I bought a D-Link DNS-323 NAS box a while ago with the mind to put Debian on it (it already ships with Linux, but I wanted more control). Previously I installed Debian under a chroot environment which activated itself on boot, but it wasn’t really clean or nice.
I came across a blog post by Martin Michlmayr where he talks about getting Debian working on a CH3SNAS, and mentions he might write an installation guide. I emailed him encouraging him to do so, and that I’d be happy to test it for him and provide feedback. He replied with his information once it had started to take shape. Today I finally had a chance to test it out.
I followed the installation instructions on his website and it worked perfectly! I now have Debian running natively on my little ARM box and it’s very, very awesome.
Although the box has a gigabit network card, it never transferred anything fast enough to prove it. Copying a 4GB ISO file took 31minutes, averaging around 2.2MB/sec rate which is not even 100Mbit speed. So don’t expect to be serving up high definition movies to your network from this box.
Anyway, if you have one of these boxes, then I highly recommend that you give this a shot. Debian on a tiny little appliance.. it doesn’t get much better than that!
Update: There are some things which don’t work, most of which I didn’t care about, except one. Fan control. I figured this meant the fan couldn’t speed up and slow down based on internal temperatures, but it actually means “fan doesn’t work at all”. The result is that drives can run hot, damn hot in that little box without any air flow. Something to think about if you’re going to install native Debian.
Update #2: The fan issue is now solved.