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Under the Covers

Figure 15 shows the Yellow Machine with its cover removed. At the upper rear of the photo you can see four IDE drives mounted vertically and the power supply visible inside the lower front of the box. The main board is mounted vertically on the right side and isn't easy to get at without essentially taking apart the whole box. The general impression I got from looking inside the box was tight, solid construction.

Yellow Machine inside view

Figure 15: Yellow Machine inside view
(click for larger image)

It's no secret this box runs Linux, because Anthology advertises that fact plainly on its web site. One thing that surprised me a little was that the device has a telnet server running by default, and there is no web interface control to turn if off. But once you telnet in, you have complete control over the box. If your needs would be better met by an SSH server, you can install one and disable telnet, although you'll be on your own for support.

One consolation for the security-conscious is that the telnet server is not accessible on the WAN side of the box, so it would not be exposed to the open Internet. I was also a bit surprised, and pleased, to find gcc, the standard Linux compiler available on the box. So if there is something you need that is not installed by default, and you have the Linux skills, you can build it. For example, I noticed that the box lacked a "Hello World" program, so I wrote one and was able to successfully compile and run it without difficulty.

Because I had command-line access to the box it was easy to determine some internal details. The Linux kernel version was 2.4.25 and examining the "proc" filesystem told me that the CPU was an Arm920Tid processor. Reviewing the boot messages told me that it was running at a relatively slow 200MHz and that there was only a measly 64MB of RAM installed! Poking around the Squid directories showed that the adult and webmail restriction capabilities of the box used simple keyword filtering, which seems to me like a losing battle that will inevitably cause headaches with missed web sites and false positives.

Having direct access to the box makes lots more options available to advanced users. For example, by modifying the samba configuration file, I was able to add my own network shares since there was no web interface to do it. Other modifications could be made to the firewall, DHCP server, NFS server, and so forth. Of course, Anthology would not support such customizations, but advanced users are also far less likely to need or care about such things anyway.

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