Sunday, 20 September 2009

Developer Key

What is a Developer Key?

It's simply a file that allows you to run unsigned operating system images. OLPC produces many unsigned operating system images for development and testing, which will only work in your laptop if you have a developer key.

If you don't have a developer key, and your laptop has firmware security enabled, it will not let you do anything except boot an OLPC-signed operating system, and use the OLPC-provided software. If you insert a USB flash drive or SD card, the boot firmware will only boot from it if the files are tested and cryptographically signed by OLPC.

Also with the developer key the firmware will make XO act as a normal PC, how so?
  1. It will allow you to interrupt the boot process to enter commands, by pressing the Esc key (x) located on the upper left corner of the key pad.
  2. It will let you run any program or boot into any OS such as Sugar on a Stick, no matter whether the OLPC organization has tested, approved, or signed it.
Once you have your developer key you should make a back up copy of it, save it on your PC for example, just in case you accidentally delete it. But I don't think you need to worry about this much because you can always re-download it with out having to go through the registration process again. Another option is to disable firmware security permanently, this way you will no longer need your developer key, but I read that sometimes you can run into problems while trying to disable security so the sound choice might be to have an extra copy or just re-download .

I did read that instead of getting a developer key you can press on the 4 game keys when booting into your XO.

Getting your Developer Key

First you will need to be connected to the internet via wireless. To learn how to connect to a wireless network see the post Connecting to a Wireless Network.

1. Open the browse activity and type in file:///home/.devkey.html, or on the home page click get a developer key.

2. You will be redirected to the Developer Key Request page. There click the button Submit Query. Then you'll be redirected to a page informing you when your key will be ready.

3. When you return to the page in step 1 after the specified time you should get a window like the one below informing you that your developer key is ready. Follow the instructions to download your developer key.

4. Once your key is downloaded copy it to your USB. Open the terminal activity, then type su --> press Enter --> cp /security/develop.sig /media/USBName. This will copy the develop.sig file to your USB. Now create a new folder, name it security, then cut paste develop.sig into this folder.

That's it!!

For more information on this topic visit this webpage.

Creating a Back up for your XO

Why create a backup for your XO?

For the same reason you would backup your PC to be safe, it's a good idea to take precautions and create a backup when your making major changes to your laptop that might cause it to malfunction, such as, major updates (like updating to a newer version/release of Sugar); these operations are supposed to run smoothly but there is a chance they might fail. Having a backup allows you to restore your XO to a previous in which it was functioning properly.

What you need to get started

  1. A USB with at least 1GB free space.
  2. A developer key. Actually I read that you don't need the developer key, instead you can hold the four game keys when booting into your XO.

Check your USB
  1. Make sure you have at least 1GB free space.
  2. Make sure its a FAT, FAT32, or VFAT format.
  3. Make sure you don't have a bootable OS on it, such as Sugar on a Stick. If you do it will boot into that OS instead of the Open Firmware (OFW).
  4. Make sure you have copied your developer key (develop.sig) into a folder named security.
Steps 1 & 2 can be checked from your USB's properties. Right click on USB --> Properties.

Time to Back Up!

1. Plug your USB into one of the XO ports.

2. Start or Restart your XO while holding down the Esc key (x), or just wait until the white screen appears with the XO logo then press the Esc key. This will get you into the Open Firmware ok prompt.

3. Type in the command probe-usb, your USB should show as USB2. USB1 is too slow.

4. If by some chance you forgot to free up enough space for back up not to worry. First type scan-nand if it's completely green (full) you will need 1GB free space, if it's half green half blue (half full) you will only need 500MB free space. Now type disk-free u: to see if you have enough space, if you don't delete some files using the command rm u:\fileName.extension, for speed you can use wild cards to delete all files with a certain extension as in rm u:\*.png.

5. Type the command save-nand u:\backup.img. The name backup isn't obligatory, you can name it whatever you please, but it's always a good idea to have a meaningful name. Just make sure you don't forget the .img extension.

6. Now all you have to do is wait while the back up is being created. You can see a little box moving from one green box to the next, also below you will see a counter that counts from 0 - 1FFF.

7. When the counter reaches 1FFF the OFW will report Done, and give you the name of the CRC file, which in this case would be backup.crc. I'm guessing it will name it according to the name you provided in step 5. You can verify that both the backup.img & backup.crc are now on your USB by typing in the command dir u:.

8. Now you can remove your USB. Copy the 2 backup files to your PC if you like.

9. To exit the OFW you can type either boot to start the OS (boot into the Sugar OS) or bye to restart the machine.

Restoring your XO

1. Plug your USB into one of the XO ports

2. Start or Restart your XO while pressing the Esc key.

3. When your in the OFW ok prompt, type in the command probe-usb to make sure it's displayed as USB2.

4. Next type in the command dir u: to make sure you have both the .img & .crc backup files.

5. Type in copy-nand u:\backup.img. Of course backup is the name you used for your backup files.

6. Wait till its done. Then restart your XO.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Connecting to a Wireless Network

These are a few simple steps you can follow to connect to a wireless internet.

1. Go to your Neighborhood view. It's the icon on the far left. You should get a view similar to the one below. Hover over the Network you wish to connect to and click in the middle of the icon, or wait for the menu to appear and click Connect.

2. If you are trying to connect to a secured wireless connection you will be prompted for a password. Enter the password and press OK.

3. Next it should say it's Connecting.

4. Once your connected you will see an icon like the enlarged icon in the image below.

Here's a list of icons you might see and what each means: