Miskatonic University Press

In Fear We Trust 4: LibraryBox

Posted: 30 September 2012

As I said, I’m using a slightly hacked LibraryBox to make a temporary one night only Nuit Blanche special wifi network called InFearWeTrust and web site at infearwetru.st. It’s now 4:30 in the morning and Ashley Williamson is running the lights so I can write up what I did.

I followed all the LibraryBox instructions, but I had a problem along the way. I bought the necessary TP-Link MR-3020 and installed PirateBox on it, which was easy enough … but then I couldn’t connect to the wifi network! I don’t know why. It just never responded. I set it aside to work on it later and then lost my notes about what network settings I’d used, so I think the router might be dead to me now.

I thought maybe I just had a bum one, so I got another. The same problem happened: I couldn’t connect to PirateBox! But then: I could! I can’t explain why the problem started or what stopped it. Very mysterious. However, it never came back and everything’s worked fine since then.

Connecting to the InFearWeTrust network

After installing LibraryBox I connected to its wifi network by sshing as root to 192.168.1.1. PirateBox and LibraryBox install their files into /opt/piratebox/ and it turned out there are just two files that really mattered to me: /opt/piratebox/bin/droopy and /opt/piratebox/conf/piratebox.conf.

I left the config file alone but for two things:

#HOSTNAME  ... if you really want to change it, plz change:
#    bin/droopy
#    conf/hosts
#HOST="librarybox.lan"
HOST="infearwetru.st"

and

TEXT=""

The TEXT variable defines some stuff that shows on the LibraryBox default page, included in HTML that’s inside droopy, so I edited it right there.

droopy is a simple little Python web server (“whose sole purpose is to let others upload files to your computer” but I’m not using that). There’s a maintmpl variable that has HTML and includes some other variables. I fiddled it until it did what I needed. I kept a backup every time I did something, because every now and then I’d do something that stopped droopy from running, so I’d have to go back to the previous version and try again. Once or twice it was to do with a % sign, but once I removed a bunch of Javascript I didn’t need and that broke it. I didn’t bother to dig into it.

There are two ways to add files. The rough way is to power down the box, take out the USB drive, copy files onto it, plug it back in and turn it on. The easier way is to use scp (scp filename.jpg root@192.168.1.1:/opt/piratebox/share/).

Updated: 30 September 2012