Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Raspberry Pi for beginner - Part 3a: Wifi firmware issue

We don't live in a perfect world.
The steps in Part 3 didn't work for me because of my WiFi dongle (Buffalo WLI-UC-GNM2). If it worked for you, then fine, you can skip this part.

What was the problem?

After completing Part 3, I inserted the micro SD card in the Pi and turned it on. After few seconds, I could see this message:
Wait 8 seconds for Network Interface to come up
And after that a message saying it was impossible to reach the server.

For some person, the solution was to change the power supply (USB cable) for a better one.
But in my case, the problem was the WiFi dongle!

How to solve it?

Here you have 2 cases, please choose:
1) You can't connect the Pi to your router with a cable
2) You can connect the Pi to your router with a cable

1) You can't connect the Pi to your router with a cable 
You can't use the installer. Instead, you have to download the Standalone image.
You also need to download usbit.

  • extract the files somewhere on your machine
  • insert your memory card in your computer
  • open usbit 
  • select your memory card
  • click on restore
  • select the image sd.img

Wait a little bit and that's it! You have a working copy of Raspbmc! But it's not end of our journey!

2) You can connect the Pi to your router with a cable
Same thing as in Part 3, except in the network management popup, don't select Wireless and set the correct values to connect to your router.

Either you chose 1 or 2, here is what you should do now.
Insert your micro SD card in the PI (be careful in which direction!) and plug your Pi!

After a while, you will see XBMC. First, we will disable CEC Adapter, otherwise we won't be able to run the terminal. CEC adapter controls your TV. If you keep it enable, when you exit Raspbmc, it will turn off your TV. And when you turn on your TV, it will restart your Pi. You can re-enable it later.
  • go to Settings 
  • go to System 
  • go to Input Devices 
  • go to Peripherals
  • open CEC Adapter 
  • uncheck the box Enabled 
  • click OK 
  • go back to the home screen (press Esc key)
  • click the standby icon at the bottom-left
  • select Exit 
  • at the blue splash screen which says Press ESC for command line, press the Esc key
Nice job! You are now ready to access the terminal! Let's continue. At the login prompt:
  • enter username pi
  • enter password raspberry
Only for the first time you use the command line you have to setup the locales and the timezone. Select the appropriate values. Then you should see:
All Set up now! Thanks for using Raspbmc

WiFi dongle setup

Now let's find out why we can't use our WiFi dongle.
Let's check which chipset the Buffalo WLI-UC-GNM2 is using. Type the command:

And the result is:
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0411:01ee BUFFALO INC. (formerly MelCo., Inc.) WLI-UC-GNM2 Wireless LAN Adapter [Ralink RT3070]  

Now open this page: WiFi
You can see a list of chipsets and if they are directly compatible with Raspbmc or not.

If you look at the WiFi page, you can see RT3070 is not compatible by default. You have to update the firmware. Fortunately there is a help page rt2800usb.

Here again there are 2 cases:
1) You can't connect the Pi to your router with a cable
2) You can connect the Pi to your router with a cable

1) You can't connect the Pi to your router with a cable
I think the best solution is to download on a USB stick the required package(s) using another computer.
Plug the stick in the Pi and install the packages.
I think it requires some time to achieve that. Please check on Google how to do that.

2) You can connect the Pi to your router with a cable
In case you haven't setup Internet yet. If you are familiar with Debian, you will think that you have to edit the file /etc/network/interfaces, but Raspbmc doesn't use this file!
Instead it is using this file:
So edit this file depending of your network. Also edit the value for your Wifi network (this will avoid you to have to modify this file a second time).
Restart your Pi (sudo reboot). Now you should be connected to Internet. It's the first time your Pi has access to Internet, so it will update some files!! So wait a little bit before continuing.

Exit XBMC to go to the terminal and execute the following command to update the firmware:
sudo apt-get install firmware-ralink
Installation is successful, good! Unplug the Ethernet cable and restart your Pi!

Finally the end! Now you should be connected using the WiFi dongle!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Raspberry Pi for beginner - Part 3: Installation

In this post, I'll show you how to prepare the memory card.

Warning: the steps described in this post don't work for the Wifi dongle (Buffalo WLI-UC-GNM2) that I bought. Here is what I had to do.

Which OS to install ?

The RaspberryPi is not limited to one OS. You can install different distributions of Linux.

The most popular one is Raspbian based on debian.

Raspbian is a free operating system based on Debian optimized for the Raspberry Pi hardware. An operating system is the set of basic programs and utilities that make your Raspberry Pi run. However, Raspbian provides more than a pure OS: it comes with over 35,000 packages, pre-compiled software bundled in a nice format for easy installation on your Raspberry Pi. 

Another popular OS is OpenElec.
Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center (OpenELEC) is a small Linux distribution built from scratch as a platform to turn your computer into an XBMC media center. OpenELEC is designed to make your system boot fast, and the install is so easy that anyone can turn a blank PC into a media machine in less than 15 minutes.

The one I will use is Raspbmc (old name for OSMC)
Raspbmc is a minimal Linux distribution based on Debian that brings XBMC to your Raspberry Pi. This device has an excellent form factor and enough power to handle media playback, making it an ideal component in a low HTPC setup, yet delivering the same XBMC experience that can be enjoyed on much more costly platforms.

Why I choose Raspbmc?

  • I like the fact that it is based on Debian, that means a lot of packages are available.
  • it's the first one I heard about
  • looks like many people are using it, so you can find help on Internet more easily
  • based on the list of features (here), I think it can do many things
 It's really easy to install the OS, so in case I don't feel comfortable using Raspbmc, it will be easy to switch to another one.

How do I install Raspbmc ?

Prepare your micro SD card. Make sure there is no data in it, because it will be deleted. Just plug it in your computer.

Download the installer from the official Website. There is an installer for Windows and for Mac/Linux. In this post, I will use the installer for Windows. My machine is Windows 8.

  • extract the files (README.txt, setup.exe) somewhere on your Windows
  • double click on setup.exe
  • UAC (User Account Control) opens, click on YES
  • a small popup opens and click on Accept

  • on the main window, make sure in the list of device to select the micro SD card !
  • check I accept the license agreement
  • check Manually configure networking

  • a small window will appear, select Wireless
  • check Obtain an IP address automatically
  • enter your SSID (the name of your Wifi network)
  • choose the encryption (for me it's WPA/WPA2)
  • enter your wifi password

  • click on Save
  • back on the main window, click on Install
Wait 1 minute and then you will see this window

Donate money if you think it was easy and you feel happy :)

Next step, I will plug everything and start the Pi! I will explain how to setup the Pi.

Note: XBMC will change name soon! It will be called Kodi! And Raspbmc will also change name for OSMC! So don't get confused!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Raspberry Pi for beginner - Part 2: hardware

Here is the second part where I share my experience with Raspberry Pi.

I received everything ! I order the Raspberry Pi on Amazon Saturday, and I received it the next day ! Pleasantly surprised!
About the case, it took less than a week (shipped from the UK).

Here is the pictures of everything.

You will notice something that I didn't mention in the first part. I bought a USB switch. It's not that expensive and I think it is more friendly user and less risk to break the connector than unplugging the cable every time.

I was really surprised by the size of the Raspberry Pi. It's really small.

I will not create a post to explain how to plug the Raspberry Pi, because it's really easy. However, my next post will be about the setup of the micro SD card and how to install the OS.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Install Java on System Z Linux S390 Suse 10

Installing Java on System Z Linux is easy if you know which file to download.

More information about my machine:
# cat /etc/*release*
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 (s390x)
If you look at the Oracle Website to download Java for S390 system, you won't find anything.
After a quick search on Google, I could find this IBM website with all the files. But:
Before you can download, you will need an IBM Registration ID

I guess if you are using System Z, then you have an account.
Cool, so I download Java 7: 64-bit System z
And select the following file:
tgz package (InstallAnywhere)
ibm-java-sdk-7.1-1.1-s390x-archive.bin  (123 MB)

Then on the machine:
# chmod +x ibm-java-sdk-7.1-1.1-s390x-archive.bin
# ./ibm-java-sdk-7.1-1.1-s390x-archive.bin

Preparing to install...
Extracting the JRE from the installer archive...
Unpacking the JRE...
Extracting the installation resources from the installer archive...
Configuring the installer for this system's environment...

Launching installer...

Floating point exception

Ouch... it failed. I tried with the 32-bit version, but same result. And same result with the other file:
Installable package (InstallAnywhere)
ibm-java-s390x-sdk-7.1-1.1.bin (123 MB)

Ok, so let's try with Java 6: 32-bit System z
And select the following file:
tgz package (InstallAnywhere)
ibm-java-sdk-6.0-16.1-linux-s390.bin  (85 MB)

Then on the machine:
# chmod +x ibm-java-sdk-6.0-16.1-linux-s390.bin
# ./ibm-java-sdk-6.0-16.1-linux-s390.bin 

Choose Locale... 
Press  many times to skip the license agreement

Choose install folder:
Valid and wait for the installation to finish.
Installation Complete

Congratulations. IBM 31-bit Linux SDK for Java v6 has been successfully
installed to:

Nice !
Now you can add Java to the path:
export JAVA_HOME=/opt/java/ibm-java-s390-60
export PATH=$JAVA_HOME/bin:$PATH

And finally:
java -version
java version "1.6.0"

Of course you can follow the same steps with Java 6 64-bit.
I'm wondering why Java 7 is not compatible. Maybe I'm missing a package? Maybe SUSE 10 is "old"?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Raspberry Pi - Amazon Japan error

Please be careful if you are using Amazon Japan and want to buy a Raspberry Pi !

Have a look at the following screenshot
Don't you see anything wrong?
Hint: memory card

The Raspberry Pi B+ is using a micro SD card !Don't do the mistake to buy a regular size SD card.
Only older models of the Raspberry Pi are using a regular size SD card.

I guess some customers were disappointed when they received their package.
Don't always trust Amazon suggestion ;)

I check on Amazon US and Amazon France, and the suggestions are different, so there is no problem.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Raspberry Pi for beginner - Part 1: buy

Here I will talk about my project to setup a Raspberry pi.
I'm myself a beginner, and I hope these posts about my project will help other people.

My goal

  • use Raspberry Pi as a media center
  • control XBMC with my Android phone or Android tablet

 What is a Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is an index card-sized single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools. (Wikipedia)

What do I need?

  • raspberry Pi B+
  • power supply
  • micro SD card
  • case
  • wifi dongle
  • HDMI cable 
  • external hard drive

How to get everything?

  • raspberry Pi
After a quick search on the forum, many people recommend Amazon.  And yes, I could find one on Amazon Japan for 5400yen.
  • power supply
I don't need to buy one now, I will use my Nexus 5 USB cable. It delivers 5V, 1.2A, and that should be enough.
Please take the time to read this FAQ to know how much power you need.
  • micro SD card
For 1140yen, there is one on Amazon Japan. I choose 16GB, which is kind of big, because I will use a external hard drive. The price is not so high anymore, so why not. If you read this thread, someone said that "the Pi is always in non-UHS mode".
  • case
I saw some nice case here:
On Amazon Japan they cost 4600yen! Original price is 12.95GBP -> 2200yen.
I can get it ship for 6GBP. So total is 18.95GBP -> 3200yen.
  • wifi dongle
From Buffalo WLI-UC-GNM2. On Amazon as well for 922yen. I saw on the Web, a Japanese guy using this one for his Raspberry Pi.
For a complete list, have a look here.
  • HDMI cable
I already have a spare one.
  • external hard drive
I already have one LaCie 3TB with its own power supply.


The total for all of that is around 10,600yen excluding the cost of an external hard drive, power supply and hdmi cable.

 In part 2, I will show the pictures once I receive everything !

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Upgrading to Windows 8.1

On my Dell machine at work, I had no choice to use Windows 8. My plan was to remove Windows and use Ubuntu. And install Windows as a virtual machine. Thanks to Dell, it's not possible...
So I dual boot using grub.

Anyway, because Windows 8 was crashing once a week (especially when the computer was idle), I decided to try Windows 8.1.

The process to upgrade to Windows 8.1 is easy, but you should know that after all files are downloaded, you have 15min max before the computer restart!
Then it takes around 30 - 40min to install everything.

No problem during installation, Windows starts ... and I was not really satisfied...
First thing I noticed is that the language is in Japanese and I can't switch to English... Ok, I will set it to English again, as I did before. Oh surprise! There is no option to download the language pack... Fortunately I could find this thread on the Social Technet forum:
Language Pack not usable message in Windows 8.1

Here is what you should do (in case the link is broken):
Download the new 8.1 MUI:
Rename the file to LP.mlc and double click it to install it.

I'm glad it worked!

Good, I can start working, let's connect to the VPN... boom error. I have to re-install OpenVPN.
Ok done. Now let's start VirtaulBox... boom error. I have to re-install VirtualBox.

After 90min, I could start working... (and I didn't fix grub yet...)
Not as smooth as I expected. After 2 days, my PC didn't crash. I hope it will continue to work correctly.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Cross-compile GDB for ARM (ARMEL & ARMHF)

Let's say you have:
Machine A: x86, cross-compile for armhf
Machine B: armhf

On Machine A, you create a program. Then you copy the program to Machine B.
On Machine B, you execute the program and boom fatal error, a core is generated.

The question is: on which machine should I use GDB to read the core file?
Answer: Machine A! But you need to install GDB for ARMHF!

Here are the steps (on Machine A):

Download GDB
gunzip gdb-7.8.tar.gz
tar -xf gdb-7.8.tar
Go to the folder
cd gdb-7.8/
Build GDB 
./configure --target=arm-linux-gnueabihf --prefix=/usr/arm-linux-gnueabihf CXX="arm-linux-gnueabi-g++"
./configure --target=arm-linux-gnueabi --prefix=/usr/arm-linux-gnueabi CXX="arm-linux-gnueabi-g++"
make install
And that's it.
From Machine B, copy the core file in Machine A, and run this command:
/usr/arm-linux-gnueabihf/arm-linux-gnueabihf-gdb myProgram core

And that's it.

Note: I'm not sure if you really need to specify CXX when building GDB.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Steps to develop Android applications

So I think the way to setup everything and to be able to develop and run an app are not friendly user at all.

Just last week, I met a guy who is interested in Android. He downloaded the ADT plugin with eclipse. Everything looks good, he created a new application based on the "blank activity". Then he hit run and boom error... How to demotive new people to start coding app for Android...
I think I had a similar problem with a "fullscreen activity".

Anyway, here are the list of steps that I should remember when changing VM:

- if it's a 64-bit VM, don't forget that Android architecture is ARM 32-bits, so you should install 32-bits libraries!
sudo apt-get install libc6:i386 libstdc++6:i386
sudo apt-get install lib32z1

- you will need Java:
sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jdk

- Setting up a Device for Development
sudo vi /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="04e8", MODE="0666", GROUP="plugdev"
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="18d1", MODE="0666", GROUP="plugdev"
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="0b05", MODE="0666", GROUP="plugdev"
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="1104", MODE="0666", GROUP="plugdev"

sudo chmod a+r /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules

For VirtualBox:
- install the Guest Additions
- add a shared folder so it's easy to copy from file between host and guest
- add your user to the group vboxsf to be able to access the share folder:
sudo usermod -a -G vboxsf alex
- in the VB settings of the VM, go to USB and add your device! So the VM will capture the device.
- install GIT
sudo apt-get install git

You can install Eclipse IDE with built-in ADT
And go to: Window-> Preferences -> Android -> DDMS -> ADB Connection Timeout (ms)
And set it to 10000 (if you leave it to 5000, you  may see some timeout)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Debian hangs at “Select and Install Software”

Recently, I wanted to use Debian 5.0.3 Lenny (for work).

The first step was to find the ISO.
I couldn't find it on the Debian website. Fortunately I could find it on these both sites:

After downloading the file debian-503-i386-netinst.iso (~150Mo), I'm ready to create a VM using VirtualBox.

The installation is easy but it freezes at the screen "Select and Install Software".

The way to solve this is the following:
  • start a new installation 
  • just before 'Select and install software.' I could see a popup about a warning. Press alt+F2 
  • press enter to activate the console 
  • run the command to place you into the system you are installing
    chroot /target
  • run the command to install the keyring
    aptitude install debian-archive-keyring
  • run the command
    aptitude update
  • run the 3 following commands
    gpg --keyserver --recv-keys 6070D3A1
    gpg --armor --export 6070D3A1 | apt-key add -
    apt-get update
  • press alt+F1 to go back to the installer 
  • continue the installation as normal to the end 

And that's it !

Here is a quick link in case you want to cross compile:


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

cross-compile ncurses for ARM: ARMEL & ARMHF

First, make sure you have installed these packages:

sudo apt-get install gcc-arm-linux-gnueabihf
sudo apt-get install g++-arm-linux-gnueabihf
sudo apt-get install gcc-arm-linux-gnueabi
sudo apt-get install g++-arm-linux-gnueabi
Make sure you did the following command and that "gcc" is in your path
sudo apt-get install build-essential

Download ncurses:

Extract ncurses:
tar -xzf ncurses-5.9.tar.gz

Go to the folder:
cd ncurses-5.9

And build ncurses:
./configure --host=arm-linux-gnueabi --prefix=/usr/arm-linux-gnueabi CXX="arm-linux-gnueabi-g++"
./configure --host=arm-linux-gnueabihf --prefix=/usr/arm-linux-gnueabihf CXX="arm-linux-gnueabihf-g++"
sudo make install


Then you should see libncurses.a with this command:
ls /usr/arm-linux-gnueabi/lib
ls /usr/arm-linux-gnueabihf/lib