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Hands On Linux

By design, Quad Micro Works decided to leave the Square One unlocked so that power users could poke around at the Linux root level. To access the CLI (command line interface), you Telnet to the router’s IP address. You’ll need to use something like HyperTerminal or PuTTY, as the keyboard mapping for Window’s command line Telnet doesn’t work with Square One’s Telnet. When you first log in, you have only limited commands available (Figure 10).

CLI commands

Figure 10: Square One CLI commands

If you type "quit," you’ll then have access to all of the commands (Figure 11). I poked around a bit, and there doesn’t seem to be a compiler installed on the system. However, those with Linux experience could certainly install a compiler for the ARM processor and turn the system into whatever they wanted it to be. Also, root access might be required to fix some of the default settings. For example, when I enabled the FTP server, I also created a file folder named FTP and assigned rights to it. However, when I FTP’d into the server, it dumped me into my home directory rather than the "FTP" folder I had set up. And even though I was in a group with rights to the FTP folder, I couldn’t change into it. With command line root access, you can correct these types of problems.

Full command list
Click to enlarge image

Figure 11: Complete list of commands supported by Square One’s shell

Conclusion

As a basic "personal server," the Square One is a simple appliance that can fill the needs of a consumer who wants an all-in-one box that provides storage, a router, a firewall, and a print server. It’s a single box that combines all of those functions at a price that’s roughly the same as buying separate components.

It's actually pretty good as a router in the throughput department and has the ability to handle many simultaneous connections. But, especially for a product touted as a "server", its file transfer performance is abysmally slow and not becoming of a product at its price point. It is also an odd oversight that it lacks a UPnP AV server to serve up multimedia content on the LAN, especially since that is a server function that many consumers will actually want to use.

For the average consumer, the supplied suite of Internet applications will be difficult to get working without documentation, and in my experience may take some CLI tweaking to get working properly. And while the Square One allows root access, people with Linux experience are likely to want a more powerful box and will most likely "roll their own."

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