Unlocking the ECI B-FOCuS V-2FUb/r Rev. B VDSL modem

BT ships a variety of modems for its VDSL/Infinity product. There are ongoing discussions regarding the merits of each, but what all do have in common is that they are locked-down and inaccessible. The Huawei HG612 is theoretically the easiest to root, as described – but this does require loading a custom firmware. Additionally, mine re-locked itself and I’ve been unable to get into firmware-recovery mode since 🙁

The ECI B-FOCuS V-2FUb/I Rev. 1B can be unlocked via a serial connection without any need to replace the stock firmware – details here.

More repo for Gentoo ebuilds!

That is all.

Gentoo openrc-0.11.5.ebuild which doesn’t mandate migrating to /run

The general consensus amongst distributions is that requiring /var/run to be moved to /run is a good thing(tm) – or, at least, a battle not worth fighting.

I note that the “you have to pre-mount the partition from an initrd” which is now being applied to /usr doesn’t appear to apply to /var (and thank goodness no-one is arguing that /var also has to be conjoined with the root partition)…

One of the greatest strengths of Linux is the ability to do things the way you feel is right – and there’s an awful lot of legacy software with still relies upon the existence of /var/run, and I’m just not keen on having yet another mandatory root-directory entry.


Building a LEGO<super>®</super> case for a Raspberry Pi<super>*</super>

Building a LEGO® case for a Raspberry Pi*

There’s something about the Raspberry Pi Model B which makes me want to use the word “awesome” like a be-hoodied member of the next US boy-band sensation: the Raspberry Pi is an awesome 85.60mm x 53.98mm slice of 700Mhz ARMv6 awesomeness.

Another thing which is clearly awesome is Lego.

I think I feel a plan forming…


Replacing udev with mdev in Gentoo

Recent changes to udev mean that it is now a requirement to have the partition containing the /usr filesystem mounted prior to system boot, requiring usr and root to be on the same partition (which is Red Hat’s preferred solution), or to mount /usr prior to booting from an initrd.

I’ve successfully run Linux systems for many years without needing this additional complication, and I don’t plan to start changing the core boot process in order to comply with Red Hat’s (non-FHS compatible) vision of what a Linux system should look like.

The best alternative right now seems to be Busyboxmdev – a very simple hotplug agent and /dev tree maintenance tool which provides identical core functionality to udev.

However, the default configuration files provided with mdev are somewhat outdated and there isn’t much information out there documenting how to make the transition.


Getting Jetpack to work with WordPress

For what must be many months now, my local installation of WordPress has been hassling me to install the Jetpack plugin.

It sounded sorta useful, so I dutifully clicked on Install and was told:


… with a ‘GnuTLS recv error (-9): A TLS packet with unexpected length was received.‘ error.

Having looked around to try to find a solution, the only suggestion appeared to be to rebuild PHP or to wait for the stabilisation of the newest PHP development branch. This turns out to be wrong, however, and the solution is both simple and maddening…


The way of the future…

So you’ve got your 3D Vision Kit and your 120Hz Monitor. You hook it all up, and 3D just-works™ – right?



I’ve been happily pottering on with a 512MB Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 for some time now, but the recent release of an official high-res texture pack for Skyrim was the final motivation to make a change.

I was lucky enough to come by a free(!) NVIDIA Fermi-era MSI N470GTX board, with 1280MB memory. What’s interesting is what’s changed and what hasn’t…


SSD RAID considered pointless

The Tech Report, one of the best hardware review sites I know of, has just completed a test of a number of different SSDs of differing capacities. One of the most surprising results?

A RAID0 setup with matched SSDs has performance on a par with or actually lower than a single mechanical hard-drive.


Installing Gentoo Prefix on HP TouchPad

The ill-fated HP TouchPad has, ironically, proven itself to be a gem of a machine for those with a computing/hacking background – with a fast processor, plenty of memory, and the most open architecture of any tablet so far (in that webOS Doctor can be hacked to alter partition layout and contents on restore), there are few limits to what it could be used for. Android (hopefully within a webOS card) is coming, and already Ubuntu & Debian can be run from a chroot() environment. The ARM build of Gentoo can be run in the same way – but that’s relatively trivial and not especially interesting (in that it doesn’t integrate with the OS – you have to specifically enter the chroot() environment in order to make any use of the software).

I would now always choose to run Ubuntu in a desktop environment – Canonical have done a great job of generalising the historically painful job of getting hardware and software reliably working together (try getting Bluetooth HID devices and WPA Wifi working on Linux from first principals if you want a reminder of just how obtuse software can be…), but I’d still opt for Gentoo for a server/command-line environment. This is what we have with the TouchPad – a great visual OS, but a minimalist installed get of command-line tools. This – with it’s ability to build optimised, efficient, and light-weight packages with only the necessary optional features present – is where Gentoo shines.