tutorial

Using a reverse-NFS mount to access Docker container's data from macOS

For years, Mac users have dealt with slow filesystem performance for Docker volumes when using Docker for Mac. This is because the virtualized filesystem, which used osxfs for a while and will soon be upgraded to use VirtioFS.

But if you need to do large operations on huge codebases inside a shared directory, even using NFS to share from the Mac into Docker is a lot slower than running a native Docker volume or just using files inside the container's own filesystem.

macOS Disk Utility APFS Case Insensitive filesystem

Installing the Asahi Linux Alpha on my M1 Mac mini

After upgrading my main workstation to a Mac Studio, I decided to break tradition.

Usually, I sell off my old workstation to offset the cost of the new one. But just last week, Asahi Linux announced their first alpha release.

Asahi Linux MacBook Pro

If you haven't heard of Asahi, it's a Linux distribution based on Arch Linux that aims to bring a polished Linux experience on Apple Silicon Macs (all the current M1 Macs, and any new Apple Silicon Macs that come in the future).

Playing sounds with Python on a Raspberry Pi

Today I needed to play back an MP3 or WAV file through a USB audio device on a Raspberry Pi, in a Python script. "Should be easy!" I thought!

Clarence the Raspberry Pi Bell Slapper with USB audio output and speaker

Well, a couple hours later I decided to write this blog post to document the easiest way to do it, since I had to take quite a journey to get to the point where sound actually plays through the USB audio output.

The problem is most guides, like this simple one from Raspberry Pi's project site, assume two things:

HTGWA: Use bcache for SSD caching on a Raspberry Pi

This is a simple guide, part of a series I'll call 'How-To Guide Without Ads'. In it, I'm going to document how I set up bcache on a Raspberry Pi, so I could use an SSD as a cache in front of a RAID array.

Getting bcache

bcache is sometimes used on Linux devices to allow a more efficient SSD cache to run in front of a single or multiple slower hard drives—typically in a storage array.

In my case, I have three SATA hard drives: /dev/sda, /dev/sdb, and /dev/sdc. And I have one NVMe SSD: /dev/nvme0n1.

I created a RAID5 array with mdadm for the three hard drives, and had the raid device /dev/md0.

I then installed bcache-tools:

$ sudo apt-get install bcache-tools

And used make-bcache to create the backing and cache devices:

Using Compute Module 4 IO Board pins as an ATX case front panel header

Recently I built the Seaberry, a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 mini ITX motherboard into a PC case (video coming soon...), and got the case power button, power LED, and activity LED all wired up to the Pi:

Case power button with LED light

I used the GPIO and 14-pin header present on the Seaberry (which conveniently are identical to the headers on the official CM4 IO Board), and wound up with a fully functionality power button, power LED, and activity LED!

Here's how I did it:

Power activity LEDs and button connections on Raspberry Pi GPIO for CM4 IO Board

Power button

To get the power button working, you need to connect the case's front panel 'power switch' connector to pins 12 and 14 (GLOBAL_EN and GND), as seen in the top middle of the above picture.

HTGWA: Create a ZFS RAIDZ1 zpool on a Raspberry Pi

This is a simple guide, part of a series I'll call 'How-To Guide Without Ads'. In it, I'm going to document how I set up a ZFS zpool in RAIDZ1 in Linux on a Raspberry Pi.

Prequisites

ZFS does not enjoy USB drives, though it can work on them. I wouldn't really recommend ZFS for the Pi 4 model B or other Pi models that can't use native SATA, NVMe, or SAS drives.

For my own testing, I am using a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, and there are a variety of PCI Express storage controller cards and carrier boards with integrated storage controllers that make ZFS much happier.

I have also only tested ZFS on 64-bit Raspberry Pi OS, on Compute Modules with 4 or 8 GB of RAM. No guarantees under other configurations.

Installing ZFS

Since ZFS is not bundled with other Debian 'free' software (because of licensing issues), you need to install the kernel headers, then install two ZFS packages:

HTGWA: Create an NFS share in Linux on a Raspberry Pi

This is a simple guide, part of a series I'll call 'How-To Guide Without Ads'. In it, I'm going to document how I create an NFS share in Linux on a Raspberry Pi.

Install NFS

$ sudo apt-get install -y nfs-kernel-server

Create a shared directory

$ sudo mkdir /mnt/mydrive/shared
$ sudo chmod -R 777 /mnt/mydrive/shared

I won't deal with permissions in this post; read this post for more suggestions.

Configure NFS to share that directory

Edit the NFS exports file with sudo nano /etc/exports, and add the following:

/mnt/mydrive/shared *(rw,all_squash,insecure,async,no_subtree_check,anonuid=1000,anongid=1000)

Update the NFS active exports

sudo exportfs -ra

Connect to the share

From another computer, access: nfs://[hostname-or-ip-of-pi]/mnt/mydrive/shared

HTGWA: Create a Samba (SMB) share on a Raspberry Pi

This is a simple guide, part of a series I'll call 'How-To Guide Without Ads'. In it, I'm going to document how I create Samba (SMB) shares in Linux on a Raspberry Pi.

Install Samba

This is important, for obvious reasons:

$ sudo apt install -y samba samba-common-bin

Create a shared directory

$ sudo mkdir /mnt/mydrive/shared
$ sudo chmod -R 777 /mnt/mydrive/shared

I won't deal with permissions in this post; read the Samba docs for that.

Configure Samba to share that directory

Edit the Samba config file with sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf, and add the following:

[shared]
path=/mnt/mydrive/shared
writeable=Yes
create mask=0777
directory mask=0777
public=no

Restart Samba so the new shared directory is available:

$ sudo systemctl restart smbd

Create a password for Samba access

The user must already exist on the system; in this example, I'll use the default pi user:

HTGWA: Create a RAID array in Linux with mdadm

This is a simple guide, part of a series I'll call 'How-To Guide Without Ads'. In it, I'm going to document how I create and mount a RAID array in Linux with mdadm.

In the guide, I'll create a RAID 0 array, but other types can be created by specifying the proper --level in the mdadm create command.

Prepare the disks

You should have at least two drives set up and ready to go. And make sure you don't care about anything on them. They're gonna get erased. And make sure you don't care about the integrity of the data you're going to store on the RAID 0 volume. RAID 0 is good for speed... and that's about it. Any drive fails, all your data's gone.

Note: Other guides, like this excellent one on the Unix StackExchange site, have a lot more detail. This is just a quick and dirty guide.

List all the devices on your system:

HTGWA: Partition, format, and mount a large disk in Linux with parted

This is a simple guide, part of a series I'll call 'How-To Guide Without Ads'. In it, I'm going to document how I partition, format, and mount a large disk (2TB+) in Linux with parted.

Note that newer fdisk versions may work better with giant drives... but since I'm now used to parted I'm sticking with it for the foreseeable future.

List all available drives

$ sudo parted -l
...
Error: /dev/sda: unrecognised disk label
Model: ATA Samsung SSD 870 (scsi)                                         
Disk /dev/sda: 8002GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: unknown
Disk Flags:

Good, I had plugged in that SSD just now, and it's brand new, so it doesn't have a partition table, label, or anything. It's the one I want to operate on. It's located at /dev/sda. I could also find that info with lsblk.