Sheevaplug & Asterisk


Has anyone ever installed Asterisk on a Sheevaplug? Is it even possible?

I have a couple of small (<7 users) clients who need a PBX but are limited on space and funds. If I could shave a few hundred bucks off the cost of a server, reduce space and cooling requirements then they might be willing to spend the money in this economy.

If nobody has tried it then does anyone see any reason why it would not work? The only problem I could see is the version of linux installed on the device. I’m wondering if it is possible to load a different distro.


Probably not. But you can go to Walmart and purchase two low end desktops for say $350 and build a very good system for a small business that way.

Why two? it’s simple. Those systems are so cheap that they change every 4 months when they get the next lot of 10K discount MB’s to build from so getting identical replacement parts in say 14 months if you needed it are hard to impossible. But you have a spare sitting on the shelf some place to use problem solved.

Not the best solution as I’d really recommend a decent computer from a decent manufacture that you can get support from 5 years from now but for those who are two cheap to purchase a real solution it’s almost the next best thing.

Yes, This will work. I used a debian distro and compiled the latest kernel from the development kit. Once I had this booting from a usb stick I was able to use the debian arm compiler packages (gcc, etc) to compile dahdi, asterisk, asterisk addons, etc and setup a working asterisk/freepbx setup. (The older zaptel drivers would compile but didn’t work) I have yet to do extensive testing but all seems to be working well. I’m going to try moving to booting the system from an SD card and see how it goes in a effort to free up the usb port.

I really appreciate how you two hijacked the thread to go off on a tangent. Bravo on demonstrating how the days of usenet have evolved. Now… You two have clearly demonstrated your ability to shop at Walmart, waste people’s time and insert a disk into a CD. Pat yourself on the back, hard. You can break and arm and save the rest of us alot of grief.

Hopefully we can steer this thread back on course for the more intelligent members of our community.

If someone actually has an answer to my question then I would appreciate the input. As said in the initial post… I am looking for something similar to a Shivaplug (ie: <$100) capable of booting a CentOS text installation. This would be especially useful for small businesses who are limited on space and cooling.

Dogatemycomputer -

Neither user hijacked your thread. Fskrotzki… made the judgment call based on your initial post that you don’t understand target binaries. The Shiva is not Intel based so you will have to port.

Mallonm then let you know that he was able to use the cross compiler and Debian to rebuild Asterisk et al for the Marvel proc used on the Shiva.

You are never going to get CentOS to run on that thing, not even sure where that came from.

I do owe mallonm an apology. His response clearly referred to the Shivaplug and was actually helpful. I did have plans to return and re-examine his post more carefully and should not have lumped him in with fskrotzki.

My frustration comes from the fact that fskrotzki failed to answer my question and then suggested a mind-numbingly obvious solution that did not really warrant posting. My 5 year old niece knows that you can plug a linux CD into a cheap computer from Walmart.

The intention was to spark a discussion or suggestion using Shivaplug OR some other sub-$100 similar device to boot a generic linux kernel that we could load Asterisk on. Obviously any computer you buy at Walmart would require more than passive cooling, a couple square feet of space and probably has more movable parts which is all the things I would like to avoid.

Since fskrotzki was intimately involved with the process of porting Asterisk and FrePBX to the PIKA appliance he is fully aware of the level of effort required to port Asterisk to another target binary.

Since FreePBX is web based it is the least of your problems.

Since you use terms like “generic linux kernel” and then “load Asterisk” you do not grasp that binaries have to match processors.

Do I also believe that a random post in the FreePBX forum will lead to a fork of a major project, I do not.

If you had started off “I have compiled Asterisk for the Shiva Appliance” and am attempting to use SQLlite and PHP Vxxxx running on embedded Linux xxxxx and I am having difficulties then we would have determined that you are at least in the universe of understanding what needs to be done to make this happen.

The only reason I am coming down on you is your response was hostile and assumed motives that did not exist. Porting an application suite is way above the average user.

Dogatemycomputer -

I’m sorry if I have irritated anyone. I found the posting I commented on through google and it must have just dumped me into the middle of the thread. I only found and commented on it because I did a search to see if anyone had done this (asterisk+sheevaplug) already before I attempted this myself and remembered seeing the question.

As to the original point (I guess?) if someone is looking for a device to install centos (and thus will take a tribox install) I suggest the decTOP:

It’s not exactly sub $100 but it will work. I have an older [email protected] distro running on mine and it works reasonably well. It has some issues that the Sheevaplug does not and its not as powerful a cpu (300mhz) as the sheevaplug but it is an x86 system. It uses about 10 watts to the sheevaplug’s 5 and you have to use a usb 1.1 to 10/100 network adapter. You can use a standard ide disk in it and boost the memory to 512Mb if necessary. I’ve tested mine up to 5 incoming calls without issues but it may do more I’ve just never tested it.

Another option would be a used hp t5700 thin client:
They are x86 based systems at 1Ghz or so, draw about 15 watts and can go for less than $100 used on ebay. These have an laptop ide connector on board and with the right ribbon cable can boot from a laptop drive. You will need the pci expansion kit to give you space to fit the drive but you can then install a usb 2.0 pci card for added connectivity.

Both the T5700 and decTOP can boot from a usb cdrom drive for the centos install and have no fans to worry about.

I was attracted to the sheevaplug because it has the lowest power draw and has the highest out of the box specifications I’ve seen so far in a system of this type. If your o.k working with the arm based processors and linux distros (debian, ubuntu) it should work for you.

I currently have 4 servers running in my house. None of them have a fan and the tested total power draw (servers + usb hard drives) is about 60 watts at a total cost minus usb hard drives of less than $500.00. I would say these types of systems would be quite good for low power servers where you might have heating/cooling concerns as well. The issue I think one might have deploying them is that not a single one “looks” like an actual computer and if the uninitiated have access to the computer room or area where the machine is located they may turn it off or unplug it because “it couldn’t possibly be doing anything useful” when it only has a power and network connected to it so label carefully.

Once again, sorry if I have interrupted anything or repeated what someone else has said.

Mallonm - You are spot on.

More people are finding out about the HP thin clients and the market on eBay is getting a little stretched.

True. I think they are being snapped up for use with the magicjack phone plugs as they will run a windows install.

I suppose it comes down to which your more comfortable working with, hardware or software. I find that the x86 based solutions of this type usually have some hardware drawback that you have to work around. Memory needs and upgrade, disk needs to be installed, only supporting usb 1.1, etc. The sheevaplug’s drawback (if you want to call it that) is working with arm based software. I personally prefer this as I find it much easier to get and recompile software packages than it is to find that one piece of hardware to make the thing work the way you wanted it to in the first place.
But that might be just me. :slight_smile:

If you know how to compile the applications then why not?

Sometimes it’s bad to assume, I made the call that the OP was not up to the task.

I can’t wait to hear how you do. Maybe it will become a new Open Source project.

Asterisk runs in all sorts of strange places. I wanted to get it running on DD-WRT Linux. I did not know enough then, now I think I could pull it off.

CramFS was a big barrier for me.

This is what I would like to get my hands on:

Thanks for the suggestion! I tried to order one but it says they are doing maintenance so I have to check back in 20 minutes.

Thanks again!

See the following website :wink:

We provide a pre-built debian system with Asterisk and FreePBX setup and running, imaged. You just have to download the image, and write raw to an SD card 4 gigs or lager, setup the Sheeva to boot from SD card and enjoy :wink: