Debian-based Microship

December 4th, 2000

[ This post was written by "Steven K. Roberts" <>. And what do YOU use your Debian machine for? :]

Just thought I'd let you know that the Microship is Debian-based, thanks largely to Bdale Garbee's excellent help with doing an install on an Octagon PC-500 embedded industrial PC board that was our first choice for the boatlet's big iron. This board, still speaking Debian, is now part of the WANDER wireless data collection system we're spinning off for the NSF; we're currently evaluating the power-management trade-offs of building our micro-trimaran systems around the new Octagon PC-680 (with Tillamook CPU) or a suitable laptop that is already optimized for miserly current consumption but thinner on raw I/O and human-scale connectors. In either case, we'll add VMWARE for the off-the-shelf navigation apps, use Squeak and a browser for the front end, and build all our real-time databases (from about 50 streaming telemetry channels) in MySQL with various Perl tools munging the data streams. This machine sits atop a diverse network of embedded devices, including audio, video, and serial crossbar switches to allow random interconnections among resources... and talks to the Net via Globalstar satellite phone and packet radio.

Ongoing information about the project is at, and we'll be hosting all our software development on Sourceforge.