Dec
31

Getting IPv6 for your ownCloud

As you could have read, I joined the ownClouds PiDrive effort. I like the idea and we were brainstorming on the mailing list regarding what can we do. One notion really popped out. If you have ownCloud at home, you might be interested in reaching your home cloud from anywhere you go. And if you don’t have public IPv4 or you don’t want to forward public ports from the router, you might be interested in getting IPv6 for you home cloud. It can be pretty easy. Both on your home cloud and your notebook. I would like to talk about few options I considered and how and which I decided to integrate them (also into ownCloud app that you can use anywhere).

Overview of options

Native IPv6

You might be lucky and get IPv6 segment directly from your Internet provider. I know mine does offer it. But I also know that quite some providers are trying to fight inevitable future and keep postponing IPv6 deployment. On the other hand, I heard that there are some providers that migrated fully to IPv6 and no longer offer IPv4, just NAT64. If you have native IPv6, you probably know about it and if your router is correctly setup, your home NAS as well as your other computers will get it automatically. So for those lucky ones, my app will just detect IPv6 and display the address you can use to connect to your cloud.

6to4

Kinda nice way to get IPv6, but requires public IPv4 and some advanced setup on the device that has this IP. So probably nothing average Joe will do. But if he does and propagate it to his PiDrive, app will detect it and show it.

Tunnel from IPv6 broker

This is quite popular option. You register with some tunnel broker (like HE or SixXS) and they will give you fixed IPv6 address or range of IPv6 address that you can use however you want. You get always the same IP no matter where you are and setup is usually pretty easy, the only tricky part is registration which often requires you to fill in quite some personal details. I was thinking about providing this as an option on PiDrive, but the need to register somewhere and need to choose a broker sounded quite bothersome, so I decided to support mainly the last option I’m going to mention which I consider the most user-friendly. But as in previous case, if you set this up, the app will detect that IP address that you got this way and display it and this option might be added later on as I consider it quite useful.

Teredo

Teredo is I would say the easiest way (from the end-users point of view) how to get IPv6. You just need to run the client on your machine, and it will figure everything out and assign you some IPv6 address that you can use. It works behind NAT and you don’t have to know anything, it will figure out everything – even the closest relay to use. There are some disadvantages. There is an overhead with figuring out everything, the protocol itself has some overhead and on top of that, your IP depends on public IP of your NAT and how it handles your traffic. It also depends on port you were assigned by your NAT, so your IP will likely change with every reboot. But overall I think it is viable solution for end users if used together with some DynDNS service (where you would need to register but mostly with less personal info). I have in my TODO to add option to support DynDNS as well (started working on it already, but really just started, so nothing published yet).

Conclusion

I think making it easy for home users to enable IPv6 on their home cloud and educating people about how to get IPv6 on their other machines is probably the best way to go regarding how to let people have their data available everywhere they go. An I hope the app I’m working on will help to achieve that.

Dec
29

PiDrive unboxing

Not so long ago ownCloud announced their cooperation with Western Digital. Outcome is PiDrive – basically home NAS solution. ARM board (RaspberryPi2) connected with HDD. And with the announcement of the cooperation came a challenge. Community was asked to come up with ideas regarding what would they do with it. Who was interested in working on the image that will be shipped as part of the final solution was offered a prototype of the device. I was one of the guys brainstorming about what to do with it. I had some ideas and already started working on some of them. More about them and the progress later. Currently I want to share some pictures of the PiDrive (as I already received the prototype) – obligatory unboxing and few thoughts on hardware.

Important note – whole this blog post is about prototype. Final device can be totally different.

So what do we have here? Let’s start with the ARM board. Raspberry Pi 2 has some advantages and some disadvantages from specs alone (just opened up the box, not booted up yet). It has only USB 2.0 (while drive itself supports USB 3.0) and only 100MBit ethernet, which is not that much nowadays. With BananaPi, it could get harddrive attached directly via SATA port and it would have 1GBit ethernet. But on the other hand 4 cores can be quite useful on device that is expected to run webserver. And if we learned anything from RaspberryPi it is that marketing matters a lot and thanks to it, there will be huge community around Raspberry Pi2 and thus plenty of interesting projects (and peripherals) can later come to PiDrive.

Box I got from post office

Box I got from post office
Picture 1 of 9

That kinda brings us to the box. As you can see on pictures, the prototype actually come with two boxes. One is black and other whiteish. Both of them are translucent, so you can see when some LED on your Pi is on or when harddrive is doing something. Both cases looks the same except of the colour. Really great idea is how to handle all the cables that go out of Pi. As you can guess, some are pretty mandatory – like power and ethernet. But there can be plenty of optional ones. More USB devices (keyboard, mouse, …), HDMI, some GPIO attached devices, maybe more. There would have to be plenty of holes to support all of them. The box solves the problem by letting you plug everything in and then having long and narrow hole in the back where you can guide out as many cables as you want. I really like the design of the box. Except one thing. I kinda miss the top of the box. In my case, top is open. You can see inside which is nice on one hand, but dust will be falling in quite heavily. I hope this will be fixed in final version or maybe just my devkit was missing the closure. One other small issue I have with box is that the stand that holds Pi and drive (board to board) doesn’t have hard plastic everywhere between them and I’m kinda worried that both board could touch if they vibrate enough and short out, but maybe it’s well tested and impossible and I’m just worried without any reason. But despite this criticism, I really like the boxing for the PiDrive. And I will somehow create a top of the box myself.

One last thing I haven’t mentioned yet is hard drive itself. It is 2.5″ 1T WD drive. More specs once I get the device booting. And there is a really cool cable attached to it. It has one power input, one power output as micro-USB (that goes to Raspberry), one USB that goes to USB port of Raspberry to connect it with drive and one micro-USB 3 that goes to the drive (both power and data). Kinda cool how it connects power and data while having four heads.

Overall I really like the idea and the project. There is a lot of work that needs to be done, but I’m happy that I’ll be part of the effort. So take a look at the pictures for now and I will create another blog post once I’ll have something up and running and some practical experience with the setup.

Dec
28

openSUSE Summit Asia 2015

Me & BudhaLast year first ever openSUSE Summit Asia took place in Beijing. From all the reports it sounded really awesome and I regretted that I couldn’t go. This year, I was lucky enough to manage to go. I was selected to do a board keynote and I got some of my travel expenses sponsored by Travel Support Programme (big thanks!). So how was this years openSUSE Summit Asia from my point of view? In short, amazing 🙂 In long, read on…

Let’s start with my Taiwan trip. I have never been to Taiwan before and visiting this country, which is quite different from my homeland, was by itself amazing. Lot of small shops everywhere, old and new temples between modern shopping centers, scooters everywhere, free WiFi in turistic places in Taipei… And friendly people everywhere. One really handy thing I noticed is that on every underground station, some buses and on few other places as well are recharging stations for your notebooks/cellphones. It is only starting to happen in my home town and in past I had several occasions when I could really use something like that. In Taipei, quite often you can see people recharging their devices so they can continue travelling 🙂 Other really interesting thing is kinda Foursquare predecessor. On plenty of places, you have a rubber stamp that you can use to put a mark in your log. On underground stations, all tourist offices, tourist attractions and more. So as you are travelling, you have a log of places you have been to. Really interesting comparing to all the high-tech stuff you see all around. I could go on how amazing Taiwan was from tourists point of view, but lets get to the main reason I was there – openSUSE Summit Asia.

Me & MascotEverything started on Friday by openSUSE Leap release party. It was combined with Ubuntu party. Both communities mixed well together and it was obvious that they know each other well and are friends. As everywhere in Taiwan, everybody was really friendly. I met there guy from Canonical who had Ubuntu phone, I showed him my Jolla, he showed me his Ubuntu phone, we talked and I was giving it some thoughts. I was thinking about what to buy as my next phone as Jolla was in deep troubles back than. Luckily they are now out of the dark, so I can look forward to next Jolla phone, but Ubuntu phone is still interesting especially as it can be probably converted into openSUSE phone 🙂 There was some talking in Chinese by the host that everybody seemed to enjoy and then lightning talks. One Debian guy did a presentation of C web framework. After that I stepped up and did presentation of my favourite C++ web framework afterwards. We had some pizza, some local food, something to drink and even birthday celebration of one of the community members. It was a lot of fun.

During the weekend was the summit itself. There was plenty of talks and workshops, some of it in Chinese, some of it in English. I did the keynote on behalf of openSUSE Board. Than I tried attending the Chinese workshop, but I got lost quite quickly, so I ended up following only the English part of the track. Regardless, there were some really interesting talks. One I would like to stress out is the talk that emphasises the importance of summit in Asia. There was a talk and long discussion regarding input methods. I found out that input methods varies a lot. Some uses English transcription, some maps keys on English keyboard to some Chinese signs, not sure whether full characters. But it varies a lot and it is not that easy to set it up. Now it is easier thanks to Chameleon tongue 🙂 And it is a type of problem, that is not that interesting in Europe/America, but is really important in Asia.

Apart from talks, there was as on every conference a lot of talks in the corridor and connecting with people and making new friends. We even had a visit from lizardy mascot 🙂 I learned what to visit on Taiwan, where to buy stuff, how is the conference infrastructure setup, that there is ongoing effort to publish openSUSE Japanese magazine and much more. I was a lot of fun. As a proof of how much fun was it, you can take a look at the pictures taken during the conference.

Oct
05

Introducing OCTV – ownCloud + ARM + old TV

CRT TVDo you remember my post about how Raspberry Pi revived my old TV? This is partially continuation of that post but also something new. Lets start with recap of what I did almost a year ago. I connected my Raspberry Pi to old CRT TV, installed video player and hacked together few CGI scripts to manage it. I got my old useless TV to do something useful again. Over the time, I made few modifications, introduced caching and added support for mpv to support not only Raspberry, but also better computers, like CubieBoard.

Now for the other part of the story. I was using CubieBoard as my home server for pretty long time, actually since the preordered one arrived. Unfortunately it aged a little and I upgraded my home network switch to gigabit one and this was one important part of infrastructure that didn’t supported it yet. At the same time my relatives could use some simple home server on slow local network. So I decided to pass on my CubieBoard and get myself a new board. As my father was also eyeing for my Raspberry I decided to replace both my ARM boards with only one. And as I needed it fast, I went for BananaPi because

  • they had it in local store in stock (no waiting)
  • it has composite video output I need for my old TV till I get a new one
  • it’s Allwiner and thus quite well supported
  • it has gigabit network card

Since I was doing major changes, I also wanted to improve my scripts a little. As I considered file browsing capabilities of my scripts the biggest weakness (well together with caching that was trying to address part of the problem of the browsing capabilities and broke from time to time), I decided to do some bigger change. Since I knew opensource web app that has great file browsing capabilities, I decided to take advantage of it and rewrote my scripts to became ownCloud app. An so I did. It is simple and clumsy, but it does something. It can play movies and you can control the player from the WebUI. If you don’t care about security too much. And do few important security holes into your system.

Few non-obvious tricks for BananaPi. If you want accelerated video and composite video output, you have to use old sunxi 3.4 kernel (which doesn’t build with gcc 5). Apart from that you have to give quite some memory to graphics card. I used following on kernel command line:

sunxi_g2d_mem_reserve=32 sunxi_ve_mem_reserve=128 sunxi_no_mali_mem_reserve sunxi_fb_mem_reserve=32

And to make it work, you need libvdpau-sunxi to get accelerated drivers and you probably also want xf86-video-fbturbo to have non-video Xorg faster as well. I made packages out of those and you can currently find them in my personal repository (together with kernel package) but don’t worry, I’ll be pushing them somewhere more official over the time (xf86-video-turbo should be in Factory already).

Everything ended well, in the end I switched from Raspberry Pi to something more powerful what can still bring my old CRT TV into 21st century. But I’m back at square one(with hopefully better technology to start with) and need to re-add features I got used to and learn a little bit more about ownCloud internals to be better/more efficient ownCloud developer 🙂

PS: Pull requests are welcome as I don’t know much about ownCloud or CSS or JavaScript or whatever it is I’m doing 🙂

Mar
29

OBS Screensaver

screensaverSome of you might know that I was and in part still am a Gentoo user as well. I always found something reassuring in watching terminal with compilation going on. It is a nice sight. Compiler crunching all those sources and preparing something new for you. On some conference I even saw Gentoo guys showing a recording of Gentoo installation – a lot of compilation in there. I really liked it and I thought that it would make a nice screensaver.

So how can I have such a nice experience in binary distribution like openSUSE? All the packages are built by OBS and I get only binaries. No obvious way how to heat up my apartment with my computer. But I can still get the nice almost warm feeling of packages being compiled! Solution is pretty easy, I just configured xscreensaver to use my script and show me what OBS is working on! The outcome is, I have a screensaver that shows in the cool way compilation output of what OBS is working on right now. I still can smell fresh packages being baked, but without heating up my CPU.

How to do it? Quite simple. You need the following simple script:

  1. #!/bin/bash
  2.  
  3. mkdir -p ~/.obs-saver
  4. cd ~/.obs-saver
  5.  
  6. while true; do
  7. URL="$(curl --connect-timeout 2 'https://build.opensuse.org/monitor/old' 2> /dev/null | \
  8. sed -n 's|.*/package/live_build_log/\([^"]*\)/\([^/]*\)/\([^/]*\)/\([^/]*\)".*|https://build.opensuse.org/build/\1/\3/\4/\2/_log|p' | \
  9. sed -n "`expr 5 + \( ${RANDOM} \* 10 / 32767 \)` p")"
  10. if [ "$URL" ]; then
  11. curl --connect-timeout 2 "$URL" 2> /dev/null | tee "`date +%s`"
  12. LAST_BL="`ls -1 | tail -n 1`"
  13. if [ "`wc -l "$LAST_BL" | sed 's|\ .*||'`" -lt 5 ]; then
  14. rm "$LAST_BL"
  15. cat "`ls -1 | sort -R | tail -n 1`" 2> /dev/null
  16. else
  17. rm -f "`ls -1 | head -n -10`"
  18. fi
  19. else
  20. cat "`ls -1 | sort -R | tail -n 1`" 2> /dev/null
  21. fi
  22. done

Save it as obs-saver in your ~/bin and make sure it is executable. Then if you are using xscreensaver, select “Phosphor” screen saver and in settings -> advanced, use following command line:

phosphor -root -scale 3 -ticks 5 -delay 2000 -program ~/bin/obs-saver

Now if you are connected to the internet and you will wait for screensaver to kick in, it will randomly select one of the latest packages being build on OBS and it will start showing you it’s build log 🙂 I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do! Feeling of stuff being compiled without actually wasting that much of electricity is great 😉

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