DHCP server that you can configure and a TFTP server to load the installation image. The second is to prepare a hard drive or compact flash drive on another computer. This will require appropriate adapters for your choice of media. Please note that USB->Compact Flash adapters sometimes encounter geometry issues, the best way to avoid this is to do a PXE install on the Soekris itself.

Revision as of 16:21, 24 April 2010

What additional hard- and software do I need to run and manage a Soekris box?

Although you could PXE boot off the network and run without a disk you will probably want to install an operating system on your soekris box. For this you will need some sort of non-volatile storage. Compact flash cards are often used. 2.5 inch laptop hard drives are also an option. Solid state hard drives are now price competitive with fast compact flash cards and are faster. The time saved in OS install can be worth the extra cost of a little speed.

You will need a 12-20V power supply.

While it's possible to entirely avoid interacting with the soekris over the serial communications channel (say,by PXE booting and running "diskless") it's very likely that you will want serial communications for at least the initial OS install. This means a null-modem cable and, of course, a PC or other computer with a serial port (or else a serial to USB adapter with an appropriate driver). Apart from that, you'll need a program for serial communication, like cu or minicom. Null-modem cables are readily available these days thanks to the STB. They can also be purchased from Soekris. If you need to make one yourself, an excellent docs is found here.

Note that in the Open Source world support for RS232 over USB varies and does not appear to have top priority, although some Linux users claim to never have had a problem. The docs in the Linux kernel source tree at Documentation/usb/usb-serial.txt.gz are one place to start looking to see what's supported.

To perform the initial installation of your OS, there are two common methods. The first is to perform a network install by PXE booting the machine. Refer to your OS's documentation for specifics on this procedure. This will typically require at least a DHCP server that you can configure and a TFTP server to load the installation image. The second is to prepare a hard drive or compact flash drive on another computer. This will require appropriate adapters for your choice of media. Please note that USB->Compact Flash adapters sometimes encounter geometry issues, the best way to avoid this is to do a PXE install on the Soekris itself.

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