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PebbleLinux


What is it?

External link Pebble Linux is a small distribution based on Debian stable.
The main difference between it and a minimal Debian installation is that it's designed to work from read-only media such as Flash Ram and it's focused on wireless networking from the start.
The file system has been reworked to allow it to run on various embedded style devices but it will still run as a normal system and in fact a low-end pentium with a small hard drive is suitable, if that is all you have.

The hardsell

As of July 2004, a search of this wiki returns only one node using it, NodeGES.
I can speak with authority for that node :-) and can report that PebbleLinux performs as well as its parent distribution.

If anyone is looking for a dedicated linux wireless solution, regardless of whether you own a External linkSoekris boards, External link Stylstic 1000 or other embedded device, External link Pebble Linux is a strong contender.

Included packages

While NodeGES doesn't use NoCatAuth, it is included with the distribution. The MadWiFi drivers are also there along with HostAP, in fact the current External linkREADME shows the following packages...
Based on Debian GNU/Linux 3.0r1 (Woody)
Linux Kernel 2.4.26 - with Crypto modules
HostAP - 0.1.3 stable and utils and hostapd
MadWiFi CVS version from 04/20/2004
Prism54 1.1 stable
bridge-tools
djbdns caching dns server
elvis (tiny vi)
nano (tiny pico)
gnupg
iptables 1.2.6a
lynx
wget
lsof
host (DNS lookups, using instead of nslookup or dig)
lilo
NoCatAuth, running as non-root user, post 0.81 nightly
ntpdate
openSSH server 3.4p1-1.woody.2 patched
openSSL 0.9.6c patched with security fixes backported by Debian
pcmcia-cs (kernel module pcmcia)
Perl 5.6.1
ppp
pppoe
rsync
tcpdump
ISC dhcpd and dhclient
zebra 0.92a-5 (BGP, OSPF, RIP Routing Daemon)

Additional packages

Being based on a well supported distribution, packages can be added or removed using apt-get, the only limitation may be your available file system space.
If necessary, selected packages may be built on another Debian stable system for transfer to the router.

Installation

Installation is different to the usual method.
You will need an existing Linux installation to perform the install, either your machine or someone elses (clues follow, if that hint isn't obvious enough).
Pebble comes packaged as a near working image. (ie:- a base system that's compressed into a External linktarball) which then needs to be unpacked onto the target drive. Some minimal configuration then remains to make the new drive bootable, after that YMMV depending on the PCMCIA cards used. (Veritechs work straight out of the box, no doubt other Prism2 cards will as well.)
The full installation details are in the current External linkREADME

Installation help

As with any installation difficulties may be encountered but help is available from the External linkpebble mailing list (or privately for Melbourne Wireless node owners).

Summary

In summary, don't dismiss Pebble Linux as being a niche distribution, instead view it as a small sized (low bloat) wireless distribution that needs minimum configuration to get started. After installation it can become as big as you want!
For the installation and subsequent configuration, consider the learning curve as being valuable and useful experience. (The installation uses a universally accepted method of on the fly transfers - no need for External linkNorton Ghost)


Version 2 (current) modified Tue, 03 Jul 2007 23:12:18 +1000
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