Linux on the iomega iConnect – Part I

The iConnect is a small cheap and very hackable ARM NAS, the device is based on the Kirkwood SoC platform.

Hardware highlights are

  • 4 USB ports (on a hub so bandwidth limited)
  • Single mini PCI express port with a Ralink based wireless card included (this can be replaced by something such as an Atheros based card)
  • Gigabit ethernet
  • ARMv5 CPU running at 1Ghz, with 256MB of RAM and 512MB of NAND flash
  • Serial port easily accessible for a serial console
  • Decent version of uboot that supports tftp, nand and usb booting and includes drivers for ext2 and fat filesystems.

I got mine intending to use it for backups but I’ve basically spent a week playing with it learning uboot as well as Linux on ARM as well as booting a number of different versions of linux on.

So far I’ve managed to boot Archlinux, Debian and Fedora on the iConnect and they all work but Debian and Fedora don’t have kernels with the iConnect patches in from the main repos so need a patched kernel to get some of the little extras working.

I’ve now settled on Debian wheezy installed on a 8gig usb memory stick as the best bet for the board, and I will need to spend some time setting up the backups up.