locus sonus > audio in art
Lab 2007/2009: Julien Clauss, Alejandro Duque, Scott Fitzgerald, Jérôme Joy, Anne Roquigny, Peter Sinclair.
 contact: info (at)


Sept 9,2008

LocustreamBox (Alix3c3)

(Alejo Duque)

Specifications of the new Alix 3c3:

(an image map is here:

CPU: 500 MHz AMD Geode LX800
Storage: CompactFlash socket
Power: DC jack or passive POE, min. 7V to max. 20V
Three LEDs
Expansion: 2 miniPCI slots, LPC bus
Connectivity: 1 Ethernet channel (Via VT6105M 10/100)
I/O: DB9 serial port, dual USB, VGA, audio headphone out / microphone in
RTC battery
Board size: 100 x 160 mm
Firmware: Award BIOS

The process

Date Saturday 15, august, 2008

Fisrt step was to try to re-use the filesystem from the previuos alix board (redalix) hoping that the File System image i made in Nice could serve as a clone for this new boards, that will save a lot of time since i wont have to begin installing stuff from scratch.


So, simple, i had to reinstall all from zero.. deboostrap debian to the CF card, install a new kernel, install X window system, have issued with the video, install kernel sources, compile a new custom kernel....

Date August 31 2008 3am

After an intense week of strembox work, im glad o report before september begins that:

-Finally i got it to boot my own customized kernel and the X window session.
-The alix 3c3 boots now into debian linux.
-It launches a window manager called xfce4 (it took 3 days debugging a kernel that could properly control the video card, all the linux images that are in the internet are for headless systems, mostly cause the device is too new and cause people that works with them intend mobility or low power so having a monitor is not on the list of things to have or carry. this boxes are used simply as wireless routers or firewalls). I tested 2 window managers (both are included in the latest image), DWM and XFCE4, the last one is the default one.
-sound card was configured via alsconf, it gave no problems whatsoever.

so, GUI works and mid-size window manager is installed (along with a lightweight one called DWM that will not be easy for the novice, right now one can either startx for dwm or startxfc4 for the friendly one, it will go to xfce4 automatically). All this with the spirit of allowing the user to open and see the patch (hoping s/he is versed on pd)

what im missing right now:
-(the usual) a simple amplified microphone... but, this should be the job of someone with the know-how in LS, i have still a lot of work on init scripts.
-beta testing the image, for this im ready to send this week a board to peter so he can help test the pd patch and comment on how things work for this "beta version"

Here below are some screenshots of the current status:
a first look at the desktop, we should add the icon to pd that now is located in the multimedia menu that appears with a right click.
yes, shitty connection in that particular moment...
few pages got sent, stream proved stable after i changed the oggcast~ buffer settings


and here is a short 5min video: []

Date Sep 1, 2008

Wireless card is installed, drivers are in place, i made stream tests yesterday with it. The box includes now a second streaming option via Darkice, but the default is via PureData and the oggcast~ object, that got me busy til i finally got to stop a glitch produced by the buffer setting of the original patch from locus sonus 2007.

Right now the box only makes dhcp requests on the wired cable automatically is my intention to fine tune few scripts, as we talked in VA one of them could take care of resolving IP's either with one (eth0) or the other (eth1), this can be easily tweaked remotely if the streambox is on a network that allows remote access (i also tested this yesterday ssh) or one can just send a new 2gig CF card with the improved version of the OS (operative system).

I decided to send you this one now so to cover terrain regarding the pd patch. you have by far sharper eye on that.

Many other things are there to be solved, this is just a release candidate that on my side proved stable.

Also, the box can stream using the Darkice software, withouth opening a GUI. So this streambox can stream with 2 diff methods, 2 different cards..right now is just set to eth0+pd

For the case of the paraboles it could be as simple as, eth1+any player (mpd, vlc, xmms, mplayer, etc)

Date Sept. 2

I just send the first box to Peter, I hope he gets it by friday.

Date Sept.3

im assembling box #2 and updating this wiki notes, This below is an image on how i decided this time to connect the pigtail for the antenna.

Date Sept.6

Is nice to know that the board arrived to the south of france, Peter just set it up replacing the machine that was streaming to the mountpoint /marseille_cap15.ogg perhaps the most stable of the streams in the locus sonus map, here an image he took with his mobile:

you can listen to the open microphone streaming from the box shown above by telling your VLC client to open this URL:


-add to the patch this:

[setxkbdmap fr(
|  [setxkbdmap en(
|  |
|  |

-add to the patch a rutine to make a DHCP request before rebooting

Useful commands:

|    ,---.,---..   .,---.    ,---.,---.,---..   .,---.
|    |   ||    |   |`---.    `---.|   ||   ||   |`---.
`---'`---'`---'`---'`---'    `---'`---'`   '`---'`---'

below is a list of many of the useful commands, in no particular order.

Backup: dd if=/dev/hda | gzip > /mnt/hdb1/system_drive_backup.img.gz
Restore: gzip -dc /mnt/hdb1/system_drive_backup.img.gz | dd of=/dev/hda


    1:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty --autologin USER tty1

streambox:~# lspci 
00:01.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] CS5536 [Geode companion] Host Bridge (rev 33)
00:01.1 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Geode LX Video
00:01.2 Entertainment encryption device: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Geode LX AES Security Block
00:09.0 Ethernet controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT6105M [Rhine-III] (rev 96)
00:0c.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR5413 802.11abg NIC (rev 01)
00:0f.0 ISA bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] CS5536 [Geode companion] ISA (rev 03)
00:0f.2 IDE interface: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] CS5536 [Geode companion] IDE (rev 01)
00:0f.3 Multimedia audio controller: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] CS5536 [Geode companion] Audio (rev 01)
00:0f.4 USB Controller: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] CS5536 [Geode companion] OHC (rev 02)
00:0f.5 USB Controller: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] CS5536 [Geode companion] EHC (rev 02)

(more to follow)

Notes by alejo duque on the process of getting the locus sonus streambox ready. Previous info related can be found here:

Locustream pre-streambox