Linux on Airport Express?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by GandGNetworks, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. GandGNetworks macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    OK, I have been searching the internet for months trying to figure this out and I have come up empty. I know there is a way to do this and I'm going to figure it out. I want to know if anyone out there has done or heard of this being done in the past. This is my first post on here, but you guys seem like the best source of Mac related knowledge on the net. OK, here it is.

    The Airport Express (AE) has a processor, memory, usb controller, audio controller, wireless controller, and most importantly an ethernet controller. It's basically a micro computer with Apples networking firmware on it. There has to be a way to wipe this thing and install Ubuntu or some other Linux distro. This would be a perfect little webserver. You could even plug in an external hard drive via the USB port for extra storage.

    If I can get just one to work, the possibilities are then endless. I could cluster them in a database environment. I could get 25 of them and run a rather powerful LAMP cluster.

    If anyone has any information to help me, please let me know. I'm going to start this process today.

  2. itickings macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    That just isn't feasible, sorry.

    If you really really really want to do something like that, I suggest you take a look at the AppleTV2 instead (and go for jailbreaking instead of Linux). It would also be wise to consider the system requirements for what you want to do, and whether or not it is even theoretically possible before you spend a lot of time.
  3. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    it is a processor, but it's not an intel or amd, or something like that,
    it's specialized, and code (both programs and the OS) has to be written and compiled to specifically run on that.
    think of the programs that were written for PowerPC, that will not run on an intel chip in macs, they have to run rosetta to emulate the powerpc chip.

    also the ram, and clock speed of the processor would be very insufficient for doing much of anything

    you can look at dd-wrt, it has varying degrees of success running on different routers (but not ones from apple)

    for setting up a webserver in a similar size and power usage, you'd be better of getting a small atom powered mini-pc.
  4. JD92 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2005
    Theoretically it's certainly possible. However, I doubt you'd get something like Ubuntu on it - it might be a fairly lightweight operating system, but it would probably be far too heavy for the Airport Express, although I have no idea what kind of hardware is in it. You'd have to look at an extremely lightweight OS like BusyBox - which actually powers many routers from the likes of Netgear and Linksys.

    If you got BusyBox on it then it would certainly be a fun project.

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