I recently set up an NSLU2 to do exactly what you describe. My
experience was unsatisfactory, and I gave up within a week.
I run a website with a mySql database, PHP. But also three python
web applications running against the same database. I've been running
a Pentium3 1GHz machine with Mandriva Linux for a couple of years,
with rarely any problem. But I was intrigued with the possibility of
downsizing to the NSLU2.
I was able to transfer all my content off the PC to the Slug (I used
a 40 GB notebook drive), and get everything set up. And then I began
I soon found the slug locking up. Within the period of a couple of
days, I'd had to pull the plug on the slug many times, as it would no
longer respond to any commands issued through the ssh connection. I
switched from Apache to Cherokee next, and found the situation
marginally better (remember to put Cherokee's documents only in the
default location as I couldn't get it to recognize any other). When
the unit became unresponsive, any command issued through ssh would
result in 'bus error'. Pressing the reset button would accomplish
nothing. So I'd unplug, re-boot, and then find that the system
wouldn't recognize the hard drive. So I'd power down again, take the
unit and plug it into the PC and run e2fsck on it, then plug it back
into the NSLU2 and go again.
But since I have some members of the public coming to my site, I
can't afford to have my unit go dead numerous times per day. So
eventually I gave up and went pack to the PC. Apart from the
nuisance of the continual reboots, if I have to keep the P3 around to
run e2fsck on the slug's drive all the time, then what have I
gained? Also, I found the performance to be slow with the dynamic
content. The NSLU2 takes quite a while to serve up web pages with
PHP in them, especially if they involve database content. We're
talking 15-30 seconds for a complete load. That's not acceptable for
I also tried using a 1 GB flash as the boot drive, but there are
complications because slot 1, the only one you can boot off, will not
accept a FAT-formatted drive, so I had to format the USB key to ext3.
It could be that your needs are more modest, and you can live with a
slow server. If you do go this route, for sure consider using
Cherokee instead of apache. But ensure you find the user on this
list (name of Winter) that has compiled a version of PHP with
fastcgi, as it's needed for Cherokee. At the very least, it won't
cost you a lot of cash to experiment, as the Slug is quite cheap.
Mine is now doing duty as a backup server for my webserver PC.