Debian buster (10) image 1.1 released for B3

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Debian buster (10) image 1.1 released for B3

Post by MouettE » 20 Nov 2020, 15:26

Hello everyone,

I've just release an updated version of the debian buster image for the B3. This new version fixes permission issues reported on version 1.0. I've recreated the image so it includes debian 10.6 with updates as of today (2020/11/20).

As usual, this image is constructed from 3 different projects : the buster OS image itself, an install/rescue system and an installer script. More details on these further in this post.

Current users of the stretch image can also directly upgrade their system using standard system tools. More details below.

First the link and quick howtos for install and upgrade:
Quick install howto

This works the same way as the stretch image:
  • Unzip the downloaded file on a fat-formatted usb key with a partition table
  • By default the installer will wipe the entire disk. If you wish to keep the existing data of your device, edit the install.ini file inside the install directory and set wipe to false at the bottom of the file. The installer will then only format the first partition of the drive.
  • plug the usb key on the B3 and apply power while pushing the rear button.
  • The rescue/install system will start, format the drive, extract the buster image and reboot the server.
  • By default the network is configured for dhcp on both network interface. It can be changed in the install.ini file (the installer will now copy the network settings from install.ini to the buster system by default. This can be changed in the install.ini file).
  • If the LED turns red, something went wrong. Turn off the server and post the install.log file which is created in the install directory of the key so I can help you out.
  • When the LED is solid blue you can ssh into the box with user 'excito' (no quotes) and password 'excito' (no quotes). Then you can 'su' ; the root password is 'excito' (no quotes).
  • Once you're logged in I strongly recommend to set the locale and timezone of your server (its defaults are POSIX and UTC). Run the following commands :

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    dpkg-reconfigure locales
    dpkg-reconfigure tzdata
Quick upgrade howto

I recommend you go through the busterrelease notes which include upgrade instructions. The only b3 specific task you need to do is to update the /etc/apt/sources.list.d/excito.list and change stretch to buster inside when preparing apt sources (step 4.3 of the upgrade guide)

That being said if you want to go fast and don't mind fixing broken stuff after the upgrade here is a very quick-and-dirty how-to :
  • update packages to the latest version with apt-get update and apt-get upgrade
  • replace stretch with buster in /etc/apt/sources.list and /etc/apt/sources.list.d/excito.list
  • run

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    apt-get update

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    apt-get dist-upgrade
  • reboot the b3, check the running kernel with uname -a (should be a 4.19.x kernel) and check services with systemctl status
  • Fix whatever needs to be fixed :)
  • run

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    apt-get autoremove --purge
    to cleanup old packages.
OS image contents

The buster OS is a very minimal debian install with only the core packages needed to start and ssh into the server. The image was bootstraped directly from standard debian utils (not built from upgrade of a previous version). There is a github repository which describes all the steps taken to build it.
  • The kernel used is Linux LTS 4.19.x series with Excito patches. This is actually the series used in debian and it's LTS upstream. Sources are available on github
  • Excito-specific packages (kernel, button and led management) are available in a repository I maintain on the Excito servers. The image is pre-configured to use it so further upgrades can be installed with apt tools. Everything is on github too.
  • U-Boot tools are installed and configured so you can play with u-boot if you dare. WARNING this is risky business, use it at your own risk.
  • The root password is 'excito' (without quotes) and I've also created an excito user with the same password. Note that by default in stretch you can not ssh directly as root with a password.
  • SSH host keys are generated on the first boot and it takes a few seconds.
  • The default network configuration is DHCP for both interfaces. It may be overridden by the install.ini configuration.
The install/rescue system

Full sources and rudimentary compilation instructions are available on github.

The installer script

I've also updated the installer script with a couple of fixes and the most-requested option of copying the network settings from the install/rescue system to the installed stretch system. Everything else work the same way and is still configured through the install.ini file on the USB install key. It's heavily commented so all the options can be understood and changed accordingly.

Also in rescue-only or if reboot is disabled, the install script on exit will also still animate the LED to dictate the first IP address of the box. It's bonus 8) and will hopefully make it easier to know the DHCP-attributed address of the server.


As always ask as many questions as you want I will be more than happy to answer them.


Posts: 149
Joined: 07 Mar 2007, 07:15

Re: Debian buster (10) image 1.1 released for B3

Post by Clive » 22 Nov 2020, 15:33

Thanks ! It downloaded and updgraded in the standard apt-get Update/Upgrade.

No problems noted, thank-you for your continued support for the B3. :)

Posts: 16
Joined: 16 Jul 2008, 16:23

Re: Debian buster (10) image 1.1 released for B3

Post by stompertje » 13 Jul 2021, 03:46

I love how this is enabling me to keep both my B3's running (although one harddrive and two power supplies are currently failing me)

However, after a fresh install of this new image, I run into

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bash: dpkg-reconfigure: command not found
I checked that debconf is installed, which it is. I did not have this problem with previous versions and I'm a bit lost how to fix this. Any pointers would be appreciated.


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