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June 14, 2006

This was the date this wiki + forum was opened on www.linkstationwiki.net.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Buffalo network-attached storage series

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Buffalo network-attached storage series are network-attached storage devices sold by US and Japanese computer retailers, and have been reviewed by the computer press. [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] They can be modified[9] into miniature general purpose Linux-based computers. The LinkStation and TeraStation are intended for the general public, while the Kuro Box is intended for expert hackers as a cheap platform for Linux development .


The LinkStation

The LinkStation is a network-attached storage appliance sold in North America and Japan, that is significantly notable among the Linux community both in Japan[10][11] and in the US/Europe[12][13] for being "hackable" into a generic Linux appliance and made to do tasks other than the file storage task for which it was designed. The Linkstation has Ethernet, USB, and serial ports, but does not have a video output. It is made by Buffalo Technology [14] a division of Melco. Produced in Japan, as of 2006 it is also available at American retailers such as Best Buy and CompuUSA, as well as in Europe.

The Linkstation has undergone various improvements since it was first produced[15]. 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 processor. Future versions of the device use the SATA interface[16] [17] 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[18][19] had from the Linkstation. Recent versions of the Kuro Box use later Linkstation hardware or hardware very similar to the one of the Linkstation[20]. 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 Japanese symbols for Kuro Box - (Literally: expert 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[21]. It comes in a grey Cube shaped box.

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[22] which is based on the official Buffalo firmware with some improvements and features added. The other is FreeLink[23], which is a Debian distribution. It also may be possible to run Gentoo Linux on the device.


The product was designed by the manufacturer to accept a user supplied Linux distribution for the PowerPC. Several[24] 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[25],and Japan[26] .


Like the LinkStation the device runs its own version of Linux. Supposedly[27] Debian, NetBSD, and Gentoo Linux distributions have been ported to it.


The device in various iterations ships with its own Universal Plug and Play protocol for distribution of Multimedia stored on the device. It can also be configured as a variety of different media servers [28] TwonkyMedia server, a SlimServer, an Itunes server using the Digital Audio Access Protocol[29], 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[30] with the device and the version 2.6 Linux kernel's[31] enhanced USB support. Additionally, because the Apache HTTP Server 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.
  1. CNET/ZDNET:LinkStation
  2. CNET/ZDNET:TeraStation
  3. LinuxDevices.com:LinkStation
  4. LinuxDevices.com:TeraStation
  5. PC Magazine:LinkStation
  6. PC Magazine:TeraStation
  7. Tom's Networking:LinkStation
  8. Tom's Networking:TeraStation
  9. English version of “Why don’t you hack the LinkStation/Kuro Box.”*
  10. http://linkstation.yi.org/ - A Japanese website dedicated to hacking the LinkStation.
  11. http://www.type-g.com/ - A Japanese wiki which contains some LinkStation information.
  12. http://linkstationwiki.net - The Linkstation Wiki
  13. w:Yahoo! Groups: LinkStation General
  14. Buffalo Technology
  15. LinkStationwiki.net: Hardware comparison (LinkStation and Kuro Box)
  16. LinkStation - SATA Version
  17. TeraStation - SATA Version
  18. Revogear.com- American suppliers of KuroBox
  19. www.kuroutoshikou.com- Japanese supplier of KuroBox
  20. Hardware Specifications for the Kuro Box Original,HG, and HG WR models
  21. Buffalo's Terastation Listing
  22. LinkStationwiki.net: Openlink
  23. LinkStationwiki.net: Freelink
  24. www.kurobox.com: Projects
  25. http://www.kurobox.com/ - The Kurobox Page
  26. http://www.kurobox.info/ - A Chinese language forum covering the Kurobox and LinkStation.
  27. http://www.terastation.org/ - The Terastation Wiki
  28. LinkStationwiki.net, Category:Mediaserver
  29. Alan's KuroBox-DAAP Information (Bonjour/DAAP/iTunes)
  30. LinkStationwiki.net, Category:USB
  31. LinkStationwiki.net, Category:Kernel