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The LinkStation

The LinkStation is a small electronic appliance about the size of a book that's intended for use as a network-attached storage device, but which has earned a fair bit of ubiquity in the Linux and hacker community because of its ability to be converted into a general purpose Linux computer and adapted to tasks completely different from the purpose for which it was sold. The Linkstation has Ethernet, USB, and serial ports, but does not have a video output. It is made by Buffalo Technology a division of Melco. Produced in Japan, as of 2006 it is also available at American retailers such as CompUSA, as well as in Europe.

The Linkstation has undergone various improvements since it was first produced. For example, the first generation of this device had a 100BASE-T network adapter using a Parallel ATA hard drive. The most current version includes a 1000BASE-T-capable connection. Most versions of the device use a PowerPC processor but one uses a MIPS architecture processor. Future versions of the device are rumored on hacker web sites to use Serial ATA interfaces for the hard drive.

Kuro Box

Kanji for Kuro Box

The Kuro Box is the name for a series of PowerPC processor based computers intended for use as a network-attached storage device. The original Kuro Box was made from spare hardware components the manufacturer had from the Linkstation. Recent versions of the Kuro Box use later Linkstation hardware or hardware very similar to the one of the Linkstation. All Kuro Box versions are provided without a Hard Drive. The case has the same physical dimensions and shape as the LinkStation, but it is black in color and has the Kanji symbols for Kuro Box () in silver lettering on the side panel.


The TeraStation

The TeraStation is Network-attached storage device using a PowerPC processor similar to the LinkStation. It uses 4 internal Hard drives mounted in a RAID array. It comes in a grey Cube shaped box in capacities between 0.6 - 2.0 Terabytes

Linux Community


As the device runs Linux, Buffalo was required to release their source code as per the terms of the GNU General Public License. Due to the availability of source code and the relatively low cost of the device, there are several community projects centered around it. There are two main replacement firmwares available for the device: the first is OpenLink which is based on the official Buffalo firmware with some improvements and features added. The other is FreeLink, which is a Debian distribution. It also may be possible to run Gentoo on the device.

Kuro Box

The product was designed by the manufacturer to accept a user supplied Linux distribution for the PowerPC. Several including a KuroBox specific distribution called Sylver, Debian, Gentoo Linux, and Fedora Core have been ported to it by various user groups in both the USA/Europe and Japan.


Like the LinkStation the device runs it's own version of Linux. Supposedly Debian, NetBSD, and Gentoo Linux distributions have been ported to it.


The device in various iterations ships with it's own Universal Plug and Play protocol for distribution of Multimedia stored on the device. But it can also be configured as a TwonkyMedia server, a SlimServer, an Itunes server using the Digital Audio Access Protocol, a Samba server, MLDonkey client, as well as a Network File System server for Posix based systems. For use as a backup server, it can be modified to use it with Rsync to backup/synchronize data from one or many computers in the network pushing their data, or even having the LinkStation pulling the data from remote servers - beside the use of the Buffalo provided backup software for Windows. It has also found use in a number of other ways. Notably through it's USB interface which comes configured as a Print server but can also use the Common Unix Printing System to act as such for a USB Printer. Users have managed to get it to use a number of other USB devices with the device and the version 2.6 Linux kernel's enhanced USB support. Additionally, because the Apache web server software is already installed for the purpose of providing the Buffalo configuration screens, the device is easily converted to be a lightweight web server (and the Buffalo content deleted) and then can serve any content of the operator's choice.

External links

English Links

Japanese Links