Hic sunt leones AKA Giovanni Santini's personal blog. For real, yeah.

ArchLinuxARM on BeagleBone Black: getting network working over USB

As written in title, this post will be about setting up a working USB connection for ArchLinuxARM (a port of the magnificent ArchLinux for the ARM architecture). This is made for this kind of setup:

  • a shared DHCP connection through NetworkManager (can be adapted to everything else though)
  • a BeagleBoneBlack connected by mini-USB to the computer.

With this tutorial you will have a working shared network between the BeagleBoneBlack and your computer, with included dynamic IP resolution (no more ssh IP_HERE).

Some thoughts:

  • I'll say when commands have to be done on the host (see: your computer/laptop), else they have to be done on the client (the BeagleBoneBlack).
  • In a theoric way, this tutorial should be fine for any ArchLinuxARM device; just pay a bit more of attention.
  • I assume that the users reading this tutorial are a bit experienced (else GTFO); also, the commands with before a $ will be commands that can be given as users, the ones with ! should be given by the user root.

Let's do this

So, these are the steps:

  • Install ArchLinuxARM (from now on ALARM) on your BeagleBoneBlack; for this, I just suggest the official tutorial. For the following part of this tutorial, I assume you've installed your ALARM (on MicroSD or on eMMC is the same).

  • From your host, share connection to your BeagleBoneBoard; I did this by connecting the device using an Ethernet cable plus an USB for power. Also, I allowed sharing connection through Ethernet with NetworkManager

    • install dnsmasq, as it will allow shared networking through NetworkManager
    • open nm-connection-editor
    • Suggested: create a specific connection for the BeagleBoneBlack with nm-connection-editor
    • under IPv4 settings set "Shared"
  • I had then to use nmap on the host to find out the IP

    • go on NetworkManager
    • find out the IP of the shared Ethernet network (e.g.
    • find the actual IP of the BeagleBoardBlack by inspecting the network, doing something like:
$ nmap
# Here comes the output
Starting Nmap 6.47 ( http://nmap.org ) at 2015-07-24 17:21 CEST
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.00064s latency).
Not shown: 999 closed ports
53/tcp open  domain
# Here it is!
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.00056s latency).
Not shown: 999 closed ports
22/tcp open  ssh # See, SSH port is open
Nmap done: 256 IP addresses (2 hosts up) scanned in 2.56 seconds
  • Actually, connect from the host to your device with SSH
$ ssh [email protected] # Use the IP found in the step before, user 'root' password 'root'
  • In order to work with just the USB cable, you need to download the gadget-deadbeef-dhcp package; the package was meant to enable connections through USB, I made the -dhcp version to have dynamic IP (we won't have problem with it later). You can get it with a:
$ yaourt -S gadget-deadbeef-dhcp

Else, you will have to build it:

! pacman -S base base-devel wget # Let's have all installed
$ wget https://aur4.archlinux.org/cgit/aur.git/snapshot/gadget-deadbeef-dhcp.tar.gz
$ tar xf gadget-deadbeef-dhcp.tar.gz
$ cd gadget-deadbeef-dhcp
$ makepkg -srci # Builds without dependencies problems, clean up the temporary files and install
# If you've problems, use 'pacman -U' as root

Notice: people that want it to work even with Windows have to install the gadget-deadbeef-legacy-dhcp package, as the one above uses a driver which is not (still) supported from BeagleBoard official Windows drivers; so, just follow the steps above, replacing gadget-deadbeef-dhcp with gadget-deadbeef-legacy-dhcp.

PRO TIP: I had to reinstall the official BeagleBoard drivers, which can be found here. I had problems as Windows 8.1 didn't allow me to install unsigned drivers; so, if you get to the last step of drivers installation and you get red crosses (error in installation) and you don't know why, try reinstalling after doing this.

  • Now we have to set up things for hostname resolution. Well'use Samba for this. It can be used for many more things, but in this case we'll use just its NetBIOS ability. So, get Samba and enable the NetBIOS daemon:
! pacman -S samba
! cp /etc/samba/smb.conf.default /etc/samba/smb.conf
! systemctl enable nmbd
! systemctl start nmbd
  • On the host, enable NetBIOS name resolution by adding wins to the /etc/nsswitch.conf file. It will look like this:
$ cat /etc/nsswitch.conf 
hosts: files wins dns myhostname # See? We added 'wins' 

And now?

Now, just connect with a

$ ssh alarm # Assuming that you've not changed the BeagleBoneBlack hostname

No more fuss for looking for IP, setting things or else. This tutorial is a bit long, but I hope it can be useful to someone. Cheers.

Android: Preventing Gallery thumbnails creation

I'm really having an hard time in this period (exams, duh) but considering the fact I'm having more views that I ever expected, I'm gonna drop something useful here.

Don't worry, long posts with many informatics technical stuff are already in background. I'm thinking about a server-related tutorial series, I suppose people will enjoy.

Anyways, back to the topic.

What do you mean in the title?

Let's be honest, Android OS can't be perfect. We already know this. But there's lot of customization avaible, which makes it my favourite mobile OS (for now... But I think/hope this won't change). Anyways, I can detect with SD Maid about 1.8 GB of Stock Gallery thumbnails. And that's a big bunch of crap. (PRO TIP: visit darken's website or take a look to his G+)

Why this happens?

Actually, Android just tries to speed-up the Gallery (in my case, Google+ Photos app) by creating a local preview that can be loaded really fast by gallery apps... However, this creates the junk I told before.

Any fixes?

Yeah, the title would be different if it wasn't like this. However, this requires a mobile with a custom recovery (like ClockWorkMod or TWRP) and some Android/Linux OS knowledge. (At least, try to understand what follows next.)

Let's go!

The idea is to make impossible to create new thumbnails; so, why not deleting the thumbnails and make the folder to be impossible to access? Exactly, this will make the trick. Now, reboot your phone in recovery mode and open your shell (in TWRP there's one that can be runned in recovery, else connect your phone to your PC and use an adb shell... check that you're using root with whoami)

cd /sdcard # Should exist as fallback... anyways, getting in your main memory folder
cd DCIM # Entering photos folder, where thumbnails are
rm -f .thumbnails/* # Removing all thumbnails
chmod 000 .thumbnails # Making the thumbnail folder not accessible anymore

Done! Now the thumbnails in the Gallery app will be generated on the fly... and you will have some free memory now. That's all for now, folks! Wait for the tutorial series.

YouTube + HTML5 = PROFIT

Everybody loves YouTube, doesn't it? I love this service too.

I see lots of videos from it and I'm really satisfied with this service.

So, free candies and hugs for everybody, yuppie... (Notice: you can skip to the TL;DR part at the end of the page. PRO TIP: you can search for it in your browser.)


Yeah, bad news here. It uses Adobe's Flash Player. The plugin that has just been used for flash games and Youtube.

About the first of them, I can still remember some epic ones, as Burrito Bison Revenge and Robot Unicorn Attack: Heavy Metal.

For Youtube... well, it's for Youtube.

So what...?

Actually, as you should know, Linux has outdated Flash plugin (11.2, when the upstream one is 11.7) that is stable but... well, it's not updated, fine?

Apart from this, on my main OS (Antergos, an ArchLinux with lots of goodies in it and a fully working desktop manager) I've no video thumbnail when shifting the player cursor. And no default hardware accelleration. Yup. (But read below for some juice.) Also, even on Windows I've some problems with hardware accelleration (With my Intel Graphics, I've some hardware decoding issues on some formats, as 480p).

SPOILER: Nerd stuff ahead... more then usual, yes. If you're not interested, skip to next paragraph.

Thanks to Rinat Ibragimov, it's possible to use an updated version of Flash even on Linux; thanks to his hard work, now we have avaible a PPAPI-to-NPAPI conversion plugin that allows to use the PPAPI Chrome plugin on Firefox. If you're interested, take a look here, while you can track hardware decoding specific stuff and progress here. This awesome developer also developed the awesome libvdpau-va-gl, that allows to use VA-API as a VDPAU backend for hardware accelleration. (As Flash just supports VDPAU for hardware accelleration... So many facepalms for me.). Translation for human mortals: you use VA-API for VDPAU accelleration = hardware accelleration for Flash on Intel graphics. Here you've installation tutorial for Ubuntu. Instead, for installing libvdpau-va-gl on ArchLinux you could do something in a shell like this:

# Installing required packages
sudo pacman -S libvdpau-va-gl libva-intel-driver flashplugin
# Enabling HardWare Accelleration for Flash plugin
sudo sed -i 's/#Enable/Enable/' /etc/adobe/mms.cfg
# Making avaible the driver through environment variables
echo "export VDPAU_DRIVER=va_gl" >> .bashrc
# Activate it for the actual session
export VDPAU_DRIVER=va_gl

Notice: in this way it'll work just for the user which exports the variable; to make it default for the whole system, you should create a /etc/profile.d/vdpau_vaapi.sh script with this commands:

export VDPAU_DRIVER=va_gl

This will do the trick.

The solution is... HTML5!

As you should know, YouTube has made avaible an HTML5 player avaible here. This make the YouTube experience free from the problems given by Flash Player. Also, it has no problem in playing all the videos avaible with Flash, it has 60 FPS videos support (and Flash does not) and uses hardware accelleration (it should... I can't be sure about it, as no related source code is avaible, but it should use hardware accellerated HTML5 canvas).

But... #2

Actually, it fully works just on Chromium/Google Chrome... Fully works on ArchLinux Chromium... While on Firefox... Doh #1. And on Windows Firefox Doh #2.

The final solution (TL;DR)

In order to have a fully working HTML5 YouTube player in Firefox, you just have to open the internal configuration here (Remember, just for Firefox), press the big "Yeah, I'll be a fine boy" button (can't remember the proper English text, sorry) set the flags shown below as suggested (PRO TIP: you can use the built-in search bar):

media.mediasource.enabled: true
media.mediasource.mp4.enabled: true
media.mediasource.webm.enabled: true
media.mediasource.youtubeonly: true

media.fragmented-mp4.enabled: true
media.fragmented-mp4.exposed: true
media.fragmented-mp4.ffmpeg.enabled: true
media.fragmented-mp4.gmp.enabled: true
media.fragmented-mp4.use-blank-decoder: false

And finally... Firefox on ArchLinux Yes #1. And on Firefox on Windows. Yes #2.

The end

Well, that's all folks for now. If it's interesting, show some love and press the share button I've put below and thank you for reading up to this point. See you guys!

Introducing myself

Finally, here I am. I finally made it. I did what no one ever succeded in. Yeah. I setted up a blog. Yeah. ... Uh. Lots of people already did with Wordpress, you say? Doh.

Yeah, I've got lots of sarcasm.

Who the hell are you?

The one who's writing this blog. Even if you now can't sense it. Anyways, I'm an IT student who loves new things. In particular, I love simple stuff that works fine.

As this website, for example.

Is built over a static website generator which handles Markdown files, the awesome Jekyll and the even more awesome Lanyon theme.

Even this post is written in Markdown, which is just formatted plain text.

Interested? Take a look here.

Seriously, who are you?

Fine, even if I'm asking to myself (while writing this post, you should know). I'm Giovanni Santini, as for now an Italian Informatics Science universitary student; I've lots of Internet stuff (Facebook, Google+, YouTube et cetera) and probably you already know me for some of them (if you do).

Here I'll post some thoughts about my IT/nerding adventures (yuppie) or about my philosophy (I love logics and similar stuff). I'll fix in some time the About page, so you'll be able to contact me.

And, as an important man said, KTHXBYE

Or was it just LOLCODE? Nevermind.