Posted by: Rich Cumbers | May 28, 2008

So now I have a slug with SLUGOS…..

….what should I do (aside from upload currentcost data)?! Dale has an excellent post about the installation, and for me it was pretty much the same. The only real difference was that as Dale is very much a windows chap he used Sercomm Firmware Updater, and as I am more of a linux chap I used upslug2 to flash the device. upslug2 is a simple application that scans for slugs that are in admin mode, and then if you pass the correct parameters will go ahead and flash the firmware, very quick and easy to do!

This post is about getting the slug to be a functional mini linux box (for example the creation of a non-root user).


I prefer bash to the sh shell, so ‘ipkg install bash’ was the first installation I did. Job Done.

Who wants to be root anyway?

I am primarily an Ubuntu user, have been now for over 2 years and am very happy with it. I like the lack of root user, although you can configure it, and the more or less enforced use of sudo. So my first task was to add a user that was not root, and setup sudo. I started trying to use ‘useradd’, but it was not there, but swapping the two words to ‘adduser’ brought up what we come to expect. a cryptic message stating that I should use ‘adduser {OPTIONS] username‘. Note the lack of mentioning what the actual options could be! A quick google search and I found the following: which on it details the required options and what to do with them, and thus I constructed: ‘adduser -s /bin/bash -h /home/cumbers cumbers’. Next I created the user directory, chown’d it to my user and did a passwd to set my password.

sudo was just as simple as installing bash. ‘ipkg install sudo’ was all that was required, and then a visudo to edit the sudoers file. I like to use the wheel group with a password so uncommented the relevant line, and then created a wheel group using ‘addgroup wheel’.

With the two steps above I now had a system that I felt was a little more secure in my sometimes careless typing world!

Timezones and ntp

According to the tzdata packages we (the UK) are not in tzdata-europe as you would suspect, but are in fact in tzdata-misc package! A simple ln -s /etc/localtime /usr/share/zoneinfo/<final path to your locale> and I was setup. Again using the ipkg tool I installed the ntpclient and ntp-tools packages. There are various sites that deal with configuring this, so just give it a google!


I also installed the following (in no particular order)

  • findutils – gives me locate and updatedb
  • coreutils – something no admin should be without
  • tar
  • gzip
  • ncftp – powerful ftp client, including bookmarks
  • grep

What next for the slug?

The device is surprisingly repsonsive and I am looking forward to pushing it to its limits. Dale has already recompiled perl modules so that he can use the full mysql package, before find out about sqllite, but there seems to be a lot you can do with this piece of kit, so who knows maybe an mp3 server, or just a samba share point for the house! This device was bought to replace an old shuttle pc, that seemed to use about 40W to publish the data, my resting wattage in my house is now around 60, which is pretty damn good!



  1. RE: What else to do with it

    You’ve probably already seen it, as I know we’re both using this site a lot to get us started, but there are some good ideas at

  2. “The device is surprisingly repsonsive and I am looking forward to pushing it to its limits”

    I wouldn’t expect to look very far forward as its limits aren’t terribly far away. Having said that the de-underclocking operation described at will help…

  3. […] plan The more geeky amongst us have connected the CurrentCost to a server of some sort. By connecting it to something that’s […]

  4. […] Here I have to confess to being an absolute beginner with Linux. Fortunately I was able to copy a fellow CurrentCost owner’s idea of using a Network Storage Device to grab the data from the CurrentCost. Ben has done it too, not to mention a few others. […]

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