Friday, April 3, 2009

Configuration of the Alix board

During the configuration of the Alix board, don't install it into the enclosure until everything is up an running for at least a couple of days. Use the bubble wrap under the board (suggestion of nyc_paramedic).

Don't touch the contacts of the Alix board when the power cord is connected to it as this could damage the circuitry. If you are worried about electrostatic discharge damage, touch something which is grounded (a radiator pipe in your house for example) before manipulating the Alix board, although this shouldn't be really necessary.

Then :
  • on the Alix board, insert the CF-card
  • on the Alix board, insert the Ethernet cable in the connector which is nearest to the power connector (connect this cable on its other end to your router)
  • on the Alix board, first connect the power cord to the board's connector and only after that, connect the AC adapter to the wall socket
  • wait approx. 1 minute for the Alix to boot
You need to know the IP address of the Alix board, so do the following (on your desktop computer' Terminal) :
  • write "aptitude install nmap" and press ENTER
  • write "nmap -sP 192.168.1.*" (or replace "192.168.1" with your router's address ; don't forget the asterisk at the end)
  • this will take something like 30 seconds and then you will get a list of all computers, routers, ... which are on your network, amongst them should be the Alix board :
Host appears to be up.
MAC Address: 00:0D:B9:17:7E:A0 (PC Engines GmbH)

Here you can see the Alix's IP address = (or whatever is indicated there). I suggest to fix the IP addresses of the Alix board and the desktop PC which will contain the music library (for example : desktop PC = and Alix board =, that's the example I will use here). You fix the IP addresses from inside your router's interface (see router manual for that).

When you have finished fixing the IP addresses for both computers, restart your router and then do the nmap command again on the desktop computer to check if it's ok.

To be able to work on the Alix board via the desktop computer, you need to install openssh-server on the desktop computer :
  • write "aptitude install openssh-server" and press ENTER
As you know the IP address of the Alix board, you can now enter the board via ssh :
  • write "ssh -2 -p 22 root@" (or the address you chose)
  • after a little moment it will ask for the root passwort : write "voyage" and press ENTER
  • now you are inside the Alix computer with root privileges
You need to change the read/write configuration of the Alix computer which is normally read only :
  • write "remountrw" and press ENTER
Then :
  • write "apt-get update" and press ENTER
  • write "apt-get upgrade" and press ENTER
Modify the country specific language settings :
  • write "apt-get install locales" and press ENTER
  • write "dpkg-reconfigure locales" and press ENTER
  • chose the settings related to your country and language
Install some packages which will be used or which are useful (jed = userfriendly text editor, mpd = music player daemon, alsa-base = sound drivers) :
  • write "apt-get install jed mpd alsa-base" and press ENTER
Add a user (without root privileges) :
  • write "apt-get install adduser" and press ENTER
  • write "adduser your_username" (your_username = same as on the desktop computer)
  • enter the desired password (and remember it)
Change read/write configuration back to read only :
  • write "remountro" and press ENTER
Exit the Alix computer :
  • write "exit" and press ENTER (you are back on the desktop computer)
You can login to the this new user on the Alix board :
  • write "ssh -2 -p 22 your_username@" and press ENTER
  • enter the password for that user
  • if you need root (super user) privileges : write "su", press ENTER and enter the root password (= "voyage" if you didn't change it)
  • if you want to end the root seesion : write "exit" and press ENTER
  • if you want to logout from the Alix board : write "exit" and press ENTER


  1. I used the Windows application PuTTY to login to the Alix machine through SSH. The instructions in your post appeared to work. On to the next step!

  2. Not sure why you are fixing the IP address of the Voyage Linux box in the router. I just set it up to use static IP addressing by editing the /etc/network/interfaces file so the eth0 looks like this:

    auto eth0
    iface eth0 inet static

  3. @Prashanth
    Actually sometimes it's handy to set the ip address from the router even if its a static one. If you have several devices and want to change subnets/ip addresses the changes can be made in just one place instead of each device.