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Device Profile: OpenBlockS “micro-server”

May 16, 2003 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Plat'C2 (Plat Communication Components Inc. — Tokyo, Japan) introduced a tiny PowerPC-based Linux “micro-server” at the recent NAB2003 show in Las Vegas, NV. The OpenBockS comes with two 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports, and is said to be useable “off-the-shelf” as a fully functional firewall/router, mail server, or web server. With the addition of an optional plug-in CompactFlash card and hard disk, it becomes a “powerful general purpose Linux server that fits in the palm of your hand,” noted Toshiya Goto, the company's chief technology officer.

The miniscule (4.5 x 3.2 x 1.5 in.) server is based on a 266MHz IBM PowerPC 405GP embedded processor equipped with 64MB SDRAM and 8MB Flash memory. For connectivity, it provides a pair of 10/100Base-T Ethernet ports plus two RS232C serial ports (one configured as a console port). A 2.5-in. laptop-style IDE hard drive can be installed directly inside the tiny box, and there is also a built-in CompactFlash slot for other expansion purposes. Another option offered is a PCMCIA (Card Bus) adapter.

The embedded OS used inside OpenBockS is a port of LinuxPPC using Linux kernel 2.4.20, said Goto. “The software used in the device is completely open source, so users are free to add components and applications as they see fit,” he added. To ease the task of developing applications for the tiny system, the company provides a complete open source development environment, Gogo said.

“IPv6 porting took some work,” noted Goto. “Since we chose a non-X86 chip, we have had to go through a learning curve and work hard to fix bugs and solve other issues.”

Since there is no built-in display, Plat'C2 provided a web-based graphical setup program that is used to configure the device.

The OpenBlocS micro-server is currently available for shipment to customers, the company said.

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