Debian Wheezy Image for Seagate Dockstar

2013-05-12 20:59
I've been running Arch Linux on most of my machines, including the Dockstar, but I am getting more and more annoyed by the horrible system breakages that occur regularly when updating Arch. The amount of maintenance required is just too high for my taste - even for a rolling release distro it does not have to be that bad.

So I decided to install Debian Wheezy on my Dockstar, which, as it turned out is not as easy as I would have liked. There is no image available like there is for Arch, which is why I packaged my installation after going through all the trouble getting a working system.
To get a working Debian installation for your Dockstar, you have to use debootstrap, or Doozan's Debian install script, which tries to automate most of the work required to get a working Debian installation. This script uses debootstrap itself, but unfortunately, it does not work from the Dockstar's default system. At some point it (or rather debootstrap) complains about the kernel being too old. At this point, you have to replace the system on the Dockstar's NAND with a system with a newer kernel, but to do that you first have to prepare a USB memory device to boot some other Linux system, that can then be used to install a system to the NAND. A recommended system for the Dockstar's NAND is the Kirkwood/*Plug* Recovery System. I first tried to install that recovery system from OpenWRT, which I had on a USB memory stick, but it did not work. It seems that the system to be used for installing the recovery system has to use glibc, not uclibc or some other libc. I finally managed to install that recovery system, then boot into it and from there install Debian Wheezy with the script mentioned above. That worked fine, except it did not take anywhere near those 20 minutes mentioned there, but almost two hours. Most of the time has been spent writing stuff to my USB stick, so maybe that stick is just extremely slow. Fortunately, booting from that stick is reasonably fast, so I'm okay with it.

To save you the trouble with all that, I've packaged the finished install, which you can use to get a working Debian Wheezy system. Assuming you have an up-to-date uboot bootloader installed on your Dockstar, all you have to do is prepare a USB stick (or USB harddisk) with at least one partition formatted as ext2 (with at least 500 MB of free space) and then extract my image onto that partition (from some Linux system as root).

debian-wheezy-dockstar-130512.tar.xz (78 MB)
md5sum: bb39bbb50660a9e4eec733ca37d464f7

The system is almost exactly the same as the one you would get from running Doozan's script. root's password is 'root', so better change that immediately. The only change I have made, was to omit the swap space. You can easily add swap later on if you really want to, but I would advise against it, unless you are running your system off an USB harddisk, as it can quickly ruin your USB flash memory. I have had good experiences with zram based swap, but unfortunately the Debian kirkwood kernel is missing the zram module, so this won't work without rebuilding the kernel.
AgentSteel (web) says:
2013-06-08 15:30:55
Thank you Wej, you saved my a lot of hassle :)
cyberic (web) says:
2013-07-16 16:17:16
Thanks a lot.
I agree with you, system breakage occur quite often with arch these days... Especially when you haven't updated for a long time...
systemd, /usr stuff... it is becoming annoying...
firestorm_v1 (web) says:
2013-08-24 04:13:26
Thank you for the image! I'm overhauling my dockstar to run as a controller head for bitcoin mining and this is a great updated image for it.

In case anyone asks, use "tar -Jxf debian-wheezy-dockstar-130512.tar.xz" to extract on Ubuntu, Debian, others..
J (web) says:
2013-10-27 17:30:08
how can i extract this to one of the partition on USB drive..?

lets say sda1..
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 1850 815825+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 1851 2275 187425 82 Linux swap
wej (web) says:
2013-10-27 19:28:53
J: Just mount your partition somewhere ( e.g. mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/disk ), then cd into that directory ( cd /mnt/disk ), then extract the archive ( tar -Jxvf /path/to/debian-wheezy-dockstar-130512.tar.xz ). Unmount the disk and you are done.
That's all you need to do.
moddy (web) says:
2013-11-05 13:01:54
Nice way to get an updated system in only two steps. It works. So tankx for this.

It seems a little bit slow - compared to debian squeeze - but may be it is the USB-drive i use.
I am upgrading now and hope that it runs a little bit faster.

BTW: You should mention that it is necessary to adapt the resolv.conf. If not you can't reach the Imternet (ping, apt, wget...)

petergunn (web) says:
2014-07-27 14:25:21
Thanks! Saved my 3 dockstars after failed upgrade attempts and disk problems.

TetterkeT (web) says:
2014-11-07 03:40:11
I can't seem to extract this on my USB drive on my Dockstar. tar does not seem to recognize the -J option. What am I missing?
wej (web) says:
2014-11-07 13:28:52
TetterkeT: Make sure you have xz installed. The -J flag tells tar to extract using xz. Many modern versions of tar do not need that flag, so "tar xf file.tar.xz" should work as well. You still need the xz utility. If you have xz and your tar still does not handle the file properly, You can also first explicitly extract it with "xz -d file.tar.xz" and then untar the extracted .tar file with tar.
TetterkeT (web) says:
2015-03-12 04:51:14
Once extracted how do I tell it to boot from USB drive?
wej (web) says:
2015-03-17 13:45:11
TetterkeT: When you have installed u-boot, you should not have to do anything special, to make it boot from a USB drive, unless you have multiple usb drives connected. In that case you might need to configure u-boot such that it boots from a certain drive. That can be achieved through the u-boot console, which can be accessed through the serial port. You probably want to avoid doing that, unless you are familiar with embedded serial ports etc.
Phalgun (web) says:
2015-06-23 14:20:08
I used your Weezy dockstar image successfully. tx.

However I am not able to configure the nameservers through the /etc/resolv.conf. Therefore I am not able to access the internet.

Could you please help
wej (web) says:
2015-06-23 14:29:19
Phalgun: What happens when you try to configure your nameservers?
xx (web) says:
2015-10-23 20:51:56
Quick and Dirty Fix
echo "nameserver" >> /etc/resolv.conf
krusty (web) says:
2017-10-23 21:11:41
Hi there ! I just made a fresh install on my dockstar using stretch, with the 4.13.5 kernel, on a usb stick. No credit to me though, i used bodhi's packages and instructions from the doozan forum.

I'd like to package it like you did for this version. can you help me do this ?

I can send the resulting file if you need it.
wej (web) says:
2017-10-26 17:42:16
krusty: It is rather simple to do that. Pretty much all you need to do is create an archive with tar of the entire root filesystem. Obviously you shouldn't do that from within the running system, but rather mount the disk elsewhere and then create the archive.
krusty (web) says:
2017-10-27 06:46:08
Ok, i get it.

So connect the usb stick on another computer, mount it then:

tar -cpzf backup.tar.bz2 /mnt/mysticktobackup

No exclusion of filessytem files, no specific option ? The devil is in the detail, and i'd rather not find out i missed a parameter when trying to use the backup and watch it fail.

Thank you !
wej (web) says:
2017-10-28 08:14:48
krusty: Yes, since you don't have any of the pseudo filesystems (like /proc or /sys) mounted, you can do exactly that. No need to exclude any system files. You could exclude files under /tmp or empty the directory, if there is anything in there.

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