Linux User & Developer, Issue 126

Linux User & Developer Issue 126This month’s Linux User & Developer magazine features just a single piece of my writing: a review of the GlobalScale MiraBox, a compact ARM-based computer designed for networking appliance use.

I’ve long been a fan of ARM-based microcomputers, from the Marvell SheevaPlug right through to the million-selling Raspberry Pi. The MiraBox, however, is something a little bit special. Housed in a metal and plastic casing, it looks more like a router or switch than a PC – but beneath that exterior is a networking powerhouse.

The device boasts dual gigabit Ethernet ports, both of which are connected straight to the heart of the Marvell Armada 370 system-on-chip (SoC) processor – unlike many ARM-based single-board computers, which connect the networking through a handy USB bus, with a deleterious effect on performance. Add into that a 1.2GHz ARMv7 processor, 1GB of RAM and 1GB of NAND flash storage – expandable using two micro-SD card slots – and you’ve got a pretty beefy system.

Where the MiraBox really excels, however, is in its internal design. As well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios as standard, the MiraBox includes a mini-PCI Express port for connecting additional hardware. That’s almost unheard of in the ARM SBC world, and something GlobalScale should be commended for included.

Not everything about the MiraBox review went smoothly, however, with the usual issues with not-quite-ready-to-ship software rearing their ugly heads. If you’re curious as to my final thoughts on the matter, you can read my review in full on the Linux User & Developer website.

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