RACHEL-Kolibri on Linux Mint

I have transferred this discussion from the Learning Equality Forum as more appropriate here.
For those interested in the long history of it with @jamesk you can find it here:-


James is currently looking at getting the best of both RACHEL and Kolibri resources onto a Linux Mint desktop/laptop platform to act as a server in our Turing Trust supported schools in Africa having already achieved that on Raspberry Pi.

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Thanks Andrew,

I’ll be sure to update this post when I have an update.

James

So it turns out Mint is very similar to Ubuntu so not much has to be changed. I will have a basic Mint installer very soon. The installer that I want you to have in the future would be much more complicated as it would take into account the networkign setup and other things we discussed, but at least you could test for now. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

James

Hi James

That is indeed what I had hoped as Mint is based on Ubuntu I gather.

Look forward to hearing how you get on.

Regards
Andrew

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Hi Andrew,

I’m just running into some of the same issues I had before on Ubuntu. More specifically if you’re interested, systemd-reserved already uses port 53 which dnsmasq uses. Dnsmasq is part of my normal configuration so I’m just looking at the repercussions of disabling systemd-resolved. I am also looking at the proper hostapd settings for Mint if there is an adapter available. Hopefully I’ll have a better update soon.

James

Hi James

We run our Wiping systems on a Mint server using dnsmasq for DHCP etc so it should be possible. Whilst not necessarily understanding fully the issues myself (I know there were some) if it helps I’ll try and get some input from the guys that built it.

Regards
Andrew

James - Comment below from my volunteer colleague Philip…

Andrew,

Sorry for the delay in replying and also because I don’t really know what systems-reserved is trying is to do. Using port 53 is a bit strange because that is reserved for DNS. Is systems-reserved just making sure nobody uses it? I checked and hosted is available for Mint using the standard software distribution process

$ apt-get install hostapd

I haven’t installed it because it uses the wifi adapter as a wifi hotspot - not something I’d want to do. https://learningequality.org/kolibri/ does look like a way to extend the range of a wifi base station by having PCs act as wifi relays. So if the base station wifi signal can reach PC-A but not PC-B, PC-A can retransmit to PC-B. It also uses something like bit-torrent to distribute the content so if both PC-A & B have the content, a new PC-C which is in range of PC-A & B can download from both, thus doing it quicker.

I maybe misunderstand all this but it looks like Kolibri replaces the Internet in a village with an ad-hoc network of co-operating PCs using wifi, so breaking DNS may be deliberate. So you would place MINT servers in strategic locations around a village or school to implement this, and then serve up the Rachel content with Apache. You can instead create wifi hotspots with Windows 10, so PC-D which can see and connect to PC-B but not base station, and thus a Rachel server or the internet.

Philip

Does that make sense in light of what you are seeing? A.

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Hi Andrew,

Sorry I made a mistake and changed it. The service name was “resolved” not “reserved” and it’s the default DNS. I think it’s okay to replace it with dnsmasq.

What I am testing now for you is the separation of the networking code in the existing RACHEL installer so you can choose to install the wifi hotspot ( hostapd, internet sharing, etc ) or just have it wired.

I am completely unfamiliar with Kolibri’s automatic networking setups other than the brief debugging I did to find the slow shutdown speed on the Raspberry Pi recently. I believe that’s their zeroconf or zero configuration networking. It’s a bit of a mystery to me so I can’t say how that would work or if that includes wireless code as that is more like Mesh networking. This might be something to bring up on the Learning Equality forums to see how they intended that to work unless @benjaoming can answer here.

If that’s the system you’d want to go with instead of a more specific configuration we’d probably need to leave the networking portion up to Kolibri and somehow hook the RACHEL content/Apache into that setup.

James

Hi James

Sorry - I somehow missed your last post. I hope you are keeping well.

I have consulted with my colleagues and they think if you can get the RACHEL-Kolibri solution on Mint to work the same way as it does on RPi with the WiFi acting as a hotspot for the schools as well as hard-wired Ethernet that would be ideal.

We also don’t know anything much about Kolibri’s automatic networking stuff but it is not something we are banking on anyway so if it doesn’t work it is no issue for us.

Regards
Andrew

Hi Andrew,

Yes absolutely. Sorry for the delay, I usually have more time to work on RACHEL. I am testing in a virtual machine that makes testing networking awkward but I think I should have something for you in the next few days. I’ll make sure both options are there for wifi or ethernet. Hope you’re doing well.

James

Hi James

Good that you are making progress!

It might be helpful to know that the platform we intend to try the build on is Lenovo ThinkPad X240 Laptops. These are i5 machines and pretty well built so ideal as a server in an African school! They originally had Intel Centrino 7260 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi but I don’t have one here at present so would have to confirm that by sneaking over to the warehouse and getting one.

Regards
Andrew

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Hi Andrew,

That helps a lot! thanks. I should be able to set things up properly based on that info. We can always tweak the settings after to make sure everything is working as well. I have been making progress and I think the non-networking errors I was running into are resolved now. I will have a lot more time this week to work on RACHEL so I’ll keep you updated when I have it working.

James

Hi James

I have some of the X240 laptops here now and can confirm the WiFi is Intel N7260.

Strangely Mint recommends that the Wireless Adapter needs an update but then can’t install it when I go to update it, even if I connect with Ethernet to allow the wireless driver to be updated. But it works fine with the default install anyway.

Regards
Andrew