For several reasons – ranging from severe lack of space to urgent need of proper backup procedures – I finally bought one of these nice 2TB external hard drive monsters. In order to make it thoroughly geeky, I also installed a nice and shiny NAS in my home network. Of course it had to be hackable, so the choice was obvious: Get the cheapest thing I could lay my hands on! 😉 Ok, I kid, but it’s not too far from the truth. Luckily, both requirements combined very well, and now I’m the proud owner of a Synology USB Station 2. Never heard of them before, but so far I’m quite content – enabling remote access (Telnet or SSH) is easy as pie, and although the web interface has been slimmed down (presumably because they don’t want to discourage sales of the more capable sister models they sell), it is pretty easy to customize the system.
To supply the system with some of the omitted binaries I simply downloaded the Firmware of the Synology DS-211j (which uses the same CPU arch) and put them in the right places (most of the stuff is in /usr/syno/). Start scripts (e.g. to restart crond, which accepts a modified crontab only then) are in /usr/syno/etc/rc.d/. It’s pretty hackish right now, yes, but I want to see whether it works reliably long-term before I invest too much time into doing everything properly (see below).
Sadly, installing Optware (as thoroughly documented for the more expensive models) doesn’t seem to be as easy for the USB Station 2 right now. Maybe I can get to that later and help those that may be already working on it.. I haven’t yet encountered a reason why it wouldn’t work.
I will follow up with a post in the future on how the solution works out in the long term 😉