Step 3.3 – No Idea What I Did….

22 10 2012

Well I was looking for those other scripts and found how to locate the ‘nodesetup’ command.  I rand:

whereis nodesetup

and it told me it lived in:

nodesetup: /usr/local/sbin

So I hopped over there and found the following executable options:

  1. firsttime
  2. modconfig
  3. netsetup
  4. nodesetup
  5. poff
  6. pon
  7. savenode
  8. sethost
  9. svast

Everything but poff, pon, and svast seemed to make some sense. Poff and pon seemed to start and stop something… so I’ll avoid them… but svast couldn’t make head or tails of it.  So I ran it thinking there would be some user interaction that I could bail on..Well I was wrong.

The thing ran, and ran and ran and extracted files …. I have no idea what it did.

UPDATE: I know what it did now. It looks like it tar’ed and gziped a boatload of files on the node.  I checked the file output and the creation time is when I expected (about 15 minutes ago).  So I didn’t harm anything. In fact I might just have made a backup of my entire important system? I’m still not sure what svast stands for.

I expect ast = asterisk so what is sv. Still unclear but feeling better about not screwing up or replacing a boatload of files I just created.


Step 3.3 – Successful/Correct Register with AllStarLink

22 10 2012

Well those forum emails did me in!

Somehow I wasn’t registered again with the AllStarLink sometime today? Anyway, got home logged in as root on the serial cable and typed in:


And sure enough up came the node setup script! Easy-Peasy (how do you actually spell that?!).  The biggest thing that I didn’t realize but luckily had already setup is in the node information on the AllStarLink Portal the settings for the Server on the Network Configuration tab that read:

hostname and type are in fact for your local server (ie – beagleboard). Luckily for me I had already put in the same hostname I was using and DHCP was already set so when I ran nodesetup and it downloaded those settings it didn’t change anything. Excellent!

So now supposedly I can use the portal to configure the AllStarNode.  I think my next step is to locate and explore the scripts that are clearly included in pickle linux (along with Limey and ACID I presume) to see what other options are out there.  Of course I’ll post what I find.

Mailing List References

22 10 2012

Ok it is time to regroup….

So for all of us (me included) who want to build an AllStar Node the references are scattered.

Tonight I found the mailing list archives @:

But there isn’t an easy search.
So I followed these directions:
To get the whole list into Thunberbird to view, sort, and search.
As I’m on Windows I did:
1) Download all the monthly .gz files
2) Bulk un .gzip them into a single folder
3) TRICKY PART: Renamed each *.txt file to *.ck file because as it turns out the .txt files at this point are still containers that need extracting!
4) Bulk extracted the .ck files into another folder
5) navigated down the entire file path to the folder that has all the TRUE *.txt files in it
6) Ran “copy *.txt  bigtextfile.txt”
7) THEN followed the directions in how to import them into Thunderbird (NOTE ABOUT THUNDERBIRD — you have to setup one email account in Thunderbird for the proper folders to show up to follow those directions)
More or less this gives me a place to search when I have a specific question.  So far I searched and sorted by any post that has the work Beagleboard in it.  What that gave me was a set of commands that I wasn’t aware of to run.  Not all the answers but a lot more questions when they are appropriate.  At this point I *think* I’ve discovered the script I need to run to configure the node and do all this registration, etc that I’ve been trying to manually do. So that one thing if it pans out is worth it!

Step 3.2 – Register with the AllStarLink Network

21 10 2012

So I am hoping that if I can register with the AllStarNetwork some of my configuration can be done via their webpage.  So I found this page on their FAQ:

And made the changes using the following commands:

cd /etc/asterisk

pico iax.conf

Scrolled down to the line about registration and edited it to read:

Ctrl-O to “Output file” or better known as Save

it asks for the file name I left the default of iax.conf since I wanted to overwrite it.

Hit enter


Ctrl-X to exit

Now I have to restart the asterisks service…Google anyone?

Didn’t find it right away so I did what any Windows guy would do: reboot.

I issued the command “reboot -n”

I logged back in and I honestly have no idea to know if the registration worked or not….

So the other post on the FAQ about Allstar Link How-To talked about how to configure publishing my node stats online.  I want to enable this to basically see if it will help me determine what is going on!

This post:

I looked at the two options (For ACID vs Limey Linux) and the only difference appears to the be location of the command ‘wget’ I used cd and ls to determine in pickle it is located at the same location as ACID.

so I ran pico /etc/asterisk/rpt.conf (which essentially is the file the allstarnode website edits and creates and downloads for you)

I changed the line that said [9999] CHange this to your node number (so I did)

And then I scrolled down to the section that says

*** Stauts Reporting ***

And uncommented (deleted the  semi-colons at he beginning of the 2 lines) the 2 lines under ACID.

Ctrl-O to save again and then rebooted again.

My status page still says nothing. Oh well for now. I think I need to stop working on this for a while because my partner and I are leaving the house soon.

UPDATE: I edited out the A at the begining of the node number for the registration page.  Just to see if it changed anything. Doesn’t appear to but I also suspect I need to get the ports working for the admin tool webpage to work as well.

UPDATE 2: WAIT! I now appear on the node page for allstar. So I think it worked! Ok now maybe I can work on the configuration from the web page. Of course I also need to get a radio hooked up to the LOX board to even start testing….

UPDATE 3:  I read some more documentation that did say the A in front of the node number was needed so I changed it back.  I also found what ports need to be open for AllStar which is 4569 UDP per this article:

So I went ahead and created a port forward for my device with  4569 (I’m using a Buffalo Router with dd-wrt as the firmware (not the stock firmware) and it is behind a cable modem that is NOT a router. So I’m singled NATed).

I’m hoping this will allow me to use the web interface now to make changes ::fingers crossed::

Step 3.1 – Initial Linux Configuration

21 10 2012

So now that I have console I logged in using the default user name / password (root / pickle) and it to told me it was my first time logging in and did I want to run the first time login script and change some things. I said yes and the first thing it did was ask me to change my password. So I typed in a password…. and it wouldn’t take it.

passwd: Authentication token manipulation error

Over and over.  One thing indicated the drive was mounted read only and since I know the microSD card was physically writable (its how I got the image on their in the first place) I did what any Windows man would do: reboot! And sure enough this time it worked fine.

So I reset the root password, changed the hostname, and set it to DHCP for IP addressing.

Rebooted and logged back in…. and now…..

I have a console session and no idea what to do next. So at this point I’m poking through the file system to see if I can find a script a place to bind it to the allstar network so I can use the web to configure some of it….

But I’m in.

Step 2 – Getting Pickle Linux Booting – Attempt 2.5

21 10 2012


So today I mounted the BeagleBoard-xm to the LOX board. It was quite the adventure in dexterity.  Nothing complicated just the screws and mounting hardware kept moving around.

Once I got that all done I plugged in the 12 V power supply to the LOX board and it powered the Beagleboard-xm successfully.  IRonically all that work I did trying to get the exact 5V to test the BeagleBoard were moot in the long run because the folks that make the LOX board put a voltage regulator on the LOX board that accepts 6-40 volts! GOOD WORK GUYS!

The next portion of getting the board officially booted was to get a console session.  According to the pickle linux site that is a matter of using PuTTY and a straight through serial cable.  Long story short is it took me 3 trips to work to find a straight through serial cable to work but setting PuTTY up with the following configuration gave me a console login!

PuTTY Config

That fired up and I saw a Login! BOOT SUCCESS!

Step 2 – Getting Pickle Linux Booting – Attempt 2.4

20 10 2012

Spoier Alert: IT WORKED!

Subtitled: “The Semi Colon Affair”

– – –

Well this morning I finally got the Pickle Linux to boot. Well at least the rights lights turn on and flash around. I still haven’t gotten video output/console session yet but that is of little worry at this point. So why did I call it “The Semi Colon Affair”…simple.  It was a stupid mistake that I should have caught the first time through. But I didn’t, nor the 2nd, nor the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, etc.

So what happened?  Well I noticed this morning when I did and fdisk -l in my knoppix linux environment that even AFTER running “dd” toolset to create the microSD card that there were no valid partitions on the disk.  I had noticed this in passing in Windows but I honestly wasn’t sure what I was SUPPOSED to see so I kept trucking along.  But this time in linux it finally hit me that this is strange.  Linux (and the fdisk -l tool specifically) SHOULD be able to see everything. And no matter what the format of the disk should be it NEEDS partitions and more specifically a partition table to be read much less boot. This immediately made me realize that the image file I was using to put onto the disk was LIKELY my culprit.

I immediately assumed that the original downloaded file was corrupt so I went to download the file again from the pickle linux site. I tried wget from linux to see if the un-compression process on windows was corrupting it somehow.  So I hovered over the link and it reads:

Great. So I typed it into wget and let it run. At some point I also decided to download via my original windows machine and
I saw the file downloaded is named:


::blink blink::

I had seen pickle-current.gz in my original download folder and assumed I had 1/2 uncompressed it. But clearly this was the file that came down via IE to my computer.  So I did an experiment…

I changed the name to pickle-curent.tgz (as the file says it should be). I opened it with 7-Zip and sure enough there was a pickle-current.tar…

I extracted it… and opened pickle-current.tar with 7-Zip again…. and sure enough in that was a… drum roll please….. pickle.img


So I used win32DiskImager.exe to write THAT pickle.img file to my microSD card.  In windows it now showed as an about 70 mb disk mounted (which is what my reading told me it should have done). So I ejected it and then put it into the BeagleBoard-xm and..

Low and behold the power light came on! The 2 SD card lights started blinking and it looked normal! It booted!!!!!  But no output on the HDMI port.

So now the next step is to get a serial cable hooked up to get into the console via the directions on the pickle linux page.


Assumptions. And a weird download file.

So when I downloaded the original pickle-current.gz file on my computer I noticed the file that it extracted had no file extension and was named wrong (pickle-current NOT pickle). Well this didn’t tip me off anything was wrong. For 1 file extensions between OSes don’t always follow and file name changes are pretty common in the open source community where documentation tends to lag behind actual changes.  So I went ahead and put a .img file extension on the pickle-current fie I extracted. It was the right size and the win32DiskImager didn’t complain about a bad file type so I assumed I was ok. It wasn’t. I clearly didn’t run an MD5 checksum against the file. I’ve never done it and never run into an issue. But in this case it would have told me immediately something was wrong.

My assumptions got me down the wrong path but the crux of the issue is that Windows 7 + IE 9 downloaded a pickle-current.gz file INSTEAD of the proper pickle-current.tgz file.  Therefore, 7-Zip handled it as the INCORRECT file type.

I just tried it with Firefox and it seemed to save the file as .tgz correctly and I tried IE 9 once again and by default it seems to want to make it a .gz file.  STRANGE!


If you are using Windows…

The Steps I Took…

  1. Download the file via Firefox OR rename the file to .tgz if you use IE 9
  2. I used 7-Zip to un-compress the pickle-current.tgz to a pickle-current.tar
  3. I used 7-Zip to un-compress the pickle-current.tar to pickle.img
  4. I used an external card reader per the raspberry pi page
  5. I used win32DiskImager.exe to copy to the pickle.img to the microSD card

Indicators that it Worked:

  1. The file progression with 7-Zip was pickle-current.tgz -> pickle-current.tar -> pickle.img (any other file name progression or lack of extension probably means something is wrong)
  2. After the .img was written to the disk 2 partitions are available.  Windows will ONLY mount the 70 mb partition labeled “boot” (In other words when you are done in “My Computer” Windows will show you a single drive letter (H: in my case) and it will be labeled “boot” and will only be around 70 mb in size)
  3. I didn’t check but I expect windows would see the 2nd partion using disk manager. I expect it is an ext2 parition.