It’s been a while, but I’m back again.
This time around I had the dubious pleasure of trying to figure out how to put Linux on a Soekris net4801 (a little ugly box with 3 ethernet ports, 128Mb RAM, 266 MHz CPU and a 4 Gb Compact Flash-card).
A lot of trial/error and various guides around the net:
I tried at least four different installations of Ubuntu before I gave up, there was always something that went wrong. The Debian Squeeze-variant seemed simple enough, so that’s what I ended up installing and then troubleshooting for a few hours.
A few issues which arose during the installation and configuration:
The passwords for the default users (root & soekris) were missing from the tarball. Supposedly the file was called “Squeeze-On-Soekris-passwords”, but it wasn’t there. However, you can mount the CF-card on another Linux-machine and modify /etc/shadow and remove the passwords. (A really neat trick I didn’t know about.)
Grub (v2) was more or less screwed and kept spitting out Error 15: File not found for the first couple of reboots, I did manage to push the older version, which I’m a lot more comfortable configuring by hand, on to the CF-card. Seems it did not like working with UUIDs at all. Took a few tries entering the kernel parameters by hand to get the box to boot.
With the older version of Grub you easily get just garbage printed out via the serial-cable, the fix for this this turned out to be a line called “terminal serial” (instead of the long “terminal –timeout 5 serial console”).
The box would die on a server panic of sorts complaining about clocksource-something, I got past it by adding “notsc” to the kernel-line.
Now after a few days of searching, troubleshooting and a load of trial/error the box is happily up and running Squeeze.