Marvell Sheevaplug and Gentoo

In March of this year, we got a Sheevaplug from Marvell. The Sheevaplug is a really powerful device, which gets described with the word plug-computer. It can be considered a full computer except because it doesn’t have any kind of video output nor video card.

For the normal user, this device can be used for creating a media server, putting your USB HDD, flash drive or SD/SDHC cards on the network easily. But for the more advanced user its just more than that. The specs are as following: 1.2GHz Marvell “Kirkwood” CPU (ARMv5TE) with 256KB of L2, 512MB of DDR2 RAM, 512MB of NAND flash, 1 USB 2.0 port, 1 SHDC reader, integrated JTAG+serial through miniUSB and integrated power supply. Comes with Ubuntu 9.04 “Jaunty”(not supported by Canonical, though).

Obviously we got it to put Gentoo on it and document it so all future owners of the Sheevaplug could have Gentoo on their plug. I created the installation docs in just some days after booting Gentoo on it. You can find it at, along with some info about it at and

Unfortunately a normal Gentoo installation doesn’t fit in the 512MB NAND, so I based the documentation and procedure on using an external USB device.

One of the important things of the Marvell Sheevaplug(please note that there are other plugs which aren’t the same as the one i’m talking about, and lack some of the features commented avobe), which that it includes a JTAG. That means that you will always be able to repair your Sheevaplug in case you erase the bootloader(which would make it unusable without JTAG).

I’d like to remind my ARM buildtimes table, which may help you to understand the difference of speed on another kind of boards/processors.

I would like to thank Marvell for their contribution to Gentoo.


One Response to “Marvell Sheevaplug and Gentoo”

  1. ARM status @ Gentoo « Armin76's Blog Says:

    […] in March 2009, thanks to Marvell we got an also famous and NSLU2-killer Marvell Sheevaplug. I also documented the installation on the device(pretty much the next week after i received it!), meaning that it was the first distribution to […]

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