- A QNAP TS-109 or TS-209. Support for TS-409 will be added soon.
- A serial console.
- A TFTP server.
Before making the installation
I recommend you boot the QNAP firmware and then make copies of your MTD
cat /dev/mtdblockX > mtdX
for X = 0...5 Then copy mtd0...5 somewhere.
Also, make a backup of your hard drive in case you have any data on it
because debian-installer will wipe the whole disk.
Starting the installer
Download the two files (initrd.gz and kernel) from
and put them on your TFTP server. Then boot your QNAP, press a key
on the serial console so you can enter commands and enter:
setenv bootargs console=ttyS0,115200n8 root=/dev/ram rw initrd=0x800000,0x3fffff
setenv serverip 192.168.1.4
setenv ipaddr 192.168.1.147
tftpboot 0x0800000 ts-209/armel/di/initrd.gz
tftpboot 0x400000 ts-209/armel/di/kernel
Replace 192.168.1.4/192.168.1.147 with something appropriate for your
network and ts-209/armel/di/ with the path on your TFTP server.
When debian-installer starts it will show you a message after a few
minute saying that you can log in via SSH. You can either follow
these instructions or simply press enter and go ahead with the
installation on the serial console.
After selecting the mirror, you will get a message "Download installer
components" saying "Continue the install without loading kernel
modules?". Simply answer "yes", this is harmless.
Partition your disk (guided partition will do the right thing), and
install the system. At some point it will ask you "Kernel to install:".
Choose "linux-image-2.6.25-1-orion5x" and go ahead.
At the end of the installation, the new kernel and ramdisk should be
written to flash and you should be able to boot into your new Debian
- The PIC control tool is not installed automatically yet (needed for
LEDs and fan) because it's not in Debian yet.
- Add some more customizations for NAS devices, e.g. a config option
for e2fsck so it won't prompt the user to press enter or something.
The current plan is to produce a beta2 release based on 2.6.24, but
we need 2.6.25 for Orion/QNAP support. beta3 will be based on
2.6.25. So we will continue to make unofficial test images based on
2.6.25 available for now, and then make sure everything is in place
for beta3. beta3 will then be the first release of QNAP support aimed
at end users.
Some specific work that's needed:
- Add TS-409 support (I just completed everything, but it needs a few
days to enter the archive).
- Test it more
- Document it better.
- Write a script to flash the installer in the QNAP firmware so people
don't have to start it via TFTP and the serial console.
QNAP for supporting this effort, Frans Pop for answering some questions
about debian-installer, Byron Bradley for adding TS-209 kernel support,
Sylver Bruneau for TS-409 kernel support, the Marvell team for all
Images for the QNAP TS-409 are now available at
The same instructions apply as for TS-209.
I've updated both the TS-209 and TS-409 today and retested the
installer. It still works. You still have to install Debian unstable
I had enabled bootlogd on my TS-109, but it turns out this breaks the boot
for some reason.
My two options to correct this were to take out the harddisk and connect
it to my amd64 desktop, or run the experimental TS-209 D-I image for
rescue. Obviously I did the last and it worked perfectly.
I only ran the install up to partitioning though. Will try a full install
P.S. We're going to need some way to make it obvious that the TS-109 is
also supported by the TS-209 images. Add a symlink maybe?