Monday, August 31, 2009

Ubuntu Netbook Remix in VMware

I needed to install Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) in a VMware Virtual Machine so that I could try to reproduce a bug. It was kind of an asspain. Problem is, UNR is made to be installed from a USB flash drive, and VMware can't boot from USB devices. There isn't a DVD or CD ISO image for UNR 9.04 available. It turns out that you can make a DVD image from the UNR .img.

I found the following guide on the Ubuntu forums (see below for a link). It should work from most linux distros:

Make a directory to hold the contents of the UNR DVD image:

$ mkdir unr

Make a mount point to mount the UNR .img file:

$ mkdir realunr

Mount the UNR .img as a loop device:

$ sudo mount -o loop -t vfat ubuntu-9.04-netbook-remix-i386.img realunr/

Copy all the contents from the UNR image to your unr/ directory. Note that realunr/.diskimage is critical:
$ rsync -a realunr/ unr/

Rename syslinux to isolinux:
unr$ mv syslinux isolinux
unr$ mv isolinux/syslinux.cfg isolinux/isolinux.cfg

Generate a DVD image from the contens of unr with the following incantation:
mkisofs -o ubuntu-9.04-netbook-remix-i386.iso -r -J -l \
-V "Ubuntu-Netbook-Remix 9.04 i386" -b isolinux/isolinux.bin \
-c isolinux/ -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 \
-boot-info-table unr/

mkisofs will generate a DVD image that you can either boot a VM from or burn to a DVD.

Guide on

Friday, August 07, 2009

Jailbroken iPhone, Cydia Apps, Upgrading iPhone to 3.0.1

I've been running my iPhone jailbroken for a couple of weeks. At first I felt dirty about having callously cast aside many of the legitimate security mechanisms in the iPhone, such as sandboxing of 3rd party apps. Utlimately, I have given into my baser instincts and am sticking with it.

Today I upgraded my iPhone to 3.0.1. There isn't an official jailbreak for 3.0.1 yet, but the 3.0 jailbreak works. The problem in general with upgrading a jailbroken phone is that there's no real way to back up all of your unauthorized customizations. You've basically had your way with the underlying Unix OS. Not everything you install from Cydia is a self-contained app. There are system modifications like installing OpenSSH and system utilities. Anyway, what it comes down to is that you need to reinstall all of your Cydia packages after upgrading and re-jailbreaking.

Here's how the process went for me:
In iTunes:
-do a backup
-choose to restore, which will also update. Don't choose upgrade.

After this is done, leave itunes, and follow the normal jailbreak process
-Run redsn0w
-Point redsn0w at your 3.0 iPhone OS ipsw file.

Once redsn0w is done, you're jailbroken again and running (mostly) 3.0.1. You still need to reinstall your Cydia packages. I found some of my customizations returned once I had reinstalled the Cydia packages, but not all.

On the topic of Cydia packages, here's a list of packages that I installed and really like:
  • BigBoss Recommended; This gets you a bunch of command line utilities that you'd expect to be on most unix systems. It actually is a metapackage that brings a ton of other packages with it.
  • MobileTerminal; A terminal application (not an SSH client)
  • MusicControls; A paid app that lets you background and control many music applications like Slacker and Pandora
  • OpenSSH; client and server. Be sure to reset passwords for root and mobile. Also disable root logins. Disable sshd from running automatically.
  • SBSettings; let's you tweak many hidden settings, replacing BossPrefs. Also required for disabling autostarting of the sshd service
  • Safari Download Manager; A paid app. Lets you download and save files, even ones that Safari doesn't know how to handle. Great for downloading files and getting them off you phone.
  • iFile; A paid app that lets you browse the entire filesystem and open files. Also has a built-in web server that will serve up files to your laptop. Useful when you have no Internet, but need to download a file.
  • SysInfoPlus; Shows you lots of technical information about your iPhone. Mostly just neat.
  • Status Notifier; shows various status indicators like new mail icon in the iPhones status bar at the top of the screen
  • BlackDarkness theme; This is a complete system theme that replaces lots of things, including many icons. I think it's kind of neat. Brings winterboard with it.
That's about it. The BigBoss blog is recommending that you stand pat until there's a redsn0w update. Supposedly it's going to make things a bit easier. It's not clear in what way. At the very least, they point out that for now, you'll still end up with a 3.0 kernel. Hmmm. :-/