Items tagged with: linux

Lars Wirzenius: The ReMarkable Tablet, a Review

I've been hunting for a device that serves my primary use -- reading (and organising) a large volume of written media, designed, built, and meant for adults, by adults. Sadly, a drastically under-served market.

Wirzenius's review of the ReMarkable tablet, an e-ink large-format bookreader and note-taking device, is interesting. Still doesn't quite seem there, but it's close.

See also Hacker News discussion.

If there are other devices that you're aware of, please do mention them in comments.
Bootnote: Lars is a long-time geek, and has as his claim to fame introducing Linus Torvalds to the ideas of Free Software by inviting Torvalds to a Richard Stallman lecture in Finland.

#ReMarkable #tablets #reviews #linux
@Philipp Holzer I can also setup a new VM for this purpose, maybe that is better to avoid problems with the gitea configuration, also I like single purpose VMs. What would be the requirements, an #Arch #Linux running inside needs about 80-90 MB RAM and 1GB storage, but what resources does the CI need? Can you check in you test setup, RAM, CPU and storage? I do not want to over dimension it, but I have no clue at all what the requirement is.

Maybe I need to understand better about that things anyway before I can come up with an idea of how to set it up.
What if any options are there for running Federated social networking tools on or through #OpenWRT or related router systems on a single-user or household basis?

I'm trying to coordinate and gather information for #googleplus (and other) users looking to migrate to Fediverse platforms, and I'm aware that OpenWRT, #Turris (I have a #TurrisOmnia), and several other router platforms can run services, mostly #NextCloud that I'm aware.

Is #diaspora itself viable on these systems? I'm thinking that may be ambitious.

If not, what are considerations for running a small node through a router? Primary considerations would be capacity planning, bandwidth and load impacts, and configuration and security considerations.

Hoping there's some expertise here.

#openwrt #networking #selfhosting #servers #linux

OpenWRT 18.06.4 Released

If you run a local cable or DSL modem, or router/WiFi, you should check to see if your device can run OpenWRT, or consider replacing it with one that will. Installation can be a bit of an adventure, but if you're even modestly versed with bash prompt in Linux or MacOS, you should consider it.

The project has just released its latest update (the first in about six months), mostly consisting of security updates.

Someone had asked at Hacker News what are the benefits? My answer:

Vastly more power and flexibility, with a highly usable Web interface (LUCI) and console access.

Regular updates.

Excellent documentation:

And a whole set of packed applications and tools. There are about 6,000 packages in total, ranging from device-specific and kernel support to advanced applications such as media servers. Link below is just the larger apps.

Re-romming my DSL modem (500 Mhz dual-core CPU, 64 MB RAM, 8 MB Flash), as advantages over stock vendor firmware, I get:

* adblock
  • SSH access, rather than periodically-enabled telnet
* remote logging capabilities. The ability to go back to see what went wrong and when can be incredibily useful.
  • Performance and activity monitoring.
* Consistent interface with my router (also running OpenWRT).
  • Full-featured shell tools rathee than barebones Busybox versions, if I like.
* Remote filesystems / additional storage.

Depending on your device(s) and capabilities, your modem, router, or other hardware can serve as a home server: NAS, UuuNextCloud, Webserver, VOIP services, media server, PXEBoot (useful for testing images/deployments), guest network(s), VPN, proxy servers, email, mesh networks, messaging, captive portals, and far more.

I also run a Turris Omnia WiFi Router, also running a version of OpenWRT. That's slightly more expensive than a most stock routers, at about US$300, though it's not much off comparably specced systems, and offers advanced features, most notably that it self-updates regularly, something OpenWRT doesn't otherwise do (and virtually no OEM vendors presently support). You can also add an mSATA hard drive (up to 500 GB storage), or build out an optional NAS enclosure (2 disks), or in conjunction with an external NAS offer backups and other services to your local network, as well as provide services either privately or publicly. I'm looking at media serving and a space to stash a growing research library.

#openwrt #networking #security #linux #broadband #dsl

OpenWRT on a Netgear DM200 ADSL Modem

Another bit of craptacular consumer tech gets the boot.

Ever since picking up a new DSL modem a ways back I'd been wanting to get OpenWRT up and running on it. That process turned out to be ... involved. Though with a bit of path-smoothing it could have gone far better.

The major pitfalls encountered were:

* Determining the proper flashing method for installing the OpenWRT firmware. Which affects the next point:
* Determining which OpenWRT firmware to install.
* Determining how to recover from failed attempts and revert to Netgear's OEM firmware.
* Properly configuring the WAN DSL interface.
* Having the appropriate documentation available whilst offline during various experiments.

OpenWRT's documentation is excellent -- far better in detail, substance, and quantity than Netgear's DM200 offerings. But as with most FOSS projects, the fact that it attempts to cover a great deal of territory means that there's possible confusion as well.

The Netgear DM200 ADSL modem is a modest, US$60 unit capable of 100 Mbps speeds -- a service ceiling I'm unfortunately at no risk of exceeding. It sports 64 MB RAM, 8 MB Flash storage, and is built on the Lantiq XWAY VRX220 SoC, with a 500 MHz dual-core MIPS 34Kc V5.6 CPU. Yeah, I've got a multiprocessor modem.... Connectivity is a 10/100 Mb RJ-45 Ethernet port and an ADSL/VDSL RJ-11 port. Power is 12V 0.5A, size is roughly an old multi-disk CD jewel box. Nothing fancy, but sufficient to task. OpenWRT supports the device well, including the ADSL/VDSL2 modem.

Choosing the flashing method

TL;DR: for installation onto a system already running a vendor's OEM firmware, the factory install method. This relies on the (generally) built in firmware-updating capabilities of networking kit, and is pretty sane.

Choosing the right firmware

The OpenWRT Netgear DM200 page will point you at the current downloads. Again, factory firmware is what you're looking for. The "sysupgrade" image is for use with systems already running OpenWRT. You're not there yet.

Restoring the OEM image

In the best Sorcerer's Apprentice tradition, it helps tremendously to know how to get back to the status quo ante after you've been stretching your wizardly ambitions. For most modern network kit, you can use a TFTP client to send a firmware image to the device at boot time.

This is pretty clean and no-fuss, once you have the parts and process together.

You will need:

* A tftp client. I prefer command-line tools (they're scriptable), though there are GUI clients as well. Linux, OSX/MacOS, and Windows all have the BSD tftp utility available. Your distro's repos -- apt, yum, ports, Homebrew, etc., will provide this if it's not already installed.
  • Your vendor's OEM firmware image. You'll need to download this BEFORE you go cutting off your Internet connection, along with a few other details (like all the documentation you'll need).
* The device's default IP address. For the DM200, that's, a fact Netgear's own KB misstates, just sayin'....
  • An Ethernet cable. This is a wired-access process.
* A device that can talk to the modem. A desktop or laptop system, which can accept an Ethernet cable. Your Smartphone, tablet, or no-ports super-skinny notebook computer may not cut it.

Note that this is client-side stuff -- you don't need to get fancy-pants with TFTP daemons, BOOTP, DHCP servers, or any of that jazz.

I wrote a brief script to manage the process of bringing down my network connection, bringing it back up, then sending over the files:
sudo ifconfig eth0 down 
sudo ifconfig eth0 netmask up 
/sbin/ifconfig # to verify settings 
tftp <<EOF 
put DM200-V1.0.0.61.img 

(Mac users will probably use en0 rather than eth0 for their network device.)

You should see the put command, and then the bytes transferred and seconds elapsed (~30s or so). A timeout means tftp couldn't find the modem.

If things aren't working as intended, you can try uncommenting the "trace" line for additional debugging info.

The modem will take a few minutes (generally ~4) to receive, load, and boot the new image. When it does so, the power LED will shine constant green, and you should be able to down and up your interface, this time under DHCP, to talk to the modem again:
sudo ifconfig eth0 down 
sudo dhclient eth0

I don't have NetworkManager (a/k/a NetworkMangler) running on this system, you may need to shut that down to regain full control of your ~~senses~~ network, on systemd ~~afflicted~~ based Linux systems.

A saved OEM system configuration will allow you to restore settings from the backup, so that's another good preparatory step.

DSL configuration

As noted, the key item for PPoE configuration was setting the MTU to 1492 rather than 1500. Ideally, OpenWRT would take care of this itself, but presently it does not.

Have local documentation

After the first failure at getting DSL configured, in which I did not have much of the OpenWRT documentation locally accessible, I opened up multiple pages in browser tabs, and saved several as PDF or HTML format. The fact that OpenWRT doesn't have a single PDF- or ePub-formatted documentation set to download is actually slightly annoying. I've been exploring various web-based archival tools, and might try to mirror the site (or similar projects) using tools such as HTTrack or wget in future.

End result: some pain, some lessons learned, and a working system.

Why Bother?

So what does this buy me?

I'd had a few frustrations with the stock Netgear OEM image.
  • The interface was at best cumbersome. At worst, confusing, inconsistent, misleading, and useless. And it was slow.
  • The software was not frequently updated, a point of concern after the FBI issued a national request for people to reboot their broadband modems last year.
  • There was no SSH server, though an undocumented telnet daemon existed, requiring visiting a specific page (debug.htm) to launch.
  • There was no remote-logging or management capabilities.
  • The shell tools were limited, with annoyances such as a fixed-screen-size "less" utility (25 rows only, I tend to run my terminal windows larger).
  • System logs were primitive and only accessible via the web interface. Logs were not timestamped, a fact which is stunningly inane.
Out of the box, OpenWRT gives regular updates, SSH, remote syslogging, a vastly better designed and more responsive Web interface, and a less that handles arbitrarily-sized terminals. I'm exploring other packages and built-in features as well. The limited size and power of the modem suggest keeping aspirations limited, but having options is useful.

The other issue has been occasional service issues -- some local/internal wiring, some ISP-related. Having a more powerful, flexible, and shell-addressable (via SSH) set of tools may be useful with these if (!) they occur in future.

And -- with a Turris Omnia router, I've got another OpenWRT-based device and standardising on the toolset seems useful. The Omnia is far more powerful and has much more memory (2 GB) and storage (8 GB), the latter of which is further expandable with either internal or external storage. A nice set-up, actually.

So I'll be looking into the options and opportunities here for a while.

But if you're running the DM200 or similar kit and would prefer a Real Operating System on it, well, here's a quarter.

#Networking #OpenWRT #DSL #ADSL #VDSL #DM200 #Linux
Friendica suggests hash tags now? Seems not to work if you want to capitalize hash tags, nothing shows up when I start typing #Linux, but for #linux I get suggestions.
Where do these come from?

!Friendica Support
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