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Author Topic: Ubuntu/Debian Lenny/Squeeze  (Read 6133 times)

PierreR

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Ubuntu/Debian Lenny/Squeeze
« on: 12 June 2011, 10:34:20 am »

Hello,
 
Is there any reason or rational that explain why the DreamPlug still ships with Ubuntu 9.04 ? 

Ubuntu 9.04 is a two year old realease based on a test branch from an oldest Debian release "Lenny". It is no more supported by Canonical and Lenny won't be supported within a year.

After a day, I have already experienced some "software" issues:
  - the client wifi mode is not reliable
  - vim after reboot does not want to launch anymore because of a shared python library issue (I had to uninstall it to get vi again)
  - squeezeboxserver stops working overnight (without any apparent reason) and I had to reinstall it to get it back to life

Is there a mid-term migration path (a year or so) that does not require a JTAG module ? Or is it something that you do need (as an simple user) to get software that will last a couple of years from now ?

Does Debian Squeeze support the hardware yet ? Can I be sure that if I bought a JTAG module, I will be able to get a more stable, reliable and maintenable pile of software ? Is it better to wait for some Squeeze point releases ?

I understand that the Dreamplug is more a developer centric device than a production solution. Though as a first step I like to get something as stable as possible (to be used as a music server, NAS, blob server ...)

Thanks for your advices.

Cheers



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rfrazier

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Re: Ubuntu/Debian Lenny/Squeeze
« Reply #1 on: 12 June 2011, 01:43:43 pm »

Debian Stable (Squeeze) is the way I would go/have gone.  It was the Testing distribution until it became stable in February of this year.  So,  Squeeze should be good for a couple of years at least, unless you are interested in running bleeding edge stuff.

The version of the Linux kernel you run is quasi-independent of the version of Debian.  The supplied Debian filesystem uses Lenny (old stable) and  has the 2.6.33 kernel.  Since that kernel worked just fine, I kept it when I upgraded from Lenny to Squeeze.  So, my DreamPlug is running the 2.6.33 kernel and Debian Squeeze (Stable).   My DreamPlug went live two days after receiving it, after I upgraded to Squeeze, and has been going 7/24 since then, with 37 days uptime.

I have a different view about the value of the JTAG.  I'm not using the DreamPlug as a development board, but rather as a low power server.  Still, I would be very unhappy not to have the  JTAG.  This is because it gives console access.  Think about setting up a non-wallwart server.  To get things sorted at the very beginning you connect to it using the video out, and keyboard in.  That gives you console access.  I seldom can set up a new computer without making any mistakes in setting up things like SSH and networking.   On a big server, one can easily recover from problems because one has direct console access (video out and keyboard in).   On the DreamPlug, there is no video out, so one needs a serial connection/terminal, The JTAG provides that. 
For me, that's the main reason it is useful.   This means that if I mess up the networking, or mess up SSH, etc., I can still get access.   

Once set up, I can usually administer the server via SSH.  However, even then, if something goes wrong with SSH or networking, I would need console access.   

(One way to think of the cost of the JTAG  is to think about it as if you are buying a video card for the server.  I suspect that the main reason that the DreamPlug is even sold without a JTAG is that one can do with one JTAG, even if one has a number of DreamPlugs, or other plug computers.  I would have never dreamed of getting a DreamPlug without being able to have console access. ) 

Best wishes,
Bob

   

 
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IvanSanchez

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Re: Ubuntu/Debian Lenny/Squeeze
« Reply #2 on: 12 June 2011, 03:12:17 pm »

Is there a mid-term migration path (a year or so) that does not require a JTAG module ? Or is it something that you do need (as an simple user) to get software that will last a couple of years from now ?

Well, you can always pry the dreamplug open, get the microSD card out, put a new filesystem in there, put everything back in place.

Does Debian Squeeze support the hardware yet?

As far as I know, yes, squeeze supports the hardware. I am using a stock Debian Stable install and have no problems so far (though I haven't tinkered with WiFi and BT much). I wrote a little tool to make installing a stock Debian easier, so if you're willing to try, look over http://www.newit.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,2073.0.html

Can I be sure that if I bought a JTAG module, I will be able to get a more stable, reliable and maintenable pile of software?

No - a JTAG will allow you to:
* Access the uboot parameters (and make the plug boot from a SD card or a USB pendrive)
* See what's happening during boot (so you can diagnose problems)
* Have a serial console (so you can manually boot into singleuser mode if e.g. a filesystem cannot be mounted during boot)

A JTAG is not strictly needed, but it will greatly ease the pain of swapping the OS with a different one.


Cheers,
Iván
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