Installing Debian Lenny on a Pogoplug/Dockstar

This page is copied from It uses an older installation method to install Debian Lenny. The script to install Debian Squeeze (the current Debian release) failed because it pointed to a nonexistent repository. Rather than fix the script, I decided to install Lenny (the prior release).

I’d used Lenny before on a desktop and also in several virtual machines so I was sure it would work just fine for my purposes. Moreover, Debian releases are relatively infrequent. I figure Lenny will be available longer than my flash drive is likely to last. BTW, Jeff Doozan credits John Tocher for his installation method.

Just a word of warning here, if you mess up this process badly enough you can certainly brick your Pogoplug so beware. If you don’t have a pretty good idea what you are doing it’s probably best to use

    vmplayer or virtual box

and play with debian server before you try this.

First, I used Gparted on my Ubuntu desktop to partition my flash drive. You cal also use fdisk on the Pogoplug but it’s a bit more difficult. I’m using an 8 gig Corsair flash drive because that’s what I had handy. I’m fairly sure a 4 gig drive would have been plenty big enough. Note: not all USB flash drives are bootable, make sure the one you use is. I configured the first partition as Linux (ext2) and set the boot flag. I configured the second partition as Linux Swap (512mb..probably twice what I needed).

Next move the flash drive to the pogoplug and reboot it. When it’s ready, log on using:

ssh root@pogoplugipaddress

If this is your first login the password will be: stxadmin

Download and run the debian install script:

cd /tmp
chmod +x

The script will take some time to download the debian images and extract them to your flash drive. Once it’s finished, you need to reboot into your new debian install.

The default root password in Debian is ‘root’. After you’ve logged in, you should see a prompt something like this:

debian: ~#

At that point, I’d recommend changing the root password using:


and then configuring /etc/apt/sources.list to point to something near you.

nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Originally mine looked something like this (this is no longer correct):

deb lenny main contrib
deb-src lenny main contrib

deb lenny/updates main contrib
deb-src lenny/updates main contrib

deb lenny/volatile main contrib
deb-src lenny/volatile main contrib

# Orion repository
deb lenny main

Lenny is no longer current so the above sources are not valid. The Lenny repositories are now here:

deb lenny main contrib
deb-src lenny main contrib

Note : lenny is no longer getting updates so the security and volatile archives are not available.


apt-get update

At which point you can begin installing packages.

  1. Alvin Larson

    I followd the directions on this page to install debian-lenny on my pogoplug. The installation went well, but I don’t have the apt-get aplication installed so I can’t install anything else including apt-get. I tried to install Debian Squeeze but it failed because it pointed to a nonexistent repository. Is there a way to get apt-get installed on my debian-lenny ?

    Thank you, Alvin Larson

    • bruce turrie

      Hard to imagine apt-get is missing…it’s a standard bit of Debian. To verify this try:

      whereis apt-get

      It should be in /usr/bin/

      Possible explanations I can think of if it is there or if whereis doesn’t work either: 1) You are not running as root. In that case you need to log in as root and execute the command. 2) your paths are messed up, try:

      /usr/bin/apt-get update

      3) you are actually logged in to the Pogoplug busybox not debian. Does your command prompt look like

      • bruce turrie

        Continuing 3) from above, if you are not in debian, then check to make sure your usb flash drive’s boot flag is set, If so, it may be that the flash drive you are using is not actually bootable, Corsair’s are, so are PNYs, at least some Kingston’s are not.

  2. Alvin Larson


    I guess I am logged into Pogoplug busy box because my prompt is Pogoplug: This login is certainly different from what I was used to seeing before the attemped install. The flash drive doesn’t seem to have anything on it. Now that I am in busy box, fdisk actually runs and I can address the attached flash drives. I will use fdisk to reformat the flash drive and set the first partition as bootable before another install attempt. Is it advisable to have a separate boot partition for this type of install or will one main partition and a swap partition be OK?

    Thanks very much for your helpful response.

    • bruce turrie

      I would not use separate boot partition on a flash drive particularly for a small system like a pogoplug.

  3. What version of Pogoplug do you have? Is this install method still valid for the new POGO-B04 version?

  4. It looks like Debian Squeeze on the Pogoplug Pro/B0xs (all OXNAS based) is here!

    Just in time as the Pogoplug Mobile returns to Marvell platform.

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