I’d been looking for a backup solution for a while, and yesterday I found it in the very small shape of the Linksys NSLU2 – Network Storage Link for USB 2.0 Disk Drives. There’s been a lot of talk recently about hacking these tiny embedded Linux boxes, but I just want to store stuff from my Linux machines and Catherine’s eMac.
I bought it, an external USB2.0 3.5″ drive case, and a 160GB Seagate driver yesterday from Canada Computers on College St for under C$350, including tax. It took about half an hour to assemble it, install it, and format the drive from the web interface.
I find it’s easiest to make named users â€” and tell the unit to make a subdirectory for that user â€” than fiddle about with other methods of making shares. You’ll also need to enable smbfs (File Systems â†’ Network file Systems â†’ SMBFS support in your kernel config) on your Linux machines.
I have created three shares: scruss (for me), craine (for Catherine) and mp3 (for our shared MP3 collection). I have created relevant directories from
chmoded them to the appropriate user. These are the lines I have added to my fstab:
//squirrel/scruss /mnt/smb_scruss smbfs username=scruss,password=******,rw,users 0 0
//squirrel/mp3 /mnt/mp3 smbfs username=mp3,password=******,rw,users 0 0
I renamed the NSLU2 squirrel to fit in with the Canadian rodent theme I’ve got going with the other machines around here.
With Catherine’s eMac, I’ve found I have to use the OS X 10.1 / .nsmbrc method. Once you have the shares defined in the
.nsmbrc file, you can call them up by doing Connect to Server and specifying something like smb://netbiosname/share, like
The NSLU2 looks like it will be rock-solid. It has a couple of quirks â€” it formats the drive in Linux ext3 format, it will shut down at the slightest hint of a power glitch, and it’s rather slow â€” but I can put up with slowness if the data’s secure.