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How To: Hacking the Linksys NSLU2 - Part 5- Moving to Unslung

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Introduction

If you've been following along with my articles [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3 ] [Part 4], you've done a lot of work on your own, but it's now time to converge with the NSLU2 development community. We've built a few packages ourselves, but there's no way we can match the output of the world-wide NSLU2 development community. If we align ourselves with their efforts, we'll be able to take advantage of all the software packages that have been built for the NSLU2. These packages include our favorites such as an nfs server, an iTunes server, and new packages like an ssh server, an ftp server, a telnet client, etc.

There are several efforts underway in the developer community, but the focus of our convergence will the Unslung firmware and package system. This firmware brings several basic extensions to the box. First, it's designed to maintain standard Linksys functionality, while allowing a high degree of customization. This is done with a more extensive variation of the flash modification we made in my last article.

Second, it adds a standard package scheme that allows easy installation of new software packages from an Internet accessible package library. And finally, it takes an approach that frees up 10 MegaBytes of RAM. That's a lot in a box that only starts with 32 MegaBytes. Freeing up this RAM makes it feasible to think of running more demanding applications such as a database system or a full-featured web server.

How did the NSLU2 developers magically free up this RAM while not only keeping the standard Linksys functionality, but adding a great deal of new features? Lets find out.

NOTE!Disclaimer: It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. Exploring the NSLU2 by looking at its internal file structures using any method that doesn't modify its code should leave your warranty intact. But modifying the NSLU2 in any way will void your warranty.

SmallNetBuilder, Pudai LLC and I are not responsible for any damage that the information in this article may cause to your NSLU2 or any data it manages.

So download a copy of the current firmware before you start, and don't go trying to get help from Linksys if you break it.




Related Items:

How To: Hacking the Linksys NSLU2 - Part 4- Customizing the Flash
Hacking the Linksys NSLU2 Part VI - Installing a Media Server
How To: Hacking the Linksys NSLU2 - Part 2 - Adding NFS
How To:Hacking the Linksys NSLU2 - Part 3 - Adding an iTunes server
How To: Hacking the Linksys NSLU2 - Part 1