Dropbear ssh server PETs

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In recent posts I have mentioned running my Pi3 "headless".

To do this, I needed a SSH server, and chose Dropbear.

Here are the PET packages, for armv7, x6 and x86_64 (261K, 231K, 232K):

The last two are compiled statically in Buildroot, and yes, they are smaller than the one compiled with shared libs. But that is partly because the static ones were compiled as a single executable (like busybox).

The good thing about the static PETs is they will work on any old pup. Note, it does expect existence of /lib/lsb/init-functions, which are from Debian, slightly modified.

Active ethernet at first boot

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In the last post, I mentioned running my Pi3 "headless". I will write more about that, but right now, a little precursor fix.

Quirky, and Puppy, detects if an active ethernet cable is plugged in at the very first bootup. The idea being that you will then have network access automatically, without having to setup anything.

/etc/rc.d/rc.sysinit calls /etc/rc.network on the first bootup, which probes for an active ethernet connection.
This is very old code. Puppy forum member 'shinobar' wrote that piece of code in rc.sysinit, and 'Dougal' is responsible for most of the code in rc.network.

For my headless setup, I have a wireless router connected to the Pi3 by ethernet cable. However, at bootup the active ethernet connection was not automatically detected.

I found problems in rc.network, so I have written a small replacement, /etc/rc.d/rc.network_eth, which only does one thing, detect an active ethernet connection and run 'dhcpcd'.

Now it works. This automatic setup is important, as I can control the Pi remotely without having to setup anything on the Pi.

Even X does not have to be running. MobaXterm on my laptop has its own X server. I have actually used this situation -- X is broken on the latest experimental build of Quirky. No problem, I was able to run any GUI applications on the Pi from my laptop. Which is a bit weird.

Quirky installed on Asus E200HA

I bought this Asus E200HA baby laptop back in March 2016:

I wanted a machine with UEFI-firmware, for experimenting booting Quirky, but also as something compact to take on trips, for example with carry-on luggage on flights.

The guys on the Puppy Forum have been playing with various ways to run their Raspberry Pis "headless", controlled remotely from a desktop PC or laptop.
I also want to do this, as my Pi3 can then come along on trips, and I will be able to keep developing for it.
Anyway, that is another topic. Back onto Quirky and the E200HA story...

I knew before I purchased it, that there are some issues, such as sound not working, but I thought that they would get resolved in time, later kernels, etc. However, here we are in December, and I experimented with the 4.8.8 kernel, the same things are still broken.

It is not just sound. What has really made me unhappy is that the Linux kernel does not recognise the existence of an SD-card. The socket is there, and it works fine with Windows.

Which has kind of messed up my plans. The E200HA only has 32GB of solid state memory, of which about 11GB is free.
I do not want to have Quirky booting off a USB flash stick, as there are only two USB ports, besides, don't want something always sticking out. An SD-card is ruled out, so that only leaves the internal drive.

How I installed Quirky internally is very interesting. Here are the steps:

1. Shrink drive C:
Running Windows 10, I typed "Partition" in the search box, which quickly located the Partition Manager. Right-click on the C: drive and choose to shrink it by just over 5GB.

2. Create new partitions
Booted Quirky Xerus64 8.0 on USB flash-stick, ran GParted, created two primary partitions, 256MB fat32, and about 5GB ext4. These are identified as mmcblk0p5 and mmcblk0p6.
I set the "boot" and "esp" flags on mmcblk0p5.

3. ext4 without journal
GParted doesn't offer this, so after exiting GParted, ran this:
mke2fs -t ext4 -O ^has_journal -L quirky2 -m 0 -b 4096 /dev/mmcblk0p6

4. Populate ESP boot partition
I copied everything from the vfat partition of the USB flash-stick to mmcblkop5.
The only change needed is to edit syslinux.cfg and EFI/BOOT/syslinux.cfg and substitute the correct value for PARTUUID. I got it by running this:
echo -e 'i\n6\nq' | ${PRE}gdisk /dev/mmcblk0

5. Install Quirky into mmcblk0p6
I then ran the Setup -> Quirky Universal Installer, and chose a full installation to a hard drive partition.
As I am running Quirky 8.0, the installer wanted the xerus64-8.0.iso, that I had already placed on the flash stick.

6. Configure UEFI booting
I have documented how to configure the UEFI setup to boot from a Flash stick:
In this case, very interesting, the ESP fat32 partition that I created is identified as "Android-IA". Who cares, it works!

So, future bootups will always boot Quirky. If I should ever want to boot Windows, I will have to hold down the F2 key at power-on and make the change in the UEFI Ssetup.

This is a very interesting way of installing a Linux distro. It is completely non-invasive. No need for a special boot manager. If I delete my special ESP partition, the UEFI firmware will default back to normal Windows bootup.

One extra note about Linux compatibility. I have also discovered there is something wrong with the USB3 interface. The E200HA has one USB3 and one USB2 socket. The latter works fine, but getting strange behaviou with the former. For example, hanging when I plugged in a drive.

It is a pity that such a popular little laptop has so many Linux compatibility issues. It is a Cherry Tree CPU. One does live in hope that things will improve with upcoming kernels.

Buildroot for easyinit

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I have compiled utilities statically in Buildroot, using uClibc-ng, for armv7 (cortex-a7), x86 (pentium4) and x86_64 (nocoma).

These static utilities are now in woofQ, for building easyinit.

My host for compiling the armv7 binaries, was Quirky Xerus 8.1.3 in the Pi3. Buildroot was not happy with some of the Ubuntu headers, had to hack some.

For the x86 and x86_64 builds, my host was Quirky April 7.2.1, x86 and x86_64 hosts respectively. No trouble with the headers.

Note, I am going to build a T2-based Quirky for the Pi, see if Buildroot likes it's headers. Probably will.

Had to make some mods to the official buildroot, here it is:

It has .config files inside it for armv7, x86 and x86_64. Also some notes on compiling ntfs-3g and xdelta3.

After expanding, note that there is a folder "dl" which is a symlink to "../sources", so create that target.

Quirky 8.1.4 for Pi2 and Pi3

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Quirky Linux "Xerus" 8.1.4 is released for the Raspberry Pi2 and Pi3. This is a minor-point release of Quirky 8.1, with important bug fixes and improvements.

Please read the release announcement for Quirky 8.1 here:

The full release notes for 8.1 are here:

Improvements since 8.1 can be discovered by reading this blog. Of particular note is the increment from to 8.1.4, which has introduced more robust fault recovery:

Download from here:

Installation instructions with important newbie notes:

If you already have Quirky Xerus running on the Pi, an earlier version, upgrade to 8.1.4 is available by small Service Pack PET package.
Starting the Package Manager (PPM) will automatically probe for availability of a Service Pack, or run from the menu:
Filesystem -> Quirky Version Upgrade Manager

If you need to compile source packages, install the "devx" PET. Run the PPM to install it, or directly from here (191MB):

Kernel source PET (288MB):

Post questions, interact with other keen users:

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