rsync to an NSLU2

My only real complaint with my Linksys NSLU2 is that it doesn’t have a very accurate clock. Tools like rsync expect identical timestamps, or flag source and destination files as different. This causes most of your files to be rewritten, even though the source and destination are in fact the same.
This fixes it:

rsync --size-only -av src dest

obsolescence: the failing …

One of my backup drives on the NSLU2 started to fail (it won’t always spin up), so I nipped into Canada Computers and bought a 320GB replacement for a moderate number of $. Swapped the old drive out of the Vantec NexStar case, and — nothing.

Seems that the first-gen NexStars only support up to 250GB. Looks like I’m off to the computer store tomorrow.

Fixing bad shares on the NSLU2

Much as I like my NSLU2, it has a serious problem when it loses power; its share information often goes kablooey. There’s a not very elegant way of fixing this.

Say, f’rinstance, you had a share called Files on Disk 2. Sometimes you’ll find that this has gone, or migrated to the wrong disk, and there’s invariably a share called Files~1, usually on Disk 1. To fix this:

  • Delete the Files~1 share.
  • If you have a Files share and it’s inaccessible through the normal methods, delete that.
  • Recreate the Files share on Disk 2. Do not change the location, unless you’d put it somewhere strange to start off with.

Your share should be back. I find that it sometimes usually changes the user permissions, so you may have to fiddle with ownership and group membership. You can fix this:

  1. Delete the user from the Users tab  (but don’t delete the group and share – these are greyed out – and definitely don’t delete the folder)
  2. Delete the group, from the Advanced → Groups tab
  3. Delete the share, from the Advanced → Shares tab
  4. Recreate the user (from the Setup → Users tab), and select Create Private Folder (Share), giving the appropriate location for the share.

You can then save the configuration to allow you to quickly restore the settings. Nope, the reboot that’s carried out on restore makes the whole problem come back again – aargh!

no use UPS

I inherited a big UPS for my NSLU2 backup system. It’s all hooked up, and should be providing protection. I don’t think the power went out today, but I find this evening that the NSLU2 is off — what’s that all about?

Linksys NSLU2 – Network Storage for the people

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 — and tell the unit to make a subdirectory for that user — than fiddle about with other methods of making shares. You’ll also need to enable smbfs (File Systems → Network file Systems → 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 /mnt, and 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 smb://squirrel/craine.

The NSLU2 looks like it will be rock-solid. It has a couple of quirks — 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 — but I can put up with slowness if the data’s secure.