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Recently I started getting SMART warnings from on of the disks in my home NAS (a QNAP TS-419P II armel/kirkwood device running Debian Jessie):

Device: /dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST3000DM001-1CH166_W1F2QSV6 [SAT], Self-Test Log error count increased from 0 to 1

Meaning it was now time to switch out that disk from the RAID5 array.

Since everytime this happens I have to go and lookup again what to do I've decided to write it down this time.

I configure SMART to talk about devices by-id (giving me their name and model number) so first I needed to figure out what the kernel was calling this device (although mdadm is happy with the by-id path, various other bits are not):

# readlink /dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST3000DM001-1CH166_W1F2QSV6 

Next I needed to mark the device as failed in the array:

# mdadm --detail /dev/md0 
          State : clean 
 Active Devices : 4
Working Devices : 4
 Failed Devices : 0
  Spare Devices : 0

    Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
       5       8       48        0      active sync   /dev/sdd
       1       8       32        1      active sync   /dev/sdc
       6       8       16        2      active sync   /dev/sdb
       4       8        0        3      active sync   /dev/sda

# mdadm --fail /dev/md0 /dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST3000DM001-1CH166_W1F2QSV6 
mdadm: set /dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST3000DM001-1CH166_W1F2QSV6 faulty in /dev/md0
# mdadm --detail /dev/md0 
 Active Devices : 3
Working Devices : 3
 Failed Devices : 1
  Spare Devices : 0

Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
   0       0        0        0      removed
   1       8       32        1      active sync   /dev/sdc
   6       8       16        2      active sync   /dev/sdb
   4       8        0        3      active sync   /dev/sda

   5       8       48        -      faulty   /dev/sdd

If it had been the RAID subsystem rather than SMART monitoring which had first spotted the issue then this would have happened already (and I would had received a different mail from the RAID checks instead of SMART).

Once the disk is marked as failed then actually remove it from the array:

# mdadm --remove /dev/md0 /dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST3000DM001-1CH166_W1F2QSV6 
mdadm: hot removed /dev/disk/by-id/ata-ST3000DM001-1CH166_W1F2QSV6 from /dev/md0

And finally tell the kernel to delete the device:

# echo 1 > /sys/block/sdd/device/delete 

At this point I can physically swap the disks.

At this point I noticed there were some interesting messages in dmesg, either from the echo to the delete node in sysfs or from the physical switch of the disks:

[1779238.656459] md: unbind<sdd>
[1779238.659455] md: export_rdev(sdd)
[1779258.686720] sd 3:0:0:0: [sdd] Synchronizing SCSI cache
[1779258.700507] sd 3:0:0:0: [sdd] Stopping disk
[1779259.377589] ata4.00: disabled
[1779371.126202] ata4: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x180000 action 0x6 frozen
[1779371.133740] ata4: edma_err_cause=00000020 pp_flags=00000000, SError=00180000
[1779371.141003] ata4: SError: { 10B8B Dispar }
[1779371.145309] ata4: hard resetting link
[1779371.468708] ata4: SATA link down (SStatus 0 SControl 300)
[1779371.474340] ata4: EH complete
[1779557.416735] ata4: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x4010000 action 0xe frozen
[1779557.424356] ata4: edma_err_cause=00000010 pp_flags=00000000, dev connect
[1779557.431264] ata4: SError: { PHYRdyChg DevExch }
[1779557.436008] ata4: hard resetting link
[1779563.357089] ata4: link is slow to respond, please be patient (ready=0)
[1779567.449096] ata4: SRST failed (errno=-16)
[1779567.453316] ata4: hard resetting link

I wonder if I should have used another method to detach the disk, perhaps poking the controller rather than the disk (which rang a vague bell in my memory from last time this happened) but in the end the disk is broken and the kernel seems to have coped so I'm not too worried about it.

It looked like the new disk had already been recognised:

[1779572.593471] scsi 3:0:0:0: Direct-Access     ATA      HGST HDN724040AL A5E0 PQ: 0 ANSI: 5
[1779572.604187] sd 3:0:0:0: [sdd] 7814037168 512-byte logical blocks: (4.00 TB/3.63 TiB)
[1779572.612171] sd 3:0:0:0: [sdd] 4096-byte physical blocks
[1779572.618252] sd 3:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg3 type 0
[1779572.626754] sd 3:0:0:0: [sdd] Write Protect is off
[1779572.631771] sd 3:0:0:0: [sdd] Mode Sense: 00 3a 00 00
[1779572.632588] sd 3:0:0:0: [sdd] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
[1779572.665609]  sdd: unknown partition table
[1779572.671522] sd 3:0:0:0: [sdd] Attached SCSI disk
[1779855.362331]  sdd: unknown partition table

So I skipped trying to figure out how to perform a SCSI rescan and went straight to identifying that the new disk was called:


and then tried to do a SMART conveyancing self-test with:

# smartctl -t conveyance /dev/disk/by-id/ata-HGST_HDN724040ALE640_PK1338P4GY8ENB

But this particular drive seems to not support that, so I went straight to editing /etc/smartd.conf to replace the old disk with the new one and:

# service smartmontools reload

With all that I was ready to add the new disk to the array:

# mdadm --add /dev/md0 /dev/disk/by-id/ata-HGST_HDN724040ALE640_PK1338P4GY8ENB
mdadm: added /dev/disk/by-id/ata-HGST_HDN724040ALE640_PK1338P4GY8ENB
# mdadm --detail /dev/md0 
      State : clean, degraded, recovering 
 Active Devices : 3
Working Devices : 4
 Failed Devices : 0
  Spare Devices : 1

 Rebuild Status : 0% complete

Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
   5       8       48        0      spare rebuilding   /dev/sdd
   1       8       32        1      active sync   /dev/sdc
   6       8       16        2      active sync   /dev/sdb
   4       8        0        3      active sync   /dev/sda

# cat /proc/mdstat 
Personalities : [raid6] [raid5] [raid4] 
md0 : active raid5 sdd[5] sda[4] sdb[6] sdc[1]
      5860538880 blocks super 1.2 level 5, 512k chunk, algorithm 2 [4/3] [_UUU]
      [>....................]  recovery =  0.0% (364032/1953512960) finish=1162.4min speed=28002K/sec

So now all that was left was to wait about 20 hours (with fingers crossed a second disk didn't die! spoiler: it didn't)

Posted Sun 28 Feb 2016 11:58:58 GMT Tags:

I am currently attending the mini-Debconf being held in space generously provided by ARM's offices in Cambridge, UK. Thanks to ARM and the other sponsors for making this possible.

Yesterday I made a pass through the bug list for the Xen packages. According to the replies I have received from the BTS I looked at and acted on:

  • #797205: Tagged to reflect that I had previously forwarded upstream.
  • #753358: Update the found versions and marked as an upstream issue.
  • #798510: Investigated a bit and asked some followup questions to the submitter.
  • #799122: Asked for some clarifications from the submitter and updated the found versions. Will likely followup on this one some more today.
  • #745419: Sent a fix to upstream.
  • #784011, #770230, #776319: Various CVEs closed as fixed by 4.5.1~rc1-1
  • #795721, #784880: Various CVEs closed as fixed by 4.6.0-1 (currently in NEW).
  • #793132, #785187: Regular bugs fixed by 4.6.0-1.
  • #716496: Closed (wontfix as far as Debian is concerned)
  • #665433: Closed, apparently unreproducible crash in the Squeeze version.
  • #439156, #441539, #399073: Closed bugs against some truly ancient versions of Xen (Etch or Lenny?). These got lost when newer versions of Xen were uploaded since the packages have the Xen major.minor versions in the name. I previously opened #796370 to add a reportbug script to cause such bugs to be filed against src:xen in the future and prevent this happening. I hope to see that patch in a future version of the package.
  • #776742: Tagged as an upstream issue.
  • #491793: Marked as blocked by #481542.

Phew! Today I expect more of the same, starting with seeing where the new information in #799122 takes me.

Posted Fri 06 Nov 2015 10:47:10 GMT Tags:

Since gitorious' shutdown I decided it was time to start hosting my own git repositories for my own little projects (although the company which took over gitorious has a Free software offering it seems that their hosted offering is based on the proprietary version, and in any case once bitten, twice shy and all that).

After a bit of investigation I settled on using gitolite and gitweb. I did consider (and even had a vague preference for) cgit but it wasn't available in Wheezy (even backports, and the backport looked tricky) and I haven't upgraded my VPS yet. I may reconsider cgit this once I switch to Jessie.

The only wrinkle was that my VPS is shared with a friend and I didn't want to completely take over the gitolite and gitweb namespaces in case he ever wanted to setup, so I needed something which was at least somewhat compatible with vhosting. gitolite doesn't appear to support such things out of the box but I found an interesting/useful post from Julius Plenz which included sufficient inspiration that I thought I knew what to do.

After a bit of trial and error here is what I ended up with:

Install gitolite

The gitolite website has plenty of documentation on configuring gitolite. But since gitolite is in Debian its even more trivial than even the quick install makes out.

I decided to use the newer gitolite3 package from wheezy-backports instead of the gitolite (v2) package from Wheezy. I already had backports enabled so this was just:

# apt-get install gitolite3/wheezy-backports

I accepted the defaults and gave it the public half of the ssh key which I had created to be used as the gitolite admin key.

By default this added a user gitolite3 with a home directory of /var/lib/gitolite3. Since they username forms part of the URL used to access the repositories I want it to include the 3, so I edited /etc/passwd, /etc/groups, /etc/shadow and /etc/gshadow to say just gitolite but leaving the home directory as gitolite3.

Now I could clone the gitolite-admin repo and begin to configure things.

Add my user

This was simple as dropping the public half into the gitolite-admin repo as keydir/, then git add, commit and push.

Setup vhosting

Between the gitolite docs and Julius' blog post I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to do here.

I wasn't too worried about making the vhost transparent from the developer's (ssh:// URL) point of view, just from the gitweb and git clone side. So I decided to adapt things to use a simple $VHOST/$REPO.git schema.

I created /var/lib/gitolite3/local/lib/Gitolite/Triggers/ containing:

package Gitolite::Triggers::VHost;

use strict;
use warnings;

use File::Slurp qw(read_file write_file);

sub post_compile {
    my %vhost = ();
    my @projlist = read_file("$ENV{HOME}/projects.list");
    for my $proj (sort @projlist) {
        $proj =~ m,^([^/\.]*\.[^/]*)/(.*)$, or next;
        my ($host, $repo) = ($1,$2);
        $vhost{$host} //= [];
        push @{$vhost{$host}} => $repo;
    for my $v (keys %vhost) {
                   { atomic => 1 }, join("\n",@{$vhost{$v}}));

I then edited /var/lib/gitolite3/.gitolite.rc and ensured it contained:

LOCAL_CODE                =>  "$ENV{HOME}/local",

POST_COMPILE => [ 'VHost::post_compile', ],

(The first I had to uncomment, the second to add).

All this trigger does is take the global projects.list, in which gitolite will list any repo which is configured to be accessible via gitweb, and split it into several vhost specific lists.

Create first repository

Now that the basics were in place I could create my first repository (for hosting qcontrol).

In the gitolite-admin repository I edited conf/gitolite.conf and added:

    RW+     =   ijc

After adding, committing and pushing I now have "/var/lib/gitolite3/projects.list" containing:

(the testing.git repository is configured by default) and /var/lib/gitolite3/ containing just:


For cloning the URL is:


which is rather verbose (${VPSNAME} is quote long in my case too), so to simplify things I added to my .ssh/config:

Host gitolite
Hostname ${VPSNAME}
User gitolite
IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa_gitolite

so I can instead use:

which is a bit less of a mouthful and almost readable.

Configure gitweb (http:// URL browsing)

Following the documentation's advice I edited /var/lib/gitolite3/.gitolite.rc to set:

UMASK                           =>  0027,

and then:

$ chmod -R g+rX /var/lib/gitolite3/repositories/*

Which arranges that members of the gitolite group can read anything under /var/lib/gitolite3/repositories/*.


# adduser www-data gitolite

This adds the user www-data to the gitolite group so it can take advantage of those relaxed permissions. I'm not super happy about this but since gitweb runs as www-data:www-data this seems to be the recommended way of doing things. I'm consoling myself with the fact that I don't plan on hosting anything sensitive... I also arranged things such that members of the groups can only list the contents of directories from the vhost directory down by setting g=x not g=rx on higher level directories. Potentially sensitive files do not have group permissions at all either.

Next I created /etc/apache2/gitolite-gitweb.conf:

die unless $ENV{GIT_PROJECT_ROOT};
$ENV{GIT_PROJECT_ROOT} =~ m,^.*/([^/]+)$,;
our $gitolite_vhost = $1;
our $projectroot = $ENV{GIT_PROJECT_ROOT};
our $projects_list = "/var/lib/gitolite3/projects.${gitolite_vhost}.list";
our @git_base_url_list = ("http://git.${gitolite_vhost}");

This extracts the vhost name from ${GIT_PROJECT_ROOT} (it must be the last element) and uses it to select the appropriate vhost specific projects.list.

Then I added a new vhost to my apache2 configuration:

<VirtualHost [2001:41c8:1:628a::89]:80>
        SetEnv GIT_PROJECT_ROOT /var/lib/gitolite3/repositories/
        SetEnv GITWEB_CONFIG /etc/apache2/gitolite-gitweb.conf
        Alias /static /usr/share/gitweb/static
        ScriptAlias / /usr/share/gitweb/gitweb.cgi/

This configures (don't forget to update DNS too) and sets the appropriate environment variables to find the custom gitolite-gitweb.conf and the project root.

Next I edited /var/lib/gitolite3/.gitolite.rc again to set:

GIT_CONFIG_KEYS                 => 'gitweb\.(owner|description|category)',

Now I can edit the repo configuration to be:

    owner   =   Ian Campbell
    desc    =   qcontrol
    RW+     =   ijc
    R       =   gitweb

That R permission for the gitweb pseudo-user causes the repo to be listed in the global projects.list and the trigger which we've added causes it to be listed in, which is where our custom gitolite-gitweb.conf will look.

Setting GIT_CONFIG_KEYS allows those options (owner and desc are syntactic sugar for two of them) to be set here and propagated to the actual repo.

Configure git-http-backend (http:// URL cloning)

After all that this was pretty simple. I just added this to my vhost before the ScriptAlias / /usr/share/gitweb/gitweb.cgi/ line:

        ScriptAliasMatch \
                "(?x)^/(.*/(HEAD | \
                                info/refs | \
                                objects/(info/[^/]+ | \
                                         [0-9a-f]{2}/[0-9a-f]{38} | \
                                         pack/pack-[0-9a-f]{40}\.(pack|idx)) | \
                                git-(upload|receive)-pack))$" \

This (which I stole straight from the git-http-backend(1) manpage causes anything which git-http-backend should deal with to be sent there and everything else to be sent to gitweb.

Having done that access is enabled by editing the repo configuration one last time to be:

    owner   =   Ian Campbell
    desc    =   qcontrol
    RW+     =   ijc
    R       =   gitweb daemon

Adding R permissions for daemon causes gitolite to drop a stamp file in the repository which tells git-http-backend that it should export it.

Configure git daemon (git:// URL cloning)

I actually didn't bother with this, git http-backend supports the smart HTTP mode which should be as efficient as the git protocol. Given that I couldn't see any reason to run another network facing daemon on my VPS.

FWIW it looks like vhosting could have been achieved by using the --interpolated-path option.


There's quite a few moving parts, but they all seems to fit together quite nicely. In the end apart from adding www-data to the gitolite group I'm pretty happy with how things ended up.

Posted Sat 16 May 2015 18:52:03 BST Tags:

Since gitorious has now shutdown I've (finally!) moved the qcontrol homepage to:

Source can now be found at

Posted Sun 10 May 2015 14:01:30 BST Tags:

I recently wrote a blog post on using grub 2 as a Xen PV bootloader for work. See Using Grub 2 as a bootloader for Xen PV guests over on

Rather than repeat the whole thing here I'll just briefly cover the stuff which is of interest for Debian users (if you want all full background and the stuff on building grub from source etc then see the original post).

TL;DR: With Jessie, install grub-xen-host in your domain 0 and grub-xen in your PV guests then in your guest configuration, depending on whether you want a 32- or 64-bit PV guest write either:

kernel = "/usr/lib/grub-xen/grub-i386-xen.bin"


kernel = "/usr/lib/grub-xen/grub-x86_64-xen.bin"

(instead of bootloader = ... or other kernel = ..., also omit ramdisk = ... and any command line related stuff (e.g. root = ..., extra = ..., cmdline = ... ) and your guests will boot using Grub 2, much like on native.

In slightly more detail:

The forthcoming Debian 8.0 (Jessie) release will contain support for both host and guest pvgrub2. This was added in version 2.02~beta2-17 of the package (bits were present before then, but -17 ties it all together).

The package grub-xen-host contains grub binaries configured for the host, these will attempt to chainload an in-guest grub image (following the Xen x86 PV Bootloader Protocol) and fall back to searching for a grub.cfg in the guest filesystems. grub-xen-host is Recommended by the Xen meta-packages in Debian or can be installed by hand.

The package grub-xen-bin contains the grub binaries for both the i386-xen and x86_64-xen platforms, while the grub-xen package integrates this into the running system by providing the actual pvgrub2 image (i.e. running grub-install at the appropriate times to create an image tailored to the system) and integration with the kernel packages (i.e. running update-grub at the right times), so it is the grub-xen which should be installed in Debian guests.

At this time the grub-xen package is not installed in a guest automatically so it will need to be done manually (something which perhaps could be addressed for Stretch).

Posted Sun 18 Jan 2015 09:23:35 GMT Tags:

After becoming a DM at Debconf12 in Managua, Nicaragua and entering the NM queue during Debconf13 in Vaumarcus, Switzerland I received the mail about 24 hours too late to officially become a DD during Debconf14 in Portland, USA. Nevertheless it was a very pleasant surprise to find the mail in my INBOX this morning confirming that my account had been created and that I was officially Thanks to everyone who helped/encouraged me along the way!

I don't imagine much will change in practice, I intend to remain involved in the kernel and Debian Installer efforts as well as continuing to contribute to the Xen packaging and to maintain qcontrol (both in Debian and upstream) and sunxi-tools. I suppose I also still maintain ivtv-utils and xserver-xorg-video-ivtv but they require so little in the way of updates that I'm not sure they count.

Posted Tue 02 Sep 2014 18:58:27 BST Tags:

It's taken a while but all of the pieces are finally in place to run successfully through Debian Installer on ARM64 using the Debian ARM64 port.

So I'm now running nightly builds locally and uploading them to

If you have CACert in your CA roots then you might prefer the slightly more secure version.

Hopefully before too long I can arrange to have them building on one of the project machines and uploaded to somewhere a little more formal like people.d.o or even the regular Debian Installer dailies site. This will have to do for now though.


The arm64 port is currently hosted on Debian Ports which only supports the unstable "sid" distribution. This means that installation can be a bit of a moving target and sometimes fails to download various installer components or installation packages. Mostly it's just a case of waiting for the buildd and/or archive to catch up. You have been warned!

Installing in a Xen guest

If you are lucky enough to have access to some 64-bit ARM hardware (such as the APM X-Gene, see for setup instructions) then installing Debian as a guest is pretty straightforward.

I suppose if you had lots of time (and I do mean lots) you could also install under Xen running on the Foundation or Fast Model. I wouldn't recommend it though.

First download the installer kernel and ramdisk onto your dom0 filesystem (e.g. to /root/didaily/arm64).

Second create a suitable guest config file such as:

name = "debian-installer"
disk = ["phy:/dev/LVM/debian,xvda,rw"]
vif = [ '' ] 
memory = 512
kernel = "/root/didaily/arm64/vmlinuz"
ramdisk= "/root/didaily/arm64/initrd.gz"
extra = "console=hvc0 -- "

In this example I'm installing to a raw logical volume /dev/LVM/debian. You might also want to use randmac to generate a permanent MAC address for the Ethernet device (specified as vif = ['mac=xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx']).

Once that is done you can start the guest with:

xl create -c cfg

From here you'll be in the installer and things carry on as usual. You'll need to manually point it to as the mirror, or you can preseed by appending to the extra line in the cfg like so:

mirror/country=manual mirror/http/ mirror/http/directory=/debian

Apart from that there will be a warning about not knowing how to setup the bootloader but that is normal for now.

Installing in Qemu

To do this you will need a version of which supports qemu-system-aarch64. The latest release doesn't yet so I've been using v2.1.0-rc3 (it seems upstream are now up to -rc5). Once qemu is built and installed and the installer kernel and ramdisk have been downloaded to $DI you can start with:

qemu-system-aarch64 -M virt -cpu cortex-a57 \
    -kernel $DI/vmlinuz -initrd $DI/initrd.gz \
    -append "console=ttyAMA0 -- " \
    -serial stdio -nographic --monitor none \
    -drive file=rootfs.qcow2,if=none,id=blk,format=qcow2 -device virtio-blk-device,drive=blk \
    -net user,vlan=0 -device virtio-net-device,vlan=0

That's using a qcow2 image for the rootfs, I think I created it with something like:

qemu-img create -f qcow2 rootfs.qcow2 4G

Once started installation proceeds much like normal. As with Xen you will need to either point it at the debian-ports archive by hand or preseed by adding to the -append line and the warning about no bootloader configuration is expected.

Installing on real hardware

Someone should probably try this ;-).

Posted Tue 29 Jul 2014 20:36:50 BST Tags:

I've recently packaged the sunxi tools for Debian. These are a set of tools produce by the Linux Sunxi project for working with the Allwinner "sunxi" family of processors. See the package page for details. Thanks to Steve McIntyre for sponsoring the initial upload.

The most interesting component of the package are the tools for working with the Allwinner processors' FEL mode. This is a low-level processor mode which implements a simple USB protocol allowing for initial programming of the device and recovery which can be entered on boot (usually be pressing a special 'FEL button' somewhere on the device). It is thanks to FEL mode that most sunxi based devices are pretty much unbrickable.

The most common use of FEL is to boot over USB. In the Debian package the fel and usb-boot tools are named sunxi-fel and sunxi-usb-boot respectively but otherwise can be used in the normal way described on the sunxi wiki pages.

One enhancement I made to the Debian version of usb-boot is to integrate with the u-boot packages to allow you to easily FEL boot any sunxi platform supported by the Debian packaged version of u-boot (currently only Cubietruck, more to come I hope). To make this work we take advantage of Multiarch to install the armhf version of u-boot (unless your host is already armhf of course, in which case just install the u-boot package):

# dpkg --add-architecture armhf
# apt-get update
# apt-get install u-boot:armhf
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 1960 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B/546 kB of archives.
After this operation, 8,676 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Retrieving bug reports... Done
Parsing Found/Fixed information... Done
Selecting previously unselected package u-boot:armhf.
(Reading database ... 309234 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../u-boot_2014.04+dfsg1-1_armhf.deb ...
Unpacking u-boot:armhf (2014.04+dfsg1-1) ...
Setting up u-boot:armhf (2014.04+dfsg1-1) ...

With that done FEL booting a cubietruck is as simple as starting the board in FEL mode (by holding down the FEL button when powering on) and then:

# sunxi-usb-boot Cubietruck -
fel write 0x2000 /usr/lib/u-boot/Cubietruck_FEL/u-boot-spl.bin
fel exe 0x2000
fel write 0x4a000000 /usr/lib/u-boot/Cubietruck_FEL/u-boot.bin
fel write 0x41000000 /usr/share/sunxi-tools//ramboot.scr
fel exe 0x4a000000

Which should result in something like this on the Cubietruck's serial console:

U-Boot SPL 2014.04 (Jun 16 2014 - 05:31:24)
DRAM: 2048 MiB

U-Boot 2014.04 (Jun 16 2014 - 05:30:47) Allwinner Technology

CPU:   Allwinner A20 (SUN7I)
DRAM:  2 GiB
In:    serial
Out:   serial
Err:   serial
Target spinup took 0 ms.
AHCI 0001.0100 32 slots 1 ports 3 Gbps 0x1 impl SATA mode
flags: ncq stag pm led clo only pmp pio slum part ccc apst 
Net:   dwmac.1c50000
Hit any key to stop autoboot:  0 

As more platforms become supported by the u-boot packages you should be able to find them in /usr/lib/u-boot/*_FEL.

There is one minor inconvenience which is the need to run sunxi-usb-boot as root in order to access the FEL USB device. This is easily resolved by creating /etc/udev/rules.d/sunxi-fel.rules containing either:

SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="1f3a", ATTR{idProduct}=="efe8", OWNER="myuser"


SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="1f3a", ATTR{idProduct}=="efe8", GROUP="mygroup"

To enable access for myuser or mygroup respectively. Once you have created the rules file then to enable:

# udevadm control --reload-rules

As well as the FEL mode tools the packages also contain a FEX (de)compiler. FEX is Allwinner's own hardware description language and is used with their Android SDK kernels and the fork of that kernel maintained by the linux-sunxi project. Debian's kernels follow mainline and therefore use Device Tree.

Posted Mon 21 Jul 2014 19:10:23 BST Tags:

For my local backup regimen I use flexbackup to create a full backup twice a year and differential/incremental backups on a weekly/monthly basis. I then upload these to a new amazon S3 bucket for each half year (so each bucket corresponds to the a full backup plus the associated differentials and incrementals).

I then set the bucket's lifecycle to archive to glacier (cheaper offline storage) from the month after that half year has ended (reducing costs) and to delete it a year after the half ends. It used to be possible to do this via the S3 web interface but the absolute date based options seem to have been removed in favour of time since last update, which is not what I want. However the UI will still display such lifecycles if they are configured and directs you to the REST API to set them up.

I had a look around but couldn't any existing CLI tools to do this directly but I figured it must be possible with curl. A little bit of reading later I found that it was possible but it involved some faff calculating signatures etc. Luckily EricW has written Amazon S3 Authentication Tool for Curl (AKA s3curl) which automates the majority of that faff. The tool is "New BSD" licensed according to that page or Apache 2.0 license according to the included LICENSE file and code comments.


Following the included README setup ~/.s3curl containing your id and secret key (I called mine personal which I then use below).

Getting the existing lifecycle

Retrieving an existing lifecycle is pretty easy. For the bucket which I used for the first half of 2014:

$ s3curl --id=personal -- --silent http://$ | xmllint --format -
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<LifecycleConfiguration xmlns="">
    <ID>Archive and Expire</ID>

See GET Bucket Lifecycle for details of the XML.

Setting a new lifecycle

The desired configuration needs to be written to a file. For example to set the lifecycle for the bucket I'm going to use for the second half of 2014:

$ cat s3.lifecycle
    <ID>Archive and Expire</ID>
$ s3curl --id=personal --put s3.lifecycle --calculateContentMd5 -- http://$

See PUT Bucket Lifecycle for details of the XML.

Posted Sun 06 Jul 2014 11:45:27 BST Tags:

Update: Closely followed by 0.5.4 to fix an embarassing brown paper bag bug:

  • Correct argument handling for system-status command

Get it from gitorious or

I've just released qcontrol 0.5.3. Changes since the last release:

  • Reduce spaminess of temperature control (Debian bug #727150).
  • Support for enabling/disabling RTC on ts219 and ts41x. Patch from Michael Stapelberg (Debian bug #732768).
  • Support for Synology Diskstation and Rackstation NASes. Patch from Ben Peddell.
  • Return correct result from direct command invocation (Debian bug #617439).
  • Fix ts41x LCD detection.
  • Improved command line argument parsing.
  • Lots of internal refactoring and cleanups.

Get it from gitorious or

The Debian package will be uploaded shortly.

Posted Fri 11 Apr 2014 16:04:01 BST Tags:

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