Install Debian 5.0 (Lenny) On Buffalo Linkstation Mini

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There is a possibility that you could brick your NAS with these instructions. Please make sure that you read the entire page carefully. These instructions may void your warranty. Proceed at your own risk.

Linkstation Mini
Nuvola apps important.png 

This procedure is for installing an older release of Debian.


The following process converts a Buffalo Linkstation Mini (model LS-WSxxxxGL/R1) into a fully functional GNU/Linux server running Debian version 5.0.6 (Lenny) with the backported Linux kernel (version 2.6.32-27). Here is how the process works:

  1. Use ACP Commander software to establish Telnet session with device
  2. Uncouple secondary drive partitions from existing RAID configuration
  3. Partition and format secondary drive, install Debian 5.0, and prepare for initial boot
  4. Reboot device, establish SSH session with device, and complete installation


  1. Buffalo LinkStation Mini models LS-WSxxxxGL/R1 running stock firmware (LS-WSXxxxxTL/R1 models will not work)
    • If your device has already been modified to run another operating system and/or firmware, you should revert to stock firmware
    • This process was tested with model LS-WS1.0TGL/R1, but other models may work as well
  2. Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop Edition CD-ROM (download and burn this disc image)
  3. Computer which can boot the Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop Edition CD-ROM and access the network successfully (most modern computers meet this requirement)


Note: Do not attempt to execute the following commands as a single script. Instead, copy and paste each block of commands into a shell window and monitor the resulting output for errors

    Prepare Device

  1. Disconnect power cable from device
  2. Disconnect all USB devices (and keep them disconnected for the duration of this process)
  3. Move device switch to "on" position
  4. Attach device to network
  5. Connect power cable to device
  6. Wait for device to finish booting (no blinking lights)
  7. Open device web interface (factory default address is, or use the IP address assigned by your network)
  8. Login (user = admin, password = password)
  9. Nuvola apps important.png 

    The next step will erase all data on your Linkstation Mini. It is recommended that you backup your existing data. Proceed at your own risk.

  10. Remove existing RAID configuration (Disk Management | RAID Setup | RAID Array 1 | Change RAID Array ...)
  11. Create new RAID1 (mirroring) array (Disk Management | RAID Setup | RAID Array 1 | RAID Mode: RAID1 ...)
  12. Wait for "Building RAID Array" to complete
  13. You may proceed immediately after the array has been built (you do not need to wait for the drive check to complete)

  14. Boot Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop Edition CD-ROM on computer
  15. Select language as desired (English)
  16. Click on "Try Ubuntu 10.04 LTS" (to use Ubuntu without making any changes to your system)
  17. Open a new terminal window (Applications | Accessories | Terminal )
  18. Start a new bash shell with root privileges
    sudo bash
  19. Install OpenJDK (for running ACP Commander software)
     apt-get update
     apt-get -q -y install openjdk-6-jre
  20. Download ACP Commander software (acp_commander.jar)
  21. Determine IP address of device and assign it to environment variable (substitute appropriate IP address)
  22. Instruct device to enable Telnet and remove root password
     java -jar acp_commander.jar -t ${IP_ADDRESS} -o
  23. Establish Telnet session with device
     telnet ${IP_ADDRESS}
  24. Login as root (no password required)
  25. Set recent date and time (prevent error messages about file dates, format=MMDDhhnnYYYY)
     date 050900002011
  26. Kill all unnecessary processes
     kill -9 $(ps | grep -vE '\[.*\]|(init)|(syslogd)|(klogd)|(getty)|(telnetd)|(-sh)|(ps)|(VmSize)|(grep)|(kill)|(awk)' | awk '{print $1}')
  27. Disable all active swap paritions
    swapoff -a
  28. Nuvola apps important.png 

    Your device will no longer boot after the next step. You must complete the installation of the Debian operating system before your device will boot again.

  29. Free secondary drive (/dev/sdb) partitions from RAID configuration
     mdadm --manage /dev/md0  --fail /dev/sdb1
     mdadm --manage /dev/md1  --fail /dev/sdb2
     mdadm --manage /dev/md10 --fail /dev/sdb5
     mdadm --manage /dev/md2  --fail /dev/sdb6
     mdadm --manage /dev/md0  --remove /dev/sdb1
     mdadm --manage /dev/md1  --remove /dev/sdb2
     mdadm --manage /dev/md10 --remove /dev/sdb5
     mdadm --manage /dev/md2  --remove /dev/sdb6
  30. Make sure secondary drive is not in use
     if hdparm -z /dev/sdb ; then echo; echo "SECONDARY DRIVE READY (/dev/sdb)"; echo; else grep sdb /proc/mounts /proc/mdstat; echo "Please check that /dev/sdb is not in use"; fi;
  31. The following commands will delete all existing partitions on the secondary drive and reconfigure it as follows...

    Partition Mount Size Type Description
    1 /boot 128MB fd linux raid autodetect
    2 swap 256MB 82 linux swap
    3 / (root) 12GB fd linux raid autodetect
    4 /srv 100% fd linux raid autodetect
  32. Repartition secondary drive (substitute partition sizes as desired)
     echo -e "d\n1\nd\n2\nd\n3\nd\n4\nn\np\n1\n\n+${PARTITION1_SIZE}\nn\np\n2\n\n+${PARTITION2_SIZE}\nn\np\n3\n\n+${PARTITION3_SIZE}\nn\np\n\n\nt\n1\nfd\nt\n2\n82\nt\n3\nfd\nt\n4\nfd\nw\n" | fdisk /dev/sdb
  33. Create and activate swap partition
     mkswap /dev/sdb2
     swapon /dev/sdb2
  34. Create RAID volumes
     echo "y" | mdadm --create --verbose /dev/md11 --level=1 --raid-devices=2 missing /dev/sdb1
     echo "y" | mdadm --create --verbose /dev/md13 --level=1 --raid-devices=2 missing /dev/sdb3
  35. Format RAID volumes
     mkfs.ext3 -F /dev/md11
     mkfs.ext3 -F /dev/md13

  36. Install Debian System

  37. Mount RAID volumes
     mkdir -p                /mnt/lsmini
     mount -t ext3 /dev/md13 /mnt/lsmini
     mkdir -p                /mnt/lsmini/boot
     mount -t ext3 /dev/md11 /mnt/lsmini/boot
  38. Install custom boot loader (force boot from /dev/md13)
     cd /mnt/lsmini
     tar --extract --verbose --same-permissions --gzip --file /mnt/lsmini/initrd-md13-armv5tejl-softfloat-1.0.tar.gz
  39. Install custom kernel (Debian 5.0 backported kernel 2.6.32-27)
     cd /mnt/lsmini
     tar --extract --verbose --same-permissions --gzip --file kernel-2.6.32-27-debian-lsmini.tar.gz
  40. Install root filesystem (from archive of debootstrap stage 2 files)
     cd /mnt/lsmini
     tar --extract --verbose --same-permissions --gzip --file /mnt/lsmini/bootstrap-debian-5.0.6-armel-stage2.tar.gz
  41. Prepare host settings (adjust host name and IP addresses as needed)
  42. Configure network interface (/etc/network/interfaces)
     echo "# Used by ifup(8) and ifdown(8). See the interfaces(5) manpage or"  >/mnt/lsmini/etc/network/interfaces
     echo "# /usr/share/doc/ifupdown/examples for more information."          >>/mnt/lsmini/etc/network/interfaces
     echo "#"                        >>/mnt/lsmini/etc/network/interfaces
     echo "auto lo eth0"             >>/mnt/lsmini/etc/network/interfaces
     echo "iface lo inet loopback"   >>/mnt/lsmini/etc/network/interfaces
     echo "iface eth0 inet static"   >>/mnt/lsmini/etc/network/interfaces
     echo " address ${HOST_ADDRESS}" >>/mnt/lsmini/etc/network/interfaces
     echo " netmask ${HOST_NETMASK}" >>/mnt/lsmini/etc/network/interfaces
     echo " gateway ${HOST_GATEWAY}" >>/mnt/lsmini/etc/network/interfaces
     rm -f /mnt/lsmini/etc/udev/rules.d/[0-9]*-persistent-net.rules  # remove all persistent network devices (force auto detection of eth0)
  43. Configure host name (/etc/hostname)
     echo "${HOST_NAME}" >/mnt/lsmini/etc/hostname
  44. Configure mapping from address to host name (/etc/hosts)
     echo " localhost"           >/mnt/lsmini/etc/hosts
     echo "${HOST_ADDRESS} ${HOST_NAME}" >>/mnt/lsmini/etc/hosts
  45. Nuvola apps important.png 

    Do not modify the last column of /etc/fstab... any value other than zero will cause the device to hang on startup. Basically, the system fails to detect the RAID volumes, sends the failure message to the console, waits for keyboard input (that can never arrive), and cannot respond to pings or any other network traffic. Don't find out the hard way.

  46. Configure mount points (/etc/fstab)
     echo "/dev/sdb2   none      swap   sw,pri=1                     0  0"  >/mnt/lsmini/etc/fstab
     echo "/dev/md13   /         ext3   noatime                      0  0" >>/mnt/lsmini/etc/fstab
     echo "/dev/md11   /boot     ext3   noatime                      0  0" >>/mnt/lsmini/etc/fstab
     echo "none        /dev/shm  tmpfs  noatime,nodev,nosuid,noexec  0  0" >>/mnt/lsmini/etc/fstab
  47. Configure network name resolution (/etc/resolv.conf)
     cp -a /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/lsmini/etc/resolv.conf
  48. Change root password (new password = lsmini)
     sed -r "s/${SED_SEARCH}/${SED_REPLACE}/" -i ${SED_FILE}
  49. Prepare for reboot (Overwrite factory-installed boot files with custom ones)
     cd /mnt/lsmini
     rm -rf /boot/*
     cp -a /mnt/lsmini/boot/* /boot/
  50. Wait for RAID synchronization to complete
     while egrep -iq '(recovery)|(resync)' /proc/mdstat; do
         cat /proc/mdstat
         sleep 5
     cat /proc/mdstat
  51. Unmount RAID volumes
     cd /mnt
     umount /mnt/lsmini/boot
     umount /mnt/lsmini/srv
     umount /mnt/lsmini
  52. Reboot device
     reboot; logout

  53. Configure Debian System

  54. Wait for device to finish booting (no blinking lights)
  55. Assign new IP address to environment variable
  56. Use SSH to login as root (password = lsmini)
     ssh root@${IP_ADDRESS}
  57. Change root password to something hard to guess
     passwd root
  58. Select timezone
     dpkg-reconfigure tzdata
  59. Ensure that date and time are correct
  60. Make sure primary drive is not in use (/dev/sda)
     if hdparm -z /dev/sda ; then echo; echo "PRIMARY DRIVE READY (/dev/sda)"; echo; else grep sda /proc/mounts /proc/mdstat; echo "Please check that /dev/sda is not in use"; fi;
  61. Repartition primary drive (must have same partition sizes as secondary drive)
     echo -e "d\n1\nd\n2\nd\n3\nd\n4\nn\np\n1\n\n+${PARTITION1_SIZE}\nn\np\n2\n\n+${PARTITION2_SIZE}\nn\np\n3\n\n+${PARTITION3_SIZE}\nn\np\n\n\nt\n1\nfd\nt\n2\n82\nt\n3\nfd\nt\n4\nfd\nw\n" | fdisk /dev/sda
  62. Format and activate swap partition on primary drive
     mkswap /dev/sda2
     swapon /dev/sda2
  63. Automatically mount swap partition at boot
     echo  "/dev/sda2   none      swap   sw,pri=2                     0  0"  >>/etc/fstab
  64. Add primary drive partitions to RAID volumes (/dev/md11 and /dev/md13)
     echo "y" | mdadm --manage /dev/md11 --add /dev/sda1
     echo "y" | mdadm --manage /dev/md13 --add /dev/sda3
  65. Create large RAID volume on /dev/md14 (substitute RAID level as desired; 1 = Mirroring, 0 = Striping)
     echo "y" | mdadm --create --verbose /dev/md14 --level=${RAID_LEVEL} --raid-devices=2 /dev/sda4 /dev/sdb4
  66. Format large RAID volume and mount it (as /srv)
     mkfs.ext3 -F /dev/md14
     mount -t ext3 /dev/md14 /srv
  67. Automatically mount large RAID volume during boot (as /srv)
     echo "/dev/md14   /srv      ext3   noatime                      0  0" >>/etc/fstab
  68. Disable login terminals (prevent error messages in /var/log/syslog every 5 minutes about /sbin/getty respawning too fast)
     sed -r "s~${SED_SEARCH}~${SED_REPLACE}~g" -i ${SED_FILE}
  69. Allow USB flash drives formatted with the VFAT file system (Windows) to be mounted automatically in /media/usb
     SED_REPLACE='\1\2 vfat\3'
     if ! grep -E '^\s*FILESYSTEMS\s*=\s*\"((vfat\s+[^\"]*)|([^\"]*\s+vfat\s+[^\"]*)|([^\"]*\s+vfat))\"$' "${SED_FILE}"; then sed -r "s~${SED_SEARCH}~${SED_REPLACE}~g" -i ${SED_FILE}; fi
  70. Configure package sources (/etc/apt/sources.list)
     echo "deb      lenny         main contrib"  >/etc/apt/sources.list
     echo "deb-src      lenny         main contrib" >>/etc/apt/sources.list
     echo "deb lenny/updates main contrib" >>/etc/apt/sources.list
     echo "deb-src lenny/updates main contrib" >>/etc/apt/sources.list
  71. Update package lists
     apt-get update
  72. Wait for RAID synchronization to complete
     while egrep -iq '(recovery)|(resync)' /proc/mdstat; do
         cat /proc/mdstat
         sleep 5
     cat /proc/mdstat

  73. Extras

  74. Add user (never login as root again, use sudo command instead)
     adduser ${USER_NAME}
  75. Allow user to become super user (using sudo command)
     echo "${USER_NAME}    ALL=(ALL) ALL" >>/etc/sudoers

  76. Restart device
     reboot; logout;
  77. Congratulations! You should now have a working Debian 5.0 server running on a Buffalo Linkstation Mini.

See Also