Freelink - Convert the LinkStation into a Full-fledged Debian Linux Server

From NAS-Central Buffalo - The Linkstation Wiki
Revision as of 14:05, 15 May 2007 by Ramuk (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

This article Based on work by frontalot and mox69. Originally by frontalot. at

Nuvola apps important.png 

Please note that this guide comes with NO warranty whatsoever; you are using this at your own risk! Modifying your LinkStation in this way most likely will void your warranty.

How to Convert the LinkStation into a Full-fledged Debian Linux Server

The following guide will attempt to explain the steps involved in converting a stock Buffalo LinkStation into a fully functional Linux system with Samba administered via Webmin/SSH. The following is a list of things that I will assume from the reader:

  • You have a basic understanding of Linux command line functions.
  • Your LinkStation must be connected to the Internet! I have mine connected via a standard 5 port router to take advantage of the router's DHCP capabilities.
  • It will be handy to have the IP addresses of your ISP’s DNS servers.
  • You know the current IP address of your LinkStation.
  • Some familiarity with the Linux text editor called “vi.”

Install FreeLink

1) Install FreeLink First: Get the latest version of FreeLink from the downloads area

Linkstation-debdux.gif LS1

2) Flash The The LinkStation firmware flasher

  • Open the archive and carefully read the included README file for any specific instructions.
  • Disable any firewall(s), including any built-in Windows firewall
  • Make sure the LinkStation and your PC are on the same sub-network. This likely requires that you change the IP address (and probably the subnet-mask) of your PC and router to a different IP address (out of the box the LS should start out on 192.168.1.XXX but in EM Mode it will have a static IP address of
  • Run the firmware updater executable HD-???LAN FWUpdate-english.exe
  • After finding your LinkStation, press the "Renew Firmware" button, and wait. Have patience, and keep your calm. If you think the Firmware updater is acting strange, do not try to disconnect the LinkStation or abort the update in another way.
  • After flashing connect your LinkStation up to the network with subnet 192.168.1.XXX
  • Find your LinkStation on the network and Telnet to it with PuTTYtel You will be at the root shell.
Nuvola apps important.png 

The MIPSel version of FreeLink does not have telnet enabled as a default but rather SSH. Use PuTTY to open a SSH session to: (it has a static IP).
login as: root , password: freelink

Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 %h


3) Change the root password

passwd root
  • If you want to name your LinkStation something besides LinkStation, type the following commands (replacing BuffaloNas with your choice of name):
echo “ BuffaloNas” > /etc/hosts
hostname BuffaloNas
export hosts
echo “BuffaloNas” > /etc/hostname
  • Do you need to use static network settings? Click here.

Install Software

Test your Internet connection

4) Test your Internet connection:


if you get no response you will have to edit the /etc/resolv.conf file and add a DNS server address to the bottom


#frontalot's static setup (adjust to your network settings)
nameserver <<DNS SERVER IP>>
apt-get update

5) Now we can begin installing software. Debian uses a program called The Advanced Packaging Tool (apt) to manage the software on your computer. Think of it as a very advanced command line version of Windows add / remove programs. First update the apt package list and install SSH:

apt-get update

6) Then install OpenSSH:

note: this step is only necessary for the PowerPC(LS1,HG) versions of freelink. The MIPSel(LS2) version comes with SSH enabled

apt-get install ssh
log in with SSH

7) Answer the installation prompts, making sure to enable the SSH daemon (server). Now use your favorite SSH program to make sure we can SSH in (I prefer PuTTY). If SSH is working you should be able to log in like this:

apt-get upgrade

8) You should upgrade all currently installed programs:

apt-get upgrade

disable the telnet daemon

9) Now close out your telnet session and disable the telnet daemon (utelnetd):

rm /etc/rc2.d/S05utelnetd

apt-get install samba smbfs

10) Let's install specific packages. Type the following at the SSH prompt:

apt-get install samba smbfs

11) For Debian, Webmin no longer exists in the Stable repository. It was removed some time ago from unstable at the request of the maintainer. As a result it never made it into testing and at present does not exist in Etch (the current Stable)[1]
Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references/> tag was found