Install Debian 10 on Netgate SG-2220 via Serial Port with iSCSI Disk

I get my hands on a Netgate SG-2220 network computer. It comes preinstalled with either pfSense firewall software, or CentOS in the case of DPDK-in-a-box edition. However, I'm more familiar with Debian based operating systems. Can I install Debian on the Netgate SG-2220?

The Console Port

Hardware specification of the Netgate SG-2220 includes:

  • Intel Atom C2338 processor, dual core at 1.7 GHz
  • 2GB RAM
  • 4GB eMMC storage
  • one USB 2.0 port
  • two 1 Gbps Ethernet adapters

Notably missing is a VGA or HDMI port to connect to a monitor. Instead, this computer offers a mini-USB "console port". It is a UART serial port with a USB-UART bridge chip already included, unlike the C.H.I.P $9 computer that only provides serial over pin headers.

NFD nightly packages

NDN Forwarding Daemon (NFD) is the reference implementation of Named Data Networking (NDN) forwarding plane. The software is continuously developed, but binary releases happen rather infrequently. Recently, I made a workflow to build NFD and related software automatically.

Download page: nfd-nightly.ndn.today

Instructions

Which platform should I choose?

  • The platform identifier has two parts: Linux distribution and CPU architecture. Both parts must match your machine.
  • Linux distribution:
    • bionic is Ubuntu 18.04.
    • buster is Debian 10. This includes Raspberry Pi OS.
  • CPU architecture:

Access C.H.I.P UART Wirelessly with ESP8266

A year ago, a Kickstarter campaign CHIP - The World's First Nine Dollar Computer caught my attention: it's a $9 computer smaller than a banana. Unlike the Raspberry Pi, it comes with onboard storage so I don't need to buy a separate SD card, it has WiFi instead of wired Ethernet so I don't have to run wires everywhere, and it is compatible with my existing VGA monitor through a $10 adaptor so I don't have to buy another HDMI monitor. Therefore, I snagged two of these little computer along with one VGA adapter during the campaign.

During the whole year of waiting, Next Thing Co sent me regular email updates on the development progress, with each email ending with mmmtc (much much more to come) and a lot of hearts. NTC also clarified that C.H.I.P is strictly B.Y.O.B. Finally, my pair of CHIPs and a VGA DIP arrived in my mailbox on Jun 16. An hour later, yoursunny.com homepage is displayed on its Debian desktop.

A few more hours later, I start to discover a limitation of C.H.I.P software: The Linux kernel comes with CHIP operating system has very limited features.

$ sudo modprobe fuse
modprobe: FATAL: Module fuse not found.

Obviously, the solution to this problem is to compile my own Linux kernel with more features. The compilation can be done on the C.H.I.P itself. I managed to do that when the CHIP is powered by a 5V 1A phone charger plus a 1500mAh LiPo battery. I had the compilation running under screen(1) and attended to it intermittently, and it finished in a day.