Installing Optware (IPKG) on QNAP TS-210

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This article deals with installing Optware (IPKG) on QNAP TS-210 NAS machine. Optware is a must-have, if you want to do anything with your NAS that goes beyond using as simple network storage. I.e., if you want to access it via SSH and play a little around Linux on-board. In other words, in installs many core utils, that are simply gone from default distribution of Linux on-board QNAP.

If any QPKG is available for different processor architectures, you must use ARM (x19 series), as this is architecture of a processor installed in TS-210.

Optware (IPKG) is very useful to install the core-utils packages (system or shell commands) not available on default distribution of Linux on-board QNAP due to optimization limitations. Install IPKG and you will have access to, as its description states, “a bunch of heavyweight *nix core utilities”. You can install many other GNU tools then, like mc, diff, less and many more.

To install IPKG log into Administration Panel of your QNAP and go to Application Servers > QPKG Center > Available. Click on Install on the right to Optware IPKG item.

Sometimes web-install fails. Then you can install package manually. Get it, by clicking Download in the same position as above. Save to your hard drive, unzip and copy (for example via WinSCP) package to some temporal directory and executing in the command line (PuTTY) following command:

[code language=”shell”]
sh Optware_0.99.163_arm-x19.qpkg

where Optware_0.99.163_arm-x19.qpkg is package name to be installed.

More info can be found at QNAP Wiki.

After installing Optware, install core utils (ipkg install coreutils) and you should have mentioned a bunch of heavyweight Linux core utilities available right in the command line.

In the very same way, you can install for example Midnight Commander (ipkg install mc) to have two-panel file manager right in the console. But using Total Commander in Windows is considered far better, if you have QNAP in your local network.

BTW: You should change configuration in PuTTY. Under section Window - Translation, you should select UTF-8 as charset and under Handling of line drawing characters in the same section, you should select: Poor man's line drawing (+, - and |). This let you see vertical/horizontal lines correct instead of some ugly-looking chars in Midnight Commander.

Using the same method, you can install for example nano, which is far better (at least for me) than built-in vi. Just type ipkg install nano in the console and enjoy.

Optware also comes with better (fixed, newer) versions of some console commands. The default ones, available in QNAP firmware comes from BusyBox 1.01, a buggy, seven years old (2005) version, that is still kept in the firmware only for reason known to QNAP support. For example rm is unable to delete recursively non-empty dirs or folders that hasn’t got “execute” bit set in permissions. Optware version of rm fixes this and many more problems. But in order to use new, fixed versions of console commands, you either have to call them directly from /opt/bin path (instead of /bin or /sbin) or you have to change your $PATH system variable. Paths to Optware are already added to it, but at the end. They have to be in the beginning of variable value to overwrite defaults paths. Again, for the reasons only known to QNAP Support, this problem hasn’t been fixed since it was reported in 2009.

More information can be, again, found at this QNAP Wiki article.

Consider looking to this QNAP Forum thread for more info.

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