Rooting

MeeGo’s Tablet GUI as demonstrated at Computex...

Image via Wikipedia

When I buy hardware (computers, phones etc), I ignore every and all software features that may be advertised on the box.

Just because my computers could run windows, doesn’t mean that I need them too. Thus, all my computers boot, or dual boot Gentoo/Linux.

Juniper was a no-brainer, it’s many cores and high clock speed make it a very effective build host and/or number cruncher. If I could afford a multi-CPU machine, then I would have gone for that instead. I settled for a higher-than-average core count.

What Rooting should be like

Parsley required a choice. Eventually, I settled on a QNAP device since they’re open about their features, the Linux heritage[1] and the possibility of shell access to what really matters. Unfortunately for me, any changes to the root filesystem are non-persistent[2] since the machine boots into an initramfs which are tricky at best to wield[3]. They are cpio archives saved to a read/write portion of the internal flash memory. However, checking and testing changes requires reboots and effort. And a little bit of reverse engineering to see what QNAP has done.

The good news is that QNAP provide recovery images in-case of random cosmic ray attack. They even provide documentation about “recovering your device” by downloading DSL[3] to a USB drive, booting it and recovering it with the help of the trusty ‘cp’ command. With a few tweaks this process quickly evolved into a standard gentoo install.

[1] source code for the GPL’d stuff is downloadable from the website.
[2] including generating host-ssh keys.
[3] DamnSmallLinux

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