Installing Debian on Agestar without serial port

I have prepared a firmware and tutorial to Install Debian here, this time without the need for serial port. I have tested this, and it seems that everything works. But of course I will not be responsible if anything happens. If you think there are some missing, unclear or inaccurate steps, or if you doubt about something, then don’t install it. If you have anything to ask just email to yohanes [at], or just post your questions as comments.

NOTE: the web update method only works on agestar ncb3ast, other models can work by using serial port and latest patch for kernel source (2.6.29 or later).

19 thoughts on “Installing Debian on Agestar without serial port”

  1. Thanks for clear instructions!
    FuF! Now I on the step one 🙂 I resized my HDD to have Linux Swap and
    15GB for Debian SWAP. Tomorrow I’ll update the firmware.

  2. Hallo.

    I installed the system and it works! 🙂
    I have a question about time synchronization. The system clock is set up to Thu Jan 1 07:02:04 1970 every time when I loging after reboot. Quite inconivient. NTPD sync doesn’t work at all, for rdate I have to install linux or some server, are there any solutions?

  3. @Artem:

    Try stopping ntp

    then try some servers with ntpdate, like this:


    or some other sites. Choose nearest one from you (for example, in asia,, is better than some vendors ntp servers).

  4. Helo again,

    after i installed many Linux Distri’s i give up. I make all what you want. But, if i mount the agestar, i can’t write on it. I now use Opensuse 11.0. I make all untill copy Debian on my Agestar….

  5. Hi there!
    is an access to HDD really so slow?
    As I understood it is provided through USB bus…. but m.b. debian-etch kernel is “incorrect” working with USB in this case?
    I have ~2.2MB/s with ethernet (FTP/SMB…). But when I began to do anything with HDD locally that speed became lower, ~400..600KB/s.

  6. Hi,
    I’ve follow your instruction, and it’s rock. However after I’ve play around with it, the power at my home was off for some reason and after that I cannot ssh to my nas anymore. It loooks like the linux doesnot boot after then.

    I may have to bring it to service center sometime this month, but if you know what happen to my box it would be appreciated.

  7. Oops, please disregard the last comment.

    The Nas is working fine. What is screwed up is my router, all of dhcp setting was changed after the power outage.

    Thank you.

  8. I wonder why the MAC-address of the ethernet-chip changed to 00:AA:BB:CC:DD:21 – I had a completly different MAC before …
    Is there any possibility to change that because dnsmasq does not work
    as I wanted it any longer (I use static dhcp and even after changing MAC in
    dnsmasq config it does not work)


  9. Hi Manuel,

    Sorry, I have changed the Mac Address because I have two Agestar, and both have the same mac address. To change your mac address in Debian, just add

    hwaddress ether 00:AA:BB:CC:DD:20

    (or any other number) to


    belllow the line “iface eth0”

    Pleas read “man 5 interfaces” to learn more about the configuration format of the interfaces file.

  10. Thanks for your Hint! I am trying to run mldonkey, but I think its much to much for the little embedded system 🙂 I work about 15 to 45 minutes and
    after that it hangs. More memory would be really great (would it be possible
    to replace the current ram-chip?).


  11. Hi, this is really interesting. (I have never used debian before).

    I’m just wondering does debain have a web configuration page like the default agestar nas drive? If not, how would I make changes and settings without a gui??

    Would it be easy to set up a print server on the drive with debain?

    What happens if the files become corrupt on the hard drive? Is it easily recoverable?

    And my last question, do I need to download a “special” build of debain for the drive or will any version work?

  12. Hi Crss,

    You can use packages such as Webmin to administer you system using web based menu, but I think you will still need some Unix/Linux knowledge. I haven’t tried webmin yet, but with only 32mb RAM, I imagine the web based administration system will be slow.

    Setting up print server is quite easy, the CUPS print server have their own web based administration system. The web based configuration is very slow (it reads a all drivers in the database), but you only need to do it once. The printing is also quite slow (I don’t know whether it is slower or faster compared to the original firmware, because my printer is not supported on the original firmware).

    If somehow your files becomes corrupt, just unplug it, connect the device to USB port on your PC, and use Linux (or Linux Live CD) to scan/fix it.

    You need to download a special kernel and a root file system that I have prepared. After installing that part, you can use (almost) any software in the Debian ARM repository (so you don’t need special applications for it).

    See the instructions here:

  13. Hi Yohanes,

    Thanks a lot for having the time to reply, as I’m sure you are really busy 😉

    I’ll try to study it all a bit later on this weekend and see if I feel confident enough to get debian installed.

    Great work, its really appreciated!! 🙂

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