Thursday, September 30, 2004

Very Cool Gadget: - Linksys/Cisco NSLU2 Thingamajig

Here in Michigan I don't have access to the same setup I have back home in Arizona (an office full of computers with lots of Linux-based goodness). I've got my laptop (with crap POS Windows XP Home on it - uhg - must.fix.with.this.soon) and drag around with me as needed. One of things I miss is being able to backup to a central Linux server running Samba.

I've been paranoid about my lack of a decent backup system... until now!

If you think you might be interested in what is probably the world's cheapest Linux box - check out the NSLU2.

I guess it's been on the market for at least six months, but somehow I missed it. This little gadget thingy runs Linux and lets you attach two external USB drives to it and ta da - a baby fileserver. The NSLU2 is a Linux box running Samba and all kinds of other Linux-loving goodness (I guess it even has undocumented support for NFS along with SMB - Hot Dang!).

A greate source of info on hacking this cool product is here.

I'm surprised the suits at Cisco Systems haven't closed this box up yet (even the latest firmware remains cool and geek-friendly), sued the coders who are exploiting the potential of this device under provisions of the DMCA, and then ground sales to a halt and punishing all who come near. Very odd behavior for suits, and this leads me to suspect that someone within Linksys is either an engineer running the product management for the NSLU2 or ... gosh. I'm stumped.

Now, I am happy. I can backup - even remotely if I want by using the built-in web server of the NSLU2. What a cool product. This also does a nice job illustrating how open source MAKES MONEY. It's the next paradigm of software development and Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer needs to think about making the company... normal.... and less scary.


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