Debian Squeeze on 'V' and 'X' Series (LS-WXL and others)

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This is based on Debian Lenny on LS-CHLv2 and Open Stock Firmware LS-XHL and was published first here [1] by user benoqkuke.

What will you get?

You will not have to open your box (at least not unless you make a fatal mistake)!
You will have a Debian Squeeze userland and the stock Buffalo kernel of your already installed firmware.
So it is not a full replacement of Buffalos firmware, but mostly. ;-)
To have a "complete" Debian Squeeze installation one would need to replace the kernel also. But user benoqkuke hasn't managed to build his own kernel (newer than 2.6.31) yet. So stay tuned, if you want to have a more recent kernel also.

What you need beforehand

You have to be able to use the root account on the NAS. You can follow Open Stock Firmware LS-VL or use [2] CHL-v2/XHL 1.xx Mod 1 firmware to do that.


You need to install debootstrap.
To be able to do this, you need to download the package.


It doesn't really matter which directory you're in for this step. There is no harm in being in /root, which is where you'll be anyway by default once you log on as root.

Log on as user root on your LinkStation. Execute this:

  dpkg -i debootstrap_1.0.38_all.deb

To install the new rootfs into a directory debian-squeeze execute this:

  mkdir debian-squeeze
  debootstrap --verbose --arch armel squeeze debian-squeeze

You may want to select a mirror nearby yourself for faster downloads.

This takes some time. When you see I: Base system installed successfully. the roots FS is almost ready.

Personalize the deboostrap

You need to have some other stuff to be able to boot off the boostrap.

Copy the initrd to the chroot environment:

  cp /boot/initrd.buffalo debian-squeeze/tmp

Chroot on Debian Squeeze:

  LANG=C chroot debian-squeeze /bin/bash

First of all update the package database to have the correct GPG-keys:

 apt-get update

Copy kernel modules from the linkstations initrd to the /lib/module folder:

  cd /tmp
  dd if=initrd.buffalo of=initrd.gz ibs=64 skip=1
  gunzip initrd.gz
  mkdir INITRD
  mount -t ext2 -o loop initrd INITRD 
  cp -R INITRD/lib/modules/2.6.[3-9]?* /lib/modules/
  umount INITRD
  rmdir INITRD
  rm initrd*

Configure locale: Suggestion is to install at least the en_US.UTF-8 and your native language locale (e.g. it_IT.UTF-8, de_DE.UTF-8, etc).

  apt-get install locales
  dpkg-reconfigure locales

If apt-get complains that pts isn't accessible: ignore it or mount devpts (mount -t devpts devpts /dev/pts).

If you are going to set up a raid, install mdadm:

mount -t proc proc /proc
apt-get install --no-install-recommends mdadm
umount /proc

Editing /etc/fstab (with vi or nano):

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# file system    mount point   type    options                  dump pass
/dev/sda2        /             xfs     defaults,noatime         0    1
/dev/sda1        /boot         ext3    ro,nosuid,nodev          0    2
/dev/sda5        none          swap    sw                       0    0
/dev/sda6        /mnt/disk1    xfs     defaults,noatime         0    0
proc             /proc         proc    defaults                 0    0
devpts           /dev/pts      devpts  gid=4,mode=620 	   0    0
tmpfs            /tmp          tmpfs   defaults                 0    0
sysfs            /sys          sysfs   defaults                 0    0

If you are going to set up a raid, install mdadm:

mount -t proc proc /proc
apt-get install --no-install-recommends mdadm
umount /proc

Create disk1 in mnt:

  mkdir /mnt/disk1

If you are going to set up a raid, create array1 in mnt instead:

  mkdir /mnt/array1

Edit /etc/network/interfaces to match your LAN configuration.

If you use DHCP, simply request an IP on eth0 an eth1:

# Used by ifup(8) and ifdown(8). See the interfaces(5) manpage or
# /usr/share/doc/ifupdown/examples for more information.

# We always want the loopback interface.
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

auto eth1
iface eth1 inet dhcp

If you have static IP: Make sure to use the correct interface name, otherwise your Linkstation may boot up but will not get an IP address. Check etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules for this.

# Used by ifup(8) and ifdown(8). See the interfaces(5) manpage or
# /usr/share/doc/ifupdown/examples for more information.

# We always want the loopback interface.
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static

Set /etc/hostname

 echo > /etc/hostname MYNAS

Edit /etc/hosts to resolve your hostname       localhost.localdomain localhost       MYNAS
# The following lines are desirable for IPv6 capable hosts
::1 ip6-localhost ip6-loopback
fe00::0 ip6-localnet
ff00::0 ip6-mcastprefix
ff02::1 ip6-allnodes
ff02::2 ip6-allrouters
ff02::3 ip6-allhosts

Install sshd:

  apt-get install --no-install-recommends openssh-server

Change root password:

  passwd root

Check that root login is enable in /etc/ssh/sshd_config:

  grep PermitRootLogin /etc/ssh/sshd_config 

should show a line "PermitRootLogin yes".

Clean up the package database (this reduces the size quite a lot)

  aptitude clean

Prepare rootfs:

  cd debian-squeeze
  tar --numeric-owner -p -czf ../hddrootfs.buffalo.updated *

Prepare an imitrd image

If you are going to set up a raid, you need to build an Initrd for Raid-Boot.

If you are not going to use an Raid: Download empty initrd from [3]. If you do not trust an external source like this you may either a) follow the instructions in Initrd for Raid-Boot (but leave teh content away) or b) check the content of this one as shown above.


Yes, an empty initrd is okay: When the kernel boots up, it will just find nothing to do in the initrd and continue booting from the harddisk. The boot device is defined by the uboot bootloader image.

In both cased, put the intrd.buffallo into the current directory.

Perform the Update

Warning 1: This will delete all data on the root partition, including all /etc and /root. If you have valuable data there, put it on another computer first.

Warning 2: While this should only delete the root partition, make a backup of your data first.

Installmethod 1: Copy file to /boot

As Analysis of the ARM9 boot process shows, it's absolutely okay to simply copy the required files into /boot and reboot. Running LSUpdater in the end does the same, but using LSUdater is more cumbersome.

  • Still on your LS, working directory is where you've put hddrootfs.buffalo.updated intrd.buffallo
  • You may want to make an (additional) backup of the original files. The update/boot process will create a copy, too, but will happily overwrite any existing. So it's better to have a reliable copy.
cp /boot/initrd.buffalo /boot/initrd.buffalo.orig
mv /boot/hddrootfs.buffalo.updated.done /boot/hddrootfs.buffalo.updated.orig

Clarification Needed /boot/hddrootfs.buffalo.updated.done doesn't exist. Instead of:

mv /boot/hddrootfs.buffalo.updated.done /boot/hddrootfs.buffalo.updated.orig

maybe it should be:

cp /boot/hddrootfs.buffalo.updated /boot/hddrootfs.buffalo.updated.orig

This would mean that both hddrootfs.buffalo.updated and initrd.buffalo are backed up in the current directory, assumed to be /root. Is that correct?

  • Now install the new files
cp hddrootfs.buffalo.updated /boot/hddrootfs.buffalo.updated
cp initrd.buffalo /boot/initrd.buffalo.updated

Clarification Needed What I have at this point is two new files that have been copied into the existing /boot, namely

  • initrd.buffalo.updated (an empty initrd)
  • hddrootfs.buffalo.updated (as created in the earlier step)

However the existing initrd.buffalo is still in /boot. How is initrd.buffalo.updated picked up on reboot?

  • Reboot
  • Now you are on Debian Squeeze!

Installmethod 2: Using LSupdater

  • Still on your LS: Move hddrootfs.buffalo.updated and the intrd.buffallo file to a folder that you can access from you computer.

Now continue on you Windows or OSX PC (unfortunately LSUpdater does not run on Linux, not even in Wine)

  • Go to your lsupdater folder.
  • Remove initrd.img and hddrootfs.img from your lsupdater folder. (If you use 1.37mod1 kernel you just need to replace them when you copy these file)
  • Add debug options to lsupdate: open LSUpdater.ini and check that Flags and specialflags are set like this:
VersionCheck = 0
NoFormatting = 1

debug = 1
  • Copy hddrootfs.buffalo.updated and intrd.buffallo rom your LS.
  • Update your NAS (ignoring any errors about files not found), reboot.
  • Now you are on Debian Squeeze!
  • If you configured your nas before, some settings should be saved in a tgz file: /boot/conf_save.tgz

After install

If you are an experiened ssh-user, you may want to copy your public key to ease login. On a Unix/Linux system this is a breeze:

ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/ root@IPADDR

Install blstools:

apt-get install smartmontools
tar zxf blstools-0.2.0.tar.gz
cd blstools-0.2.0
sudo ./

Modify /etc/init.d/lsmonitor (the line where HDDTEMP is defined) to:

 # Retrieve HDD temp
     HDDTEMP=$(smartctl -d marvell /dev/sda --all -T permissive | awk '$1 == "194" {print $10}')

Turn on bootlogging:

 # nano /etc/default/bootlogd

Install xfs tools:

apt-get install xfsprogs

Configure timezone

dpkg-reconfigure locales tzdata

Install Debian security updates. Edit the file /etc/apt/sources.list and add the following line:

deb squeeze/updates main contrib non-free

Then install security upgrades

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

Some other cleanup

Some other stuff you may want to do after installation. Warning: Check by your own whether you want to do this!

rm /etc/motd.tail
apt-get install less file
apt-get install --no-install-recommends emacs23-nox