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NSLU2 and python - a love story ?

Has anybody done any work using Python on the Linksys NSLU2[1][2]? I'm
especially interested in stuff related to compiling additional modules,
like PIL. There are allready a bunch of stuff available in the current
replacement-firmware, but PIL seems to be missing.

If you haven't heard about the NSLU2-box yet start with the references
below and then google for it. It's very small, quiet, cheap and runs a
complete linux system, with python available ( and MySQL, PostgreSQL,
Apache etc etc ). It's very cool =)

Anyway, any information related to python and the nslu2-box are of
interest.

Regards,
Thomas

References :
[1] : http://www.nslu2-linux.org/
[2] :
http://www.linksys.com/products/prod...id=43&prid=640

Jul 19 '05 #1
3 2246

"Thomas W" <th***********@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:11**********************@g43g2000cwa.googlegr oups.com...
If you haven't heard about the NSLU2-box yet start with the references
below and then google for it. It's very small, quiet, cheap and runs a
complete linux system, with python available ( and MySQL, PostgreSQL,
Apache etc etc ). It's very cool =)
[1] : http://www.nslu2-linux.org/
[2] :
http://www.linksys.com/products/prod...id=43&prid=640


The Linksys product literature [2] never mentions the word Linux, so I
gather a) that it is an add-on and b) that the user group [1] is quite
unofficial. For those curious, the price is about $100.

The product lit also says 0 about the internal hardware but I found this:
http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/Info/CPUOverview. 266 Mhtz, 32 Mb Ram + 8
MB flash, which is pretty minimal these days. So unless one wants it for
the designed purpose (or similar), it is not obviously cheap.

I am curious what Python application you have in mind.

Terry J. Reedy


Jul 19 '05 #2
Well, AFAIK people are running web-sites using apache, php and mysql on
it and with ok performance. I'm not saying this would replace a real
server, but for normal home-use with not too much traffic it seems to
do the job.

It's a fact that Linksys uses a somewhat modified version of linux on
the NSLU2, maybe they don't advertise it on their web-page, but who
cares? They got similar products based on or running linux which also
have replacement-firmware. The point is that alot of people have
modified their NSLU2, which by the way don't remove any of the
functionality of the original product as I understand it, and made it
possible to do cool things with it; run a subversion server for their
projects etc. and by adding up to two large ( 300GB + ) drives you have
enought storage for most things. And FYI the root filesystem can be
stored on one of the USB-devices. It doesn't have to be stored on the
8MB flash.

My interest in it is due to the fact that my current two servers makes
alot of noise, are big and uses alot of eletricity. If I could replace
them with a NLSU2 running linux and python I could use all my allready
developed software on a system costing 1/10th of my current server,
with almost no noise and consume very little eletricity. I just think
that's very interesting.

The first project I have in mind is a web-interface to my digital image
collection, in which I can organise the pictures in categories, add
metadata, generate galleries and slideshows etc. From what I can see
the NSLU2 would have little problems serving this specific purpose, in
addition to serving the images thru samba as well so I can access them
with my laptop, my KISS DP-558 PVR and my XBox. The
"distro"/replacement-firmware for the NSLU2 allready have most of the
modules I need ( CherryPy, pySQLite/SQLite ). The only thing missing
is, as I said earlier, PIL.

I think anything running linux and especially Python, is awsome, I'll
admit that. Perhaps I'm just blinded by all that and cannot see the
fact that 266Mhz isn't enough "juice". But I really do think the NSLU2
is suitable for running a project like I described above, based on the
stuff I've read about other projects using the box. If I'm wrong a
heads up would be great so I can save my money. Save money to buy a
mini mac/mini intel/barebone, because that's the alternative for me
right now, and really silent barebone systems tend to cost alot more,
generate heat and use electricity like a normal computer ( and pack
alot more punch of course ).

I don't own a NSLU2 yet, but intend to buy one soon. If the python
project is successful I'll post some info here.

Jul 19 '05 #3

"Thomas W" <th***********@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:11**********************@g49g2000cwa.googlegr oups.com...
have replacement-firmware. The point is that alot of people have
modified their NSLU2, which by the way don't remove any of the
functionality of the original product as I understand it,
There are two replacement firmware images. One extends the original
firmware functionality (moving data back and forth from ethernet/internet
to usb strorage). The other, for Linux experts, replaces it.
My interest in it is due to the fact that my current two servers makes
alot of noise, are big and uses alot of eletricity.
I had not thought of that aspect.
The first project I have in mind is a web-interface to my digital image
collection, in which I can organise the pictures in categories, add
metadata, generate galleries and slideshows etc. From what I can see
the NSLU2 would have little problems serving this specific purpose, in
addition to serving the images thru samba as well so I can access them
with my laptop, my KISS DP-558 PVR and my XBox. The
"distro"/replacement-firmware for the NSLU2 allready have most of the
modules I need ( CherryPy, pySQLite/SQLite ). The only thing missing
is, as I said earlier, PIL.

I think anything running linux and especially Python, is awsome, I'll
admit that. Perhaps I'm just blinded by all that and cannot see the
fact that 266Mhz isn't enough "juice".


It depends on your image sizes and amount of processing you want to do on
the NSLU2. For uncompressed TIFFs from multimegapixel cameras, 32MB will
be cramped. One can apparently expand memory, but "A new kernel will be
necessary to enable usage of the extra memory. " I don't know if this
means the new kernel in either or both the replacements or one that one has
to supply.

60K jpeg web images are a different story.

For interactive processing of such large images (like color correction,
edge finding, etc) my experience (with 300-400MH Win machines) suggests
that you might find 256MH somewhat pokey. But I don't know what you are
used to with your laptop or current servers. I don't know what 'generate
gallery' requires.

Terry J. Reedy

Jul 19 '05 #4

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