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SheevaPlug => For beginners => Topic started by: NewIT_Marcus on 10 October 2009, 11:56:17 am

Title: Getting Started with the Sheevaplug
Post by: NewIT_Marcus on 10 October 2009, 11:56:17 am
This information applies to the Sheevaplug only. We'll create a Guruplug version as soon as possible.


Some of the instructions that we provide, or that you will find elsewhere on the 'net may provide long and/or complicated commands to be entered on the command line. The ability to copy and paste this information will save a great deal of time.

We strongly recommend that the very first things that you do are to install the aforementioned packages on the PC that you will use to connect to the SheevaPlug.


The SheevaPlug has Ubuntu 9.04 pre-installed. If or when you get stuck, it may be helpful to use SheevaPlug and / or Ubuntu ( in your search terms.

Unless you have purchased a pre-configured UBIFS or SD card booting model, there are a couple of configuration errors with the pre-installed Ubuntu. For instructions on correcting those errors, see here ( (But you should read the rest of this article first).

Until you've configured additional software or attached an external communications device (such as a USB wireless device), there are two ways to connect to your SheevaPlug; via the included USB cable or via ethernet.

Sometimes when connecting, you may be presented with a blank (terminal) screen. You may wonder if you did something wrong. If nothing seems to be happening, hit the Enter key and you should see a welcome prompt. If you don't, go back and check your settings.

If you connect via USB, you can observe the boot process, and you should see a series of console messages similar to that listed in the Appendices of the USB Flash Recovery pdf file on the CD. It starts like this:

         __  __                      _ _
        |  \/  | __ _ _ ____   _____| | |
        | |\/| |/ _` | '__\ \ / / _ \ | |
        | |  | | (_| | |   \ V /  __/ | |
        |_|  |_|\__,_|_|    \_/ \___|_|_|
 _   _     ____              _
| | | |   | __ )  ___   ___ | |_
| | | |___|  _ \ / _ \ / _ \| __|
| |_| |___| |_) | (_) | (_) | |_
 \___/    |____/ \___/ \___/ \__|

U-Boot 1.1.4 (Mar 19 2009 - 16:06:59) Marvell version: 3.4.16

U-Boot code: 00600000 -> 0067FFF0  BSS: -> 006CEE80

Soc: 88F6281 A0 (DDR2)
CPU running @ 1200Mhz L2 running @ 400Mhz
SysClock = 400Mhz , TClock = 200Mhz

DRAM CAS Latency = 5 tRP = 5 tRAS = 18 tRCD=6
DRAM CS[0] base 0x00000000   size 256MB
DRAM CS[1] base 0x10000000   size 256MB
DRAM Total size 512MB  16bit width
Flash:  0 kB
Addresses 8M - 0M are saved for the U-Boot usage.
Mem malloc Initialization (8M - 7M): Done

CPU : Marvell Feroceon (Rev 1)

Streaming disabled
Write allocate disabled

USB 0: host mode
PEX 0: interface detected no Link.
Net:   egiga0 [PRIME], egiga1
Hit any key to stop autoboot:  0

There's no need to stop the autoboot; wait another minute or two and you should be presented with a login prompt. Sometimes it doesn't appear immediately (if you connected after the boot process is completed, for instance, so there's no harm in hitting enter if you see only an empty screen).

If you connect via ssh, you must first wait for the SheevaPlug to boot up and be assigned an IP address (i.e. it will need to be connected to a network where there is a DHCP server; usually a router or modem will provide such a service).

debian login:

Login as root with password nosoup4u

debian login: root
Last login: Sun Sep 20 17:40:53 UTC 2009 on ttyS0
Linux debian #1 Thu Mar 19 14:46:22 IST 2009 armv5tejl

The programs included with the Ubuntu system are free software;
the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the
individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.

Ubuntu comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by
applicable law.

To access official Ubuntu documentation, please visit:
[email protected]:~#

Now you may use this login to configure the SheevaPlug the way you want it. (The first thing you might want to do is change the root password, and create a non-root user).

In its out-of-the-box configuration, the SheevaPlug will boot in approximately 2 minutes; here's one set of timings:

From power-up to mounting the jffs2 filesystem30 seconds
mounting the jffs2 filesystem70 seconds
final part of boot 20 seconds

See also:

2009-11-07: Edited to clarify that  Fixing the out-of-the-box configuration ( is not appropriate to UBIFS and SD card boot configurations.
2009-11-14: Added link to
2009-11-24: Added link for Mac users
Title: Re: Getting Started
Post by: NewIT_Marcus on 16 February 2010, 03:26:08 pm
If you purchased one of our preconfigured plug options, more details about your configuration may be found in the booting board (,9.0.html)
Title: Re: Getting Started with the Sheevaplug
Post by: NewIT_Marcus on 10 October 2010, 04:05:14 pm
This information was originally posted in our preconfigured Debian SD cards (,271.msg875.html#msg875) thread, but the issue applies to many of the Sheevaplug configurations that we sell, and belongs somewhere for all to see.

From a security point of view, using ssh keys that already exist on a preconfigured plug is not a good idea. You don't know how or when those keys were generated, or who may have had access to those keys. In some cases (it happens on our Fedora SD card), the keys are generated at the time of first boot. You could look into that, and attempt to verify it, and decide whether or not you believed that this was as secure as you would like.

Or you could just go straight ahead with generating new keys (which is what we would recommend, as good security practice):

Code: [Select]
ssh-keygen -q -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_key -N '' -t rsa1
ssh-keygen -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key -N '' -t rsa
ssh-keygen -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key -N '' -t dsa

Note that the ssh keys will have been created on the NAND for all multiboot plugs, and on most SD cards. My recollection (as stated in the original post) is that the ssh keys are generated at the time that they are first required under Fedora; in all other cases that I am aware of the keys will not be unique (ie they will be the same for all plugs where we used the same rootfs for building the SD card, or flashing the NAND).

Bottom line: Regenerate your ssh keys as soon as you possible.

See also (

2010-10-24: Modified to correct ssh commands
Title: Re: Getting Started with the Sheevaplug
Post by: kleptog on 10 October 2010, 05:57:55 pm
Or you could just go straight ahead with generating new keys (which is what we would recommend, as good security practice):

Code: [Select]
ssh-keygen -q -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_key -N  -t rsa1
ssh-keygen -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key -N  -t rsa
ssh-keygen -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key -N  -t dsa


ISTM something got lost above, the -N option requires a argument, you probably intended an empty string, like so:

Code: [Select]
ssh-keygen -q -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_key -N '' -t rsa1
ssh-keygen -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key -N '' -t rsa
ssh-keygen -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key -N '' -t dsa
Title: Re: Getting Started with the Sheevaplug
Post by: NewIT_Marcus on 24 October 2010, 10:06:15 pm
Thank you for the correction. I have modified the original post, so as to avoid confusion.
Title: Sheevaplug with a more current Ubuntu release? (e.g. 10.04 Lucid LTS)
Post by: bittner on 13 April 2011, 08:21:14 am
The SheevaPlug has Ubuntu 9.04 pre-installed.

Marcus, is there any safe and easy way to use a more recent version of Ubuntu on the Sheevaplug? What about apt-pinning (

IIUC, the reason why we can't use 10.04 Lucid LTS is that there is no kernel for running the Sheevaplug in the 10.04 repository. Isn't it possible to pin the kernel and have all remaining packages be taken from a current release? Should be feasible, shouldn't it?

Sorry for not having tried this myself, but I'm so afraid of f***ing up my plug (,616.msg3041.html) again...
Title: Re: Getting Started with the Sheevaplug
Post by: NewIT_Marcus on 13 April 2011, 04:36:53 pm
I thought that the reason more recent versions of Ubuntu aren't available is that ARM binaries aren't offered.

As for pinning, it seems to me that the reason one chooses an O/S - especially one with such a helpful package manager as Debian, but even more so with Ubuntu, is so that one doesn't have to make decisions about software versions; the package manager takes care of it all. It's what I like about my standard desktop setup. If I want to experiment, mix & match, then I am wanting to have more freedom, but I must sacrifice more attention and work on my own part. I'll do that for the sake of experimentation, but not on a production / critical use platform.

Personally, I think that if Ubuntu can be said to be good at anything, it is good at making linux look like a reasonable alternative to a Windows user. I'll even put aside some of my own bad upgrade experiences and suggest that on the whole they probably do a fair job of that. But I don't see desktops as being terribly significant for plug computers, and my own preference is for Debian. Whereas Ubuntu might push through a version number change every 6 months, like it or not, both stable and testing branches of Debian will experience regular updates, and just because they don't have a version number change, it doesn't mean they aren't valuable updates.

I'll bet you can quote examples of packages that you would like to use in versions more recent than that provided by Debian or Ubuntu, but I bet that issue works against plenty of users too. If you want the ultimate freedom, try Slackware; I managed to install it on an SD card; I should have some notes about it somewhere, if you want some hints. But I don't think the [version of the] Operating System is quite as important on a plug, if it is designed for a small number of specific tasks. IMO the aim should be to configure it, stabilise it, then leave it alone as much as possible.

I was under the impression that at some point in the future Ubuntu will support a version of the ARM processor that will be used on future hardware. I don't know the specifics (sorry if that's not very helpful).
Title: Re: Getting Started with the Sheevaplug
Post by: TheoGB on 02 July 2011, 11:35:07 am

For Windows Users:

Do read the .pdf ReadMe that is on the SheevaPlug CD. Appendix B gives instructions on how to install the driver for connecting via the USB miniport.

My eSATA plug arrived without a CD. I decided to just plug it into my PC using the USB anyway and let Windows 7 x64 find the drivers but it tells me it couldn't find a SheevaPlug JTAGKey FT2232D B driver so what do I do next? This is pretty frustrating. :(

Googling isn't helping a great deal.
Title: Re: Getting Started with the Sheevaplug
Post by: TheoGB on 02 July 2011, 06:28:25 pm

I got an email pointing out the driver CD was here:

Title: Re: Getting Started with the Sheevaplug
Post by: TheoGB on 05 July 2011, 07:50:41 am
Just to say: PuTTY does allow cut and paste but it works much like Windows CMD Shell in that you copy in Windows but you just right click the mouse in PuTTY to paste. You can select and do CTRL+C to copy from PuTTY but again, you are given no indication you copied it until you paste elsewhere.
Title: Re: Getting Started with the Sheevaplug
Post by: NewIT_Marcus on 13 July 2011, 07:26:15 am
As of 2011-07ish, see this post (,2278.msg6454.html#msg6454) for a necessary change to apt sources:

Try instead of in your /etc/apt/sources.list
Title: Re: Getting Started with the Sheevaplug
Post by: cumulus on 21 August 2011, 03:32:43 pm
When I read that this tutorial "would save me a great deal of time" to get started with my brand new NewIt Meteo Sheevaplug I must admit that I had some doubts...
I connected the plug to my Mandriva Linux box with the provided mini USB cable and to my router.

A few hours later and a lot of Googling, I got as far as getting the prompt "Marvell>>"
chown uucp /dev/ttyUSB0
cu -s 115200 -l /dev/ttyUSB0

I even discovered that if I typed DHCP I got the plug's router IP (which the router refused to tell me for some reason).
I also found out the hard way how to stop the connection with ~z (2 times Alt Gr ~ and z)...

Now, how can I talk further to my plug and get a login prompt for exemple?

ssh [email protected] is of no help so far.
It answers "ssh: connect to host port 22: No route to host".

Could any one please help me getting some return on my investment.
This Sheevaplug is meant to export meteo data to to my web site .
Title: Re: Getting Started with the Sheevaplug
Post by: peterhodge877 on 10 June 2012, 08:25:21 pm
PuTTY does enable cut as well as paste however it works a lot like Windows CMD Shell because you copy in Windows however you just right click on the computer mouse in PuTTY to paste. You are able to select and also do CTRL+C to copy from PuTTY however once more, one is given virtually no indication you copied it until you paste someplace else.
Title: Re: Getting Started with the Sheevaplug
Post by: manscher on 28 October 2018, 02:46:36 pm
I know this is old, but maybe someone can use an answer anyway (I know I could when I first found this topic). Windows 10 does not allow installation of the USB-to-Serial driver because it is not signed. This worked in Windows 10 for me:

1. Download and unpack the file from
2. Turn off driver signature enforcement using the instructions here: or here: (option 1 didn't work for me)
3. Install the Sheevaplug JTAGKEY FT2232D drivers by connecting the USB cable from SheevaPlug, opening Device Manager, right-clicking and selecting "Update Driver", and browse to the unpacked location. Select to install despite the lack of signature. Do the same to install the USB port after the JTAGKEY driver installs.
4. Use PuTTY or another terminal to connect to the COM port now listed in device manager, 115200 baud.
4. Restart windows to require signing again