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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:17 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:49 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Southampton, UK
Hi,

I've spent the last few evenings reading various posts on the wiki and forum to try to work out how best to tackle updating my Freelink. I'm understanding most of it, but one thing (From this post) bothers me...
duncan_h wrote:
There are no buffalo kernel sources for Linkstation Pro/Live later than 2.6.16. For recent kernels, you need to wipe your system clean (or use a new clean SATA drive) and install a lenny-based armel root filesystem, and a recent 2.6.2x kernel.

Question: Is this really true? Is there a fundamental reason why it's impossible to go from the freelink install from here to a more up to date (2.6.2x) kernel and Lenny without blowing away a year of configuration and data and then requiring a serial port or dismantling the box and need *another* linux box? Surely it's possible to update an existing fully working linux distro?

There's much discussion and desription about how up-to-date kernels have been developed and a couple of decent descriptions (e.g. davy_gravy and wiki), but they've not exactly made it mainstream yet (i.e. pre-compiled binaries, .deb packages etc etc) in the same way that freelink was.

Why do i want to update? Well, I bought the LS-Live about a year ago to use as a NAS and a low-powered "always on" Linux box. I had freelink installed within a couple of hours of the postman delivering it. Since then it's been serving admirably as NAS/Server as well as running MySql and various "automatic" tasks for me. Now, i'd like to open up an SSH port through my ADSL/Router/NAT/Firewall to allow remote access to it, but before exposing it to the internet, I want to get it as secure as possible first. Hence, something a bit more modern than 2.6.12+Etch...

I'm interested in helping to develop a "user friendly" upgrade assuming it doesn't already exist and assuming there's no fundamental show stopper. I have a fair amount of professional embedded Linux/U-Boot experience, albeit with bringing up new PPC boards from scratch rather than ARM. Hence, i'm reasonably happy with most of the stuff, just disinclined to spend hours on end sorting it out after spending all day doing it at work! Talk about a busmans holiday... ;)

Cheers,
Alan.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:52 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:49 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Southampton, UK
I sort of found an answer to my question...

An item on the Debian Wiki describes how to migrate an existing arm installation to an armel installation using a chroot, pretty much as this description also does. So it seems there is an alternative to blowing everything away and starting again.

However, I've also been getting my head around the workings of Freelink-EM and it looks as though that might be able to do the armel/Lenny installation, if it's provided with an appropriately packaged and named rootfs and/or kernel. It can blow away the existing rootfs, reformat (if required) and unpack stuff. Is there a reason no one has done this yet? Going a step further, I can't see why it wouldn't be possible to package armel/Lenny up appropriately for LSUpdate to use? :?

What i intend to do is to develop a script that'll check out some preconditions, do a dpkg --get-selections etc, back-up/package the existing rootfs, place the armel/Lenny packages in the right place, reboot, have Freelink-EM install them and when it boots into armel/Lenny does dpkg --set-selections etc and migrates some of the (easier) existing config across. It might even insert some of the existing config into the new rootfs before Freelink-EM installs it. If it all goes horribly wrong then it should be possible to use Freelink-EM + telnet to re-install the existing setup from the backup package. And if that doesn't work, then there's always tftp boot to fallback to. It might even be possible to modify Freelink-EM to automatically re-install the backup if the new rootfs doesn't boot properly.

Of course, it would be even better if Archtakeover was available ;)

Cheers,
Alan.

p.s. I had intended to post the original question in the software development area, but got it wrong.. newbies eh? :oops:


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