OpenWRT On A Seagate FreeAgent Dockstar

The Seagate FreeAgent Dockstar aims to make all of your stuff available online. It serves that purpose but sometimes you just want more options for controlling your hardware and running some scripts. [Eric Cooper] put together a guide for installing OpenWRT on the Dockstar by building your own kernel and loading it onto the internal storage. Once you have a kernel that will play nicely with the hardware, you can install it by tunneling in through SSH; the same method you would use if you wanted to run Linux on this hardware. If you have problems along the way, [Eric’s] also included a guide for cracking the Dockstar open and connecting a serial cable.

50 thoughts on “OpenWRT On A Seagate FreeAgent Dockstar

  1. That’s awesome, basically a cheap ($30 on amazon) file server/NAS box? Useful and cheap, just the way hackers like it!

    Bet you could just use a buspirate instead of a serial cable, too.

  2. American hackers, please buy some Dockstars and sell them on eBay with some realistic shipping & handling. Those Dockstars are far too expensive here in Europe compared to USD 25 prices out there. Thanks :)

  3. Are there any good resources on how to build scripts for Open-WRT?

    I can program a full 3D graphical program but I can’t for the life of me figure out shell scripting.

  4. I got one of these on woot a while back, as soon as it showed up I cracked it open, mounted an internal memory stick into it, and installled Plugbox Linux on it. Its cool, a little 1.2mhz cpu, boots from flash… worth the investment if you are looking for a cheap, sufficiently powerful cpu unit.

  5. I was one of the pioneers in installing openwrt and then ddwrt on the fon router. I am working on instruction set now for dd-wrt on the dockstar.
    That will give you command line newbies some help.
    Yes this is primary a distro for routing but you install pkgs for anything like a webserver,phone system,kismet drone or more depending on your hardware.

  6. @M4CGYV3R

    “””This tutorial assumes no previous knowledge of scripting or programming, but progresses rapidly toward an intermediate/advanced level of instruction . . . all the while sneaking in little nuggets of UNIX® wisdom and lore. It serves as a textbook, a manual for self-study, and a reference and source of knowledge on shell scripting techniques. The exercises and heavily-commented examples invite active reader participation, under the premise that the only way to really learn scripting is to write scripts. “””

  7. @cpmike
    I’d be a lot more interested in it if it had dual gigabit networking ports, or even dual 100Mbit ones. Looks like it would make a sweet little router. I could then make my linksys WRT54G V8 into nothing more than a AP. As for using it as a NAS, seems like it would be hard to back up, be slow transfer wise, and provide no redundancy. Granted if this could handle mediatomb and a 2TB drive I could see me buying one.

  8. OpenWRT is, at this point, much more of a generic embedded linux distribution than just a router OS – although it still does the router work extremely well (if you know what you are doing). If your development process builds an image and then uploads it to the device, it’s worth a look. Using their build system, buildroot-ng, it’s a bit less work than setting up a gentoo system without changing defaults, and you can control what goes into the image quite tightly. There is provision for building stuff as packages, as well, which can be insalled after the fact.

  9. This is still insanely expensive in the UK!

    The O2 Joggler (1.3 Atom, 512Meg Ram, 1gig MMC, Gbit) was £50 ($80 inc tax) yet these are between £40-80

    Dam shame, I’ve got a hankering for a gadget :P

  10. International HaD visitors: Is there really that much demand for these outside the US? I’d be happy to buy a couple for cheap here and send them along, but I don’t have any idea what the shipping would be, or if it would be worth your money.

  11. Check your local office depot stores. they have these on clearance (probably very hard to find, as its hit sites like slickdeals months ago) for $1. This is probably why you see these going so cheap on ebay. dont bother asking the employees if you cant find it on the shelves, find a kiosk and query sku 434466. HTH

  12. I’m running Gentoo on my Dockstar, got it for $20 at Woot. I couldn’t get the Sheevaplug Debian squeeze installer or lenny rootfs image to work but if someone tried harder they could surely do it; I didn’t care enough as I already had the working Gentoo system. I used the kernel patches from the second link in the post, and the precompiled u-boot and blparam from the Plugbox Linux guys. It’s got a 1.2Ghz Marvell Kirkwood ARM processor, 128 megs of RAM, and gigabit ethernet. It’s a pretty nice machine, a lot better than my old NSLU2 – and it has the bonus of being powered on whenever it’s connected to AC power instead of having a power button, so it’s self-restoring after power outages without hardware modification. Also, the onboard serial console has a header already attached, no soldering necessary. I got it for $20 from Woot the other day, and it can be found for similarly low prices on and ebay. The only real downside is the lack of RTC – requires modification of boot scripts to set the time early on in the boot process.

  13. “you can install it by tunneling in through SSH; the same method you would use if you wanted to run Linux on this hardware”

    And there was me thinking OpenWRT used Linux ;-)
    UKian here, would love to get one of these too!

  14. The instructions are based on the Sheevaplug target of OpenWRT, modded into running on the Dockstar. Hopefully he’s working on an OpenWRT patch to create a proper Dockstar target; that would make it a lot easier for people to build it.

    Doesn’t take anything away from the coolness, though!


  15. I’d still like to buy one. Ebay sellers have postages starting from $10, some of them ask for $30… Please, this is a chance to earn some $ :)

    I’d try to install Gentoo on it, maybe get proper RTC on it and think if i could use the S/PDIF connection in the main CPU for some music. Think about 20-dollar NAS playing music and other stuff.

  16. Where is the cheapest place to buy one of these? I’m trying to get one in a couple days time without going through ebay. I haven’t been able to find these things for $20 but I have found them for $40 shipped.

  17. If I flash custom firmware on this box, will PogoPlug web interface still work on a box or not? I’m interested in having access to files, streaming etc with no need for port forwarding etc.

  18. now dockstar full debian support
    self compiled kernel with full led/mdt support

    this device rocks …. lower than 20€
    i use it as oscam server
    its also possible to flash debian on the internal mdt without a stik ….

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