RACHEL-Kolibri on Linux Mint

Hi James

We have been used to using on WiFi for all the RPi installations to access RACHEL so I would stick to that range for WiFi DHCP.

And if you could do 192.168.x.0 for DHCP on the wired connection the technician installing it would choose x for that school and set it up accordingly for them.

(S)he would also work out whether the school already have a DHCP server and thus choose to switch it on or off for each of these subnets. They would also document what they had done at the school for future tech staff who might visit.

Hope that makes sense.


Hey Andrew,

Great. That makes sense, thanks. I had to dig through online examples to create a Network Manager hotspot programatically as just copying over the file wouldn’t do. Sorry it’s taking so long, it’s surprisingly complicated. The good news is this way the settings can be modified easily like turning autoconnect on and setting the ip address/ssid/connection name. I’ll update you when it’s ready to test.


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Hi James

I just had an RPi WiFi issue flagged up by a colleague who has asked me to post it as this could affect us when we get back to doing the RPi version :-

HI Andrew,

We have been testing the latest Raspbian OS with IIAB 7.1 and discovered a serious issue with WIFI functionality as applied to WIFI Access Point running over WIFI on PIs.

This impacts solutions like IIAB and RACHEL servers built using Raspberry PIs.

Basically the firmware inside the PI limits the number of WIFI clients which can connect to the server.

The history of the issue is documented here:

So if you are building solution using RACHEL on Raspberry PIs, please be aware that it will only support 4 to 8 clients. In previous firmware, it could support 32, so there is a significant reduction in the capability.

In our Kenya Projects we have used external routers to provide the WIFI Access, so there is work around.

Please share this with your contact in the RACHEL Community. Let me know if you want to know more or if this is likely to impact any projects you have undertaken in Malawi with Raspberry PIs.




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Hi Andrew,

Wow. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. 4-8 clients is a significant drop and it looks like it’s entirely on Cypress’ end with the driver that is closed source. I’m actually curious if it’s a set hard limit. It looks like the Pi team aren’t too happy about it either.

This is disappointing because I was going to start testing and making a new RACHEL-Pi image soon as the team over at Learning Equality have fixed both bugs related to slow shutdown times and are getting close to a 0.14.0 release. With this news, it sounds like the old images might still be better until this is figured out. That’s a shame.

I will dig into that firmware and see what’s going on once I’m done with the Mint installer.

One thing I wanted to mention about the mint unique IP range is that it will work for 256 schools but another octet will have to be changed to increase that capacity if you plan on deploying to more than 256 schools in the future. 192.x.x.0 would increase that significantly. Another option is I can easily add a unique identifier to the RACHEL admin interface that reads from a file in /etc/. So /etc/school-id or something would contain a unique number and that would show in the interface. Up to you, just trying to think ahead on that.

Hope you’re doing well,

Hi James

Fine re RPi build plans.

As regards the Mint project IP range It will probably be a few years before we get to 256 schools but possibly a good idea to plan for that now to avoid a very expensive exercise going round changing them all later.

What I would suggest is that we initially use 192.168.x.0 and you generate the suggested unique value for the x quadrant but allow then to override it if required. It seems that the few they have installed already they have used the value 22 (ignoring the recommendation we made to use the school number). However since then there has been a new phase of schools project rollout and the previous numbering system which began with Snnn has now been changed to Tnnn which means numbers will be duplicated anyway! So much for the “best laid plans of Mice and Men” :slight_smile:

So in short your sequential idea would be good although as we will be installing the build from multiple USB sticks we will need to find a method of retrieving the last-used number I think. (They will however be connected to the internet at that point in our partner’s workshop). If we exceed 254 schools I guess we could go on to 192.169, although not technically a Private Range?

Technician Staff are going to be getting Linux and Networking training shortly so hopefully will have a better understanding of what we are trying to do here.

PS I didn’t get a notification of your post again and just checked in to see if you had replied. :frowning:


Hi James

I’m not pushing but we were just wondering when you might possibly have a build of the installer to test? We have a package to send out to Malawi soon and I don’t know whether to hold off sending it until the Mint stuff is ready for me to test and send as well.


Hi Andrew,

Sorry for the delayed response. I didn’t see this. How long will it be until you send a package to Malawi? I would suggest doing a manual installation method on a system before hand this time if possible to be sure everything works. This may take me a bit more time.

I had difficulties with the automatic installation of the hotspot as a lot of the documented dbus API stuff was wrong and gave invalid properties. I’m not sure if that was Mint specific or not. I think that is working now as the hotspot connection does get added. Can you give me the ip settings for your manually created hotspot? When you add, what is in the 2 fields next to it?

The GUI portion is done. I had to make this find the proper network interfaces and list them for the user to select in case there is more than one wired or wireless interface. This now passes that to the python installer which uses it for the iptables and ip address retrieval settings.

The only thing left to do is find and replace the ip settings in the dnsmasq files. I am just making sure this finds the right lines and deletes them so I can programatically add those lines with the custom ip addresses and basically turn the lan dhcp on/off. It may require an updated utility when new versions come out but hopefully not.

I’d like to say this will only be a few days, but sometimes that changes when I run into a new problem. I have a lot of time this week though and this is the only thing I’m working on.


For anyone interested, I continued development on the Linux Mint installer with Andrew through email and the link below has the latest version. We worked with the Cinnamon version.


To run it do the following steps

  1. Unzip the installer to /var/tmp/
  2. “cd /var/tmp/installer”
  3. “sudo bash rachel”
  4. Select update your system and reboot
  5. “sudo bash rachel”
  6. Select Install RACHEL

You should now have an open RACHEL hotspot running on Linux Mint Desktop with Kolibri and other features available. I will be posting another installer soon that works with Ubuntu as well and tutorials on setting up a RACHEL VM.


Hi Andrew.

My name is Kevin, I’m based in South Africa. I have been creating a content access point using Rachel Content. I am having trouble getting the index.html file for the en-kolibri-channel-khan-academy module. Is there any way you can assist with that? It is not included in the compressed download folder.