More Linux Follies

Well, I’ve settled in at home, unloaded the truck, and had a day or two of rest. Time to get back to work! ;-)

So I decided to set up the Pine64 on the new TV and get back to doing things on a nice BIG monitor on a Linux machine again. Hooked it all up, booted up fine. PiHole working nicely. Connected to my Lab WiFi Router fine. Hey, everything is GREAT!

Only “issue” was “the usual” that has been there a long while: Sound wasn’t working. Sound was reliable for years, then Pottering “fixed” it with his vision of sound. Now sound is often a “maybe” thing on Linux with his code.

The Pine64 is running Armbian, as there wasn’t a Devuan for it when I set it up. It works OK, despite being SystemD infested, for most things. (It DOES have all the usual PITA of SystemD capriciously changing things and taking over functions that worked fine – and breaking them in the process – like home directory handling…). But for basic “give me a browser and terminal interface” it was working OK, I guess.

Well, silly me, I thought “Maybe an update/upgrade cycle will fix sound. It’s been many months…” So I did an apt-get update and an apt-get upgrade. Then rebooted.

I came up fine. Looked good. But…

No network.


So I’m back on the Chromebook. I’ll get back to the SBC world “soon enough”, I guess. For now I’m just going to not bother. The whole SystemD “maybe it will work today, or maybe not” is just not worth fighting it. I’ve got an old White Box PC that came with me on this run of moving stuff. And a monitor. I’m thinking “Maybe it would be better to just set it up with Devuan and be done for a while.” Whatever.

This is just sad. For about 35, maybe 40 years? Unix & Linux were just rock solid reliable. Technically a bit of a challenge to set up some times (especially in the early days), but once running, they just ran forever. Now, post Pottering & SystemD, it’s just a crap shoot on anything but the hardware they tested against (and even then some of the systematic breakage is still with you)

Oh Well.

I didn’t pick up all my kit on this run. There’s still a bunch of SBCs and kit in storage for “run #2” in a few more weeks or months. But I’ve got an office full of boxes to unpack and set up first (including some bookcases to set up…)

Maybe I’ll just hit a link and order a new Devuan Friendly (or other non-SystemD friendly…) computer. That has a major attraction. Time or money? Decisions decisions…. Maybe it’s time for another survey of just what hardware is out there that’s Traditional Unix / Linux friendly.

But for now, I’m watching the Trump Rally in Pennsylvania on RSBN:

Though they are asking folks to hit their Rumble link:–president-donald-trump-rally-live-in-wilkes-barre-pa-9322.html

So at least in some ways life is getting back to normal ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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16 Responses to More Linux Follies

  1. E.M.Smith says:

    FINALLY fixed the HP Chromebook failure to reach Whatfinger news.

    Had to go into the DNS settings and set it to Cloudflair (eventually to be my own PiHole DNS, but for now…)

    Has the recipe.

    Under “Settings” for “Security and Privacy”:

    Use secure DNS
    Determines how to connect to websites over a secure connection
    () With your current service provider
    Secure DNS may not be available all the time

    (*) With

    Cloudflare (
    See this provider’s privacy policy

    So pointed to Cloudflair at this time. (There’s other options in the drop down)

    So there’s one small step forward…

    So the default DNS (likely Spectrum as they are my provider ATM) didn’t like Whatfinger… Nice to know. I’ll need to look for an alternate internet provider…

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    Looks like in the year or so since I was last installing Devuan on a new board, they have added a bunch more boards in the ARM classes as well as a PPC cpu support…

    (Note the arm64 in the path name, you get to wander around looking for the different arch types…)

    [ICO] Name Last modified Size Description
    [PARENTDIR] Parent Directory –
    [ ] a64-olinuxino.img.gz 2022-07-10 08:50 349K
    [ ] firefly-rk3399.img.gz 2022-07-10 08:50 468K
    [ ] nanopi_neo2.img.gz 2022-07-10 08:50 340K
    [ ] orangepi_zero_plus2.img.gz 2022-07-10 08:50 340K
    [ ] pine64_plus.img.gz 2022-07-10 08:50 358K

    [ ] pinebook-pro-rk3399.img.gz 2022-07-10 08:50 512K
    [ ] pinebook.img.gz 2022-07-10 08:50 352K
    [ ] puma-rk3399.img.gz 2022-07-10 08:50 488K
    [ ] rock-pi-4-rk3399.img.gz 2022-07-10 08:50 515K
    [ ] rock64-rk3328.img.gz 2022-07-10 08:50 408K
    [ ] rockpro64-rk3399.img.gz 2022-07-10 08:50 516K
    [ ] teres_i.img.gz 2022-07-10 08:50 347K

    So it looks like I can get a Pine64 image of Devuan. Maybe. (Not sure what a Pine64 PLUS is.. and if it’s compatible with what I’ve got…)

    There’s others too:

    [DIR] binary-all/ 2022-09-04 14:15 –
    [DIR] binary-amd64/ 2022-09-04 14:15 –
    [DIR] binary-arm64/ 2022-09-04 14:15 –
    [DIR] binary-armel/ 2022-09-04 14:15 –
    [DIR] binary-armhf/ 2022-09-04 14:15 –
    [DIR] binary-i386/ 2022-09-04 14:15 –
    [DIR] binary-ppc64el/ 2022-09-04 14:15 –

    [DIR] debian-installer/ 2021-07-09 12:29 –
    [DIR] i18n/ 2022-09-04 14:15 –
    [DIR] installer-amd64/ 2022-07-11 19:08 –
    [DIR] installer-arm64/ 2022-07-11 19:08 –
    [DIR] installer-armel/ 2022-07-11 19:07 –
    [DIR] installer-armhf/ 2022-07-11 19:07 –

    [DIR] installer-i386/ 2022-07-11 19:06 –
    [DIR] installer-ppc64el/ 2022-07-11 19:03 –
    [DIR] source/ 2022-09-04 14:15 –

    So you can even do a Little Endian (-le) ARM if you have one… though that’s a very limited set… might be fun to try it though 8-}

    [DIR] kirkwood/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] orion5x/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [ ] udeb.list 2022-07-10 08:50 3.0K

    Not sure what a “kirkwood” or “orion5x” might be…

    Looks like availability for 32 bit ARM boards has grown as well:

    [DIR] A10-OLinuXino-Lime/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] A20-OLinuXino-Lime/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] A20-OLinuXino-Lime2-eMMC/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] A20-OLinuXino-Lime2/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] A20-OLinuXino-MICRO/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] A20-Olimex-SOM-EVB/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] BananaPi/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] BananaPiM2Berry/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] BananaPro/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] BeagleBoard-X15/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] BeagleBoneBlack/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] Cubieboard/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] Cubieboard2/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] Cubietruck/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] Cubietruck_plus/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] Firefly-RK3288/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] Lamobo_R1/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] MX6_Cubox-i/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] MX53LOCO/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] NanoPiNeo/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] NanoPiNeoAir/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] Novena/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] PandaBoard/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] Sinovoip_BPI_M3/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] Wandboard/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] orangepi_plus/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] pcDuino/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –
    [DIR] pcDuino3/ 2022-07-10 08:50 –

    Still a bit limited on the Orange Pi choices (i.e. no Pi One that I have)

    Oddly missing from these lists are the various Raspberry Pi boards… I wonder if they are separated out somewhere else… or did they just drop them?

    Ah, somewhere else:

    Please Note: All ARM images available on this page are unofficial downloads developed through community effort.

    RaspberryPi Latest Builds/ 04-Sep-2022 10:03 –
    RaspberryPi Signed Releases/ 20-Oct-2021 07:20 –
    README.txt 19-Oct-2021 20:33 6490
    SHA256SUMS 03-Dec-2021 01:42 1981
    devuan_beowulf_3.0.0_arm64_npir2s_0.2.img.xz 13-May-2021 22:06 468M
    devuan_beowulf_3.0.0_arm64_orangepi_one_plus_0…> 13-May-2021 22:06 462M
    devuan_beowulf_3.0.0_arm64_rockpi4_0.2.img.xz 13-May-2021 22:06 525M
    devuan_beowulf_3.0.0_arm64_rockpro64_0.2.tar.xz 13-May-2021 22:06 249M
    devuan_beowulf_3.0.0_armel_rpi1_0.4.img.xz 13-May-2021 22:06 669M
    devuan_beowulf_3.0.0_armhf_olinuxino_lime2_0.5…> 13-May-2021 22:06 456M 04-Mar-2021 22:44 576M 04-Mar-2021 22:46 573M 04-Mar-2021 22:41 571M
    devuan_beowulf_3.1.0_armhf_bpi_m2_zero_0.2.img.xz 11-Jun-2021 21:25 389M
    devuan_beowulf_3.1.0_armhf_npi_neo_air_0.2.img.xz 19-Jun-2021 22:59 460M 04-Mar-2021 22:42 562M 19-Oct-2021 01:26 593M 19-Oct-2021 03:37 589M 19-Oct-2021 05:47 502M 19-Oct-2021 05:47 502M 19-Oct-2021 02:31 494M
    devuan_chimaera_4.0_arm64_pool1.iso 03-Dec-2021 01:40 4G

    So Pi Zero, Pi 1,2,3, & 4 for Chimera build. Some more for the older Beowulf builds.

    OK… maybe it’s time to go shopping for a newer board… it’s been a while ;-)

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, and this link has some info on doing the Pi install these days:

    Re: Help installing Devuan on Rpi4
    Fri Dec 03, 2021 11:33 pm

    As a google search for rpi4 Devuan install landed me here I thought I’d post a quick install guide to help others finding themselves here.

    Download image

    unzip and write to sd card or harddrive as normal, I used rpi imager on windows to a usb3 ssd.

    boot your rpi. you will be presented with the console, login as user devuan password devuan.

    run the setup program to set locale etc


    To install a graphical desktop first update package lists

    sudo apt update

    Make sure the system is up to date.

    sudo apt upgrade

    Install a desktop, if you don’t know the package name you can search.

    sudo apt-cache search xfce
    Install xfce, package name is xfce4

    sudo apt install xfce4

    Xfce is a minimal install so add some extras,

    sudo apt install xfce-terminal

    sudo apt install xfce-goodies

    sudo apt install firefox-esr

    start the desktop


  4. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, I’ve plugged a wire into the ethernet port so I can now get to the world again from the Pine64. (Not a perm solution as the wire lays across the walking path of the room…)

    Did another update /upgrade and rebooted. Was going to do another one (so all the various dependencies could eventually update as the thing they depended on was updated, rinse and repeat) and got the message that would not resolve. WT?

    Trying it on my laptop (different DNS provider) it re-directs to a site with both English and Chinese writing… so not going to use that:

    So if there’s anyone out there who has a moment, if you could see if your computer resolves to something useful, that would be good to know… (Or just if anyone knows WT? is going on with armbian…)

    In the mean time, I’m going to see if the update that I did do has fixed the broken WiFi driver…

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    Curiouser and Curiouser… Doing an on-line NSlookup gives:

    here’s the site for online lookups from any old computer:


    pops up an ngnix greeting:

    Welcome to nginx!
    If you see this page, the nginx web server is successfully installed and working. Further configuration is required.

    For online documentation and support please refer to
    Commercial support is available at

    Thank you for using nginx.

    It sort of looks like someone is doing maintenance on and tried to do some kind of DNS re-direct but failed? Who knows…

    Maybe I’ll just try it again on some other day….

  6. jim2 says:

    PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
    64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=1 ttl=47 time=46.2 ms

  7. jim2 says:

    I also get the Chinese site for Whois …

    No match for “APT.ARMBIAN.COM”.
    >>> Last update of whois database: 2022-09-04T18:08:00Z <<<

    NOTICE: The expiration date displayed in this record is the date the
    registrar's sponsorship of the domain name registration in the registry is
    currently set to expire. This date does not necessarily reflect the expiration
    date of the domain name registrant's agreement with the sponsoring
    registrar. Users may consult the sponsoring registrar's Whois database to
    view the registrar's reported date of expiration for this registration.

    No useful info from whois

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    Thank’s for that cross-check Jim2. Let’s me know “it isn’t me” ;-)

    looks like maybe someone at armbian screwed up their DNS maintenance…

  9. Taz says:


    Have a simple rule with Linux. You attempt installation ONCE. If everything doesn’t work the first time – you pitch that distro and try something else.

    Ever since this method was adopted – Linux problems fell to nil.

    Now I DO understand YOUR capabilities far outshine my own….but it’s a trap. And it only leads to the gigantic time suck.

  10. E.M.Smith says:


    Well, this was an upgrade not an install… but yeah, I’m looking at a Devuan install and just replacing this distro (Armbian) now that it looks like Devuan is available…

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    Part of the “issue” I’m dealing with is that most of my lab gear, infrastructure gear, and misc tools & such ALL are in boxes, most of them still in California. The amount of stuff here, now, is minimal. Most of what is here still needs unpacking and the office is full of boxes and “stuff on the floor” to put into furniture that isn’t here yet.

    It turns out that many of the little “irrelevant” bits become highly relevant when you don’t have them. My small box of empty / reuse uSD cards. The SD Card to USB adapter. The Big Disk of Linux ISO images. The various monitors, power supplies, mice, keyboards, etc. etc. All that kit that I typically used to download an ISO, burn it to a uSD card, test it in an SBC, archive the image, etc. etc.

    Sure, I can just go buy another “whatever”… but then that takes time and finding out which one is being sold now (and is the good one…) and putting it somewhere once it gets here and…

    Sure, I can just re-purpose some of what IS here now. Like the Chromebooks. They have a built in basic Linux command line interface. I could use them as an ISO download and store facility for now. But then I’m back to “How to make it do FOO” questions. Does the USB port support the gizmo that writes to uSD cards? Can I do a “dd bs=20” somehow to put that image on the uSD? Yeah, I can figure it all out, but that’s just another bit of PITA compared with sitting down at a familiar workstation.

    Basically, I’ve moved from “Life on the road” to “Life out of a box” but not yet to “Life as designed and built”.

    Oh Well. Likely only a few more months of this…

  12. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith says; “Life as designed and built”.
    Yes, “Your next Mission is to build your new life” 8-)
    A challenge and opportunity!
    At least this time you can create what you wan rather the just get by. Take advantage of that opportunity
    I would recommend finding an outlet bar to be a part of your lab. I found 2 – 42 outlet APC . 3 phase power bars from a tower, rewired them for 120 vac 1 phase, Gives me amp load for each of the 3 outlet sets as a continues readout . and all of those outlets is a wonderful host to all of those modern wall worts you must host.

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    We’re getting there!

    One room at a time.

    The Dining Room is pretty much set up. Need to move a sideboard into it (from another room where we unloaded stuff into it) and pick up the other 2 chairs from the set in the next run. (They were too far back to reach and we really only need 2 right now, 4 when set up for guests). Maybe add a china hutch.

    Both bathrooms are pretty much done and decorated. Need to add a dimmer switch to one of them, but that’s about $20 and a couple of hours.

    Kitchen is pretty much done (new microwave replacing the one left behind); but just a couple of appliances to get in run #2 (stand mixer and such).

    Living Room & Den waiting for new couch & love seat (on order, delivery out sometime in December due to shortage of motors…) plus hanging the framed stuff from this trip.

    Master Bedroom with 1/2 the dressers in it (2nd 1/2 next trip – a matched set of about 1/2 century old stuff in nice condition ;-) and new bed gear (never had one that changes shape before ;-). Still needs some wall hangings hung. A couple of more boxes of clothes to be opened, sorted, stored, etc.

    Need to set up the main room big TV and move the present one… and I need to learn how to program our new robotic vacuum…

    The Guest Room is pretty much done (new powered folding bending vibrating and wifi capable bed in place… though I disabled the WiFi module…) along with a dresser from Disney Wilderness Lodge (spouse found where to buy Disney discards…)

    Even the Garage is pretty much set up right.

    TBDone? Spousal office (waiting on her desk) and my office / lab (always last on the Honey Do list…). Oh, and get a mower for the shed ;-)

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    Almost forgot:

    The Florida room needs a Beer Fridge and Seed Freezer. It is presently set up with a small dinette set and a potting bench, along with some stack-able plastic lawn chairs. But there’s “Cardboard Mountain” growing in one corner of it as various boxes get broken down / pitched. A “slow recycle” is underway on that, and some are being used as cardboard “mulch” for planting around the fence perimeter.

    Overall it is “good enough” but needs those appliances ;-) Walking all the way into the kitchen for a beer is just sooo wrong 8-0

    Probably also ought to mention that the pantry has about 3 months of food in it too. Would like to get to 6 months, but priorities… I keep going to the store, seeing all the shelves full, and thinking that I’ve still got plenty of time… We have a folding card table in the b’fast nook pending arrival of the proper table, but good enough for now.

    Oh, and the laundry room is all good to go too. Pretty much came that way.

    So mostly it’s just simple stuff in most of the space, getting book cases chosen and in place for the Big Book Unboxing (about a dozen bookcases worth…), and then the 2 offices… & my lab space in my office.

    (Somehow I feel tired just recanting it all….)

    I’ll likely make a “portable lab” kit for just doing Linux work until I get to the actual set up of My Office / Lab. I’ve done that before. Small TV / monitor. Case with SBCs, chips, adapters, disks, and cables / PSUs in it. Set it up on any table and go. Otherwise it may be next January before I’m able to sit at my (new) desk and build a Linux…

  15. E.M.Smith says: now redirects to:
    that looks about right:

    Index of /apt/
    dists/ 30-Jul-2022 08:58 –
    pool/ 03-Sep-2022 16:14 –
    armbian.key 03-Sep-2022 16:15 3128
    content.html 03-Sep-2022 16:15 1025322

    So as suspected, it looks like someone was using the holiday week-end to do maintenance work and is now “wrapping up”.

    I’ll likely try my update / upgrade again sometime tomorrow…


    Spoke too soon. This time it redirected to:

    so something is up. Maybe they are installing a rotating pool redirector?

    Update 2

    Another test landed at:
    with some Chinese char on the page but otherwise looking like the same content, maybe.

    Does look like some kind of rotor being played with / set up.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    Hmmm… seems to have two different content pages that it swaps between. Like it has it’s own rotor…

    I think I’ll give it a rest until things have “finished” (whatever is being done…)

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