SheevaPlug, tiny linux server

plugserv

This little wall plug is actually a full computer with 1.2GHz cpu, with 512MB of RAM and 512MB of of flash memory. It comes with versions of linux, ported for its ARM processor. At $50, this cool system could be finding itself in a lot of homes. You can get more information from the manufacturer. What uses can you think of for it?

[thanks, everyone who sent this in]

132 thoughts on “SheevaPlug, tiny linux server

  1. i would love to add a usb-based input device to turn it into a home automation remote. control the stereo from another room, turn lights on/off, etc. the problem is there’s no display so the buttons would have to be very specific… anybody got a good usb device with lots of buttons in a decent looking case and a howto? =)

  2. Rouge Server! Man, you could do all sorts of things with that bad boy. It’s discreet enough that if you plugged it in and connected the ethernet to it, only a technician would even think to stop and ponder it’s purpose.

  3. It could be a good platform for sensors and home automation, especially if there is an undocumented serial port in there somewhere.

    Add an Arduino and an xbee and you’ve got an ethernet accessible xbee node.

  4. should have enough “uumph” to be a networked webcam, just add usb webcam. plus all sorts of home automation.

    you could also use it scour flickr and plug it into a cheap digital pic frame, just slap jpegs in an emulated USB disk drive.

  5. Also, this could be used for a number of not-so-good things. It would be simple enough to program it to work with a usb-based wireless card, have it sniff open wireless connections in a place like Starbucks, and easily grab passwords and other important data. Tech this small and easy starts getting very dangerous very quickly.

  6. it would also make a fantastic traffic sniffer thanks to that SD port. i can’t count the number of times i’ve wanted an IDS somewhere I didn’t have one.

    sheevaplug/snort/a mirror port would be a handy combination. you could add usb wifi for a management interface, if needed.

  7. I wish they had brought out the PCIe on the chip. A mini PCI-express connector for wifi or other stuff would’ve been very cool.

  8. You can control home automation using the Ethernet jack, can’t you?

    Also, you can get a serial to USB converter cable, plug into the arduno, and voila!

  9. I was thinking about using to do the job of a mobile authentication/directory server. Load it up with LDAP, samba for winbind, dhcpd, maybe radius for some 802.1x auth, and hell, even asterisk and you could setup a portable intranet by literally just plugging this and a wifi router into a power outlet. Great for everything from lan parties to disaster recovery.

    For $50, it’s cheap enough to monkey around with it.

  10. hmm, you could;
    make a simple script that emails you the current [external] ip, setup openvpn on it, then connect it somewhere [at work / school], and presto! free [or $99 if you don't plan to later retrieve the server] vpn service. :]

  11. yeah x10 is the first thing I though of when I saw this thing. All you would need to do is wire the x10 dongle back to the powerline. I couldn’t think of any other use for it though.

  12. At first I said “Cool!” but I realized that there isn’t really anything I would do with it that I don’t already do my NSLU2, which is not much.
    * a NAS?
    * plug a USB 1-wire adapter into it and make a Zone heating control system for my house (something I’ve thought about doing with my slug)

    I like that it is supper low power. When I stopped using my slug as a Nas, I noticed the drop in my electrical bill, but that was probably the cheap usb enclosure I was using.

    At $100 for the dev kit, it’s not really competitive with a Slug which can usually be found for under $100 these days.

  13. corporate espionage comes to mind.. phone home software on it, plug it in near a network jack and boom you have a beachhead. Discreet enough that noone would think much about it.

  14. note that they only said it could *once* be $50, for now they’re listing it as a $99 device. so here in europe we’ll probably buy it for E120. a euro was worth how much dollar?

  15. @mike

    “anybody got a good usb device with lots of buttons in a decent looking case and a howto? =)”

    i believe what you’re looking for is known as a “keyboard”. ;)

  16. As a developer with a lot of home projects, I like the idea of a carry it with me SVN server. Crossover cat5 and my laptop and I’d have my full dev environment wherever i went! I’d prolly need more than 512Mb, but 2Gb oughta be plenty.

    1. You can run an Subversion server with less than 64MB, unless you are one of those retards who think all servers should be running a window manager or some trash like CPanel.

      1. Easy now, he was probably referring to the Flash storage, not the RAM of the device.
        I added an http://evercu.be to mine, made it a lot more versatile, and very close to synology’s NAS solutions. except for room for 5 hdd’s for the price of a single disc one.

  17. They did not bring out any interface to LCD or touch screen. I think the cpu is capable. This would also be a nice ARM dev board /embedded linux dev board, housed in its own powersource.

  18. I was really hoping to see the $50.00 part stick. With a decent sized SD or USB drive this thing could be a small Terminal Server, Web Server, or even an ipcop/smoothwall with an added usb nic.

    I’ll keep watching this for sure.

    Jei

  19. Streaming web cam for security based systems ie zoneMinder, motion.. setup to nas box for offsite storage…you get the idea

  20. Admitantly I love the idea, not sure how practical it is in the end tho, it’s nice if maybe you want a limited webserver just for the sake, maybe a small media server if you like… but now days you really want more than that.

    the IP cam idea isn’t bad but is it really cost effective, and how many cheap cams can you get running under linux?

    The only thing I think would be neat is maybe just adding a USB bluetooth module and running it as some kind of advertising tool or just a simple bluetooth AP, again not all that useful tho.

  21. because this has such a tiny power footprint, you could easily setup a webserver for yourself on your home cable connection and use dyndns or similar. at only 5W you are looking at under $.50 per month at peak usage.

    this would also be interesting to setup with openvpn or hamachi as a network intrusion device.

  22. NAS for sure, I have an NSLU2 sitting on my gig network – it tops out at 5 MB/s. This thing has a gig adapter and USB 2 – so it should be able to do a little better.

  23. …Why do so many people want to hook up an arduino to a device that could be basically the same as an arduino with a little bit of programming? I do not understand.

    Not too hackish, but I don’t think a 512 MB device is terribly useful these days. A 1GB ram chip would probably only cost an extra $10 with the RAM market plummeting.

    Would it not make sense to pop this thing open and see about modding in some more ports or upgrading the ram?

  24. I’m thinking (once the price drops) buy 10-20 of these, some power strips, and a couple of switches, and bam: instant render farm/beowulf cluster. Of course, at $99 apiece, it still isn’t bad (considering how versatile it is.)

    I wonder if there would be any way to rig a monitor up to this thing and use it as a low-end home pc.

  25. Now if only it had a power socket on the front for piggy-backing (and not taking up an entire socket) and an in-built solid-state relay controlled by the CPU so you can switch the other device on or off via software.

  26. You guys do realize this is a development kit and not a proper commercial product right? So you can take the kit, and implement all your brilliant ideas, then sell it as a product :)

    but I agree with amd, would be nice if the PCI-E and SATA connections were broken out.

  27. This thing has better specs than the box that I’m currently using as a server, with the exception of the storage. However, that could be fixed with a $25 dollar 16 GB SDHC card.
    What would be really interesting is if a several people each bought one and then used the group as a distributed server. They would share storage, bandwidth, and computational capacity. It seems like that would be a really scalable idea. If the security issues could be worked out, people all over the world could make some sort of crazy huge network of them that would work like Amazon EC3. I wish I could pull that off.

  28. plug’n’play webserver. imagine you go to some crazy huge conference. just setup your own irc channel, dropbox, wikis, etc. would be sweet!

  29. Mind boggles with possibilities! I definitely want one! Imagine the GEEK points with this! Step up to a girl and say: Hey! I’ve got a server in my pocket!
    Bwahahaha! Precious!

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