Michael Graves's picture

I'm trying to run the WP appliance on a Fit-PC2 but running into trouble. The Fit-PC2 is a small embedded platform that features a SATA drive internally. Turnkey linux runs from the live CD using an externally attached CD drive. However, I cannot install it to the internal drive. The partitioning tool doesn't find the partitions on the disk.

The Fit-PC2 actually shops with Ubuntu installed, but they have some extensions to the OS that accommodate the hardware. Here's a link to that info. http://www.fit-pc2.com/wiki/index.php?title=Installing_Ubuntu_9.10

It would be great if I could get Turnkey linux running on this hardware. It only draws 7 watts and would be an ideal host for a blog that I run. http://www.mgraves.org

I'm not sufficiently Lunix savvy to make the required changed myself. Any assistance you could provide would be appreciated.


Michael Graves


Liraz Siri's picture

What you're describing is a hardware support issue. Linux hardware support is constantly evolving. The link you provided is to a different version of Ubuntu than TurnKey is based on. I think it would be a waste of time to figure out how to solve this with the current Ubuntu Hardy 8.04 based builds because we're going to release TurnKey builds based on Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid soon and your problem may not exist there. Sit tight. Try again when 10.04 betas comes out and give us feedback.

Fit-PC looks awesome BTW...

Jeremy Davis's picture

I would expect that the new 10.04 based images should work ok. To get optimum performance you may still want to replace the standard kernel with the custom Fit-PC2 kernel.

In the meantime if you want to test the theory you could try installing a vanilla 10.04 and see how that goes.

If you're really keen and are willing to pull the unit apart (warning this will probably void your warranty), you may be able to remove the SSD (I assume that's what it is) and plug it into some other hardware (and disconnect other HDDs). Then install TKL onto the SSD (using alternative hardware) and then update to the Fit-PC2 kernel (as described in the instructions). Try these mdified instructions:

  • Add the following lines to /etc/apt/sources.list
## Repository for fit-PC2 users provided by Compulab
deb http://fit-pc2.com/download/ubuntu/dists/karmic binary/
deb-src http://fit-pc2.com/download/ubuntu/dists/karmic source/
  • Refresh update manager
sudo apt-get update
  • Install kernel image, kernel headers: (graphic drivers and media player for HD playback are not required for a server)
sudo apt-get install linux-image-2.6.31-34-fitpc2 linux-headers-2.6.31-34-fitpc2
  • Comment out snd-hda-intel options in /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf
# Power down HDA controllers after 10 idle seconds 
# options snd-hda-intel power_save=10 power_save_controller=N
  • Remove generic image and sources that are not fully compatible with fit-PC2 (not sure if this step will work as I don't think TKL use the generic kernel).
sudo apt-get purge linux-generic linux-image-generic linux-headers-generic linux-image-$(uname -r) linux-headers-$(uname -r) && sudo apt-get autoremove
  • Power down the PC and replace the SSD back into your Fit-PC2. Hopefully it will now work although obviously no guarantees.

OTOH if you want a quiet peacful live with minimimum stress and headache, you could follow Lirz's advice and wait for the 10.04 based TKL appliances.

Michael Graves's picture

FWIW, the Fit-PC2 that I have came with a 2.5" SATA drive internally installed, not an SSD. It came with Ubuntu 9 on it as well.

I've tried to use it with various things like FreeNAS, PBX-In-A-Flash and Ubuntu Netbook Remix. PIAF is based upon Cent-OS 5.4 and failed to install because the correct IDE/SATA driver was not part of the kernel. I gather that Cent-OS 5.5 now includes this driver.

FreeNAS installed easily, which is surprising given the limited hardware support in FreeBSD.

UNR installed fine as well. I'll likely wait for the new TKL release. Any ideas when that might be?

I'm hoping that TKL-WP on the FIT-PC2 is a better solution than migrating my blog from my current host to a low-end VPS.

Jeremy Davis's picture

Like you, I imagine the lack of HDD kernel driver is the issue (and thus why older distro won't install). Obviously the custom kernel they provide probably gives optimum performance but unless you build a custom ISO (that includes that kernel) then you must rely on the default kernel drivers that come with the particular distro.

As for next TKL release, I have no idea really but Liraz recently stated (somewhere on here) that they will release a 10.04 based Core beta (available from SourceForge only) very soon, with other appliance betas after that. The current 8.04 based TKL appiances will remain the official release until after somew beta testing and the 10.04.1 Ubuntu release which if I recall correctly should be July some time.

From my past experience with TKL, the betas should be plenty stable enough. Also Liraz and Alon are very responsive to bugs (particularly serious ones) so if there are any issues, I'm sure they'd iron them out asap once they come to their attention.

Alon Swartz's picture

We just made the beta available for download, could you test to see if it solves your issues?
Michael Graves's picture

I'm out of office the rest of the week, but I'll definitely give it a try on Saturday and report back.

Michael Graves's picture

Yes, the beta boots and loads to the Fit-PC2 without incident.

Michael Graves's picture

After 24 hours of running the TKL beta on the Fit-PC2 I've noticed that it doesn't seem to take any steps with respect to power conservation. That is, even under no load the hard disk spins constantly. It would be great if the system could rationally reduce its power use by the usual means (stopping the disk, reducing cpu clock, etc) when the load level warrants it.

Jeremy Davis's picture

As servers are usually designed to be always on/always available, they do not generally have power management installed by default. I imagine that you will find that the case with any server system.

Having said that, I see no reason why you couldn't play around with it and see if you can get it working. Others with SOHO based servers may also be interested in your findings. This could be a great TKL Wiki entry I think!

You may find installing the Fit-PC2 hardware optimised kernel may be necessary to get power management working to the full extent possible, although I'm only guessing. It may be worth exploring other options first.

The Ubuntu forums may provide some guidance there. Also http://www.lesswatts.org/ may be worth a look?

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