Design Build Test Repeat

Voluntarily cast upon the waves of outrageous fortune, this lowly geek flops from peak to peak of the technological ocean. Linux, Windows, C, Ruby, Python and embedded systems all attempt to pull our stalwart hero down. Will he survive alone or will the lifeboat of corporate servitude be too tempting.

Meraki – Linux Everywhere

Posted by Diarmuid on April 27, 2007

The meraki runs Linux. So what? There is loads of activity over at Open WRT where they are porting kamakazi over to the Atheros chip set. I am a big fan of this project and obviously so are the gurus over at Meraki as they seem to have used Open WRT as of April 2006 as their starting point.

However, There are still some things that one can do with your new Meraki that don’t require a full reflashing of the box. There is a built in web server, SSH, SCP, ruby and bash for a start. To use the web server just browse to the box in your web browser. I used nmap to find out the available ports.

dev@dev-desktop:~/meraki$ nmap

Starting Nmap 4.20 ( ) at 2007-04-27 15:38 IST
Interesting ports on
Not shown: 1693 closed ports
22/tcp open ssh
53/tcp open domain
80/tcp open http
81/tcp open hosts2-ns

Nmap finished: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 2.252 seconds

Here, domain refers to DNS. It’s a common enough ploy to get arround firewalls which may block 5190 (the more common DHCP port) .

hosts2-ns – The HOSTS2 Name Server.

To use SSH ( from windows use putty) just use meraki@ . The password is the serial number on the back on the meraki node. It is the third line from the top and has the form xxx-xxx-xxx.
dev@dev-desktop:~/meraki$ ssh meraki@
meraki@'s password:
Permission denied, please try again.
meraki@'s password:

BusyBox v1.1.0 (2007.03.05-17:58+0000) Built-in shell (ash)
Enter ‘help’ for a list of built-in commands.

Welcome to your meraki mini. Please look for developer information at We would like to encourage you to play with this
platform and add your own features to it. However, our lawyers
require us to tell you that much of the software on this device is
protected by copyrights, and may not be redistributed or sold.

Like hacking on wireless stuff? Come work with us!

Happy Hacking!

I like this message. They are developing a product and have invested significant amounts of time in it. For some of the team’s earlier work look at Roofnet. There is some debate online about the use of linux in closed devices (called Tivosationafter the use of Linux by Tivo). Personally I feel that if the system starts to involve hardware the the company is entitled to not opening up all their own source. Of course if they extend GPL’d software that has to be released as well. You will find however, that most Linux software that can be run from the command line, can be called from within a Python, Ruby, PHP or shell script. The Meraki team have at least opened up SSH, something that FON has not.

That’s why I’ll take them at their word and show how you can use the Meraki as a home server. I won’t be publishing their code and won’t be reverse engineering their system. The problem is that while you can add files to the home page of the node, that area is written over when the node is rebooted. So it won’t be that simple. (Solved, see next post)

I have to confess that I am developing a network attached product that will be managed centrally. I am using the Fox board from The development of web pages for it is similar to development on the Meraki except that ruby is not installed on the Fox. I am using TurboGears on the web side and PHP on the fox. I’d use the meraki but it does not have USB


2 Responses to “Meraki – Linux Everywhere”

  1. G$ said

    The /storage partition in the Meraki Mini is JFFS2 and will persist between reboots, although the available space is somewhat limited. Also, /storage/ is run at startup, so you can put startup commands in there.

  2. Meraki USB Serial Adapter, $29:

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