Thursday, 23 May 2019

Cross compile packages for OpenWRT / LEDE

For this tutorial I'll be using Fedora 29 for the build host.

We'll install the necessary dependencies firstly:

sudo dnf install asciidoc binutils bzip2 flex git gawk intltool zlib gmake ncurses openssl-devel patchutils p5-extutils-makemaker unzip wget gettext libxslt zlib-devel boost-jam perl-XML-Parser libusb-devel dev86 sharutils java-1.7.0-openjdk-devel b43-fwcutter zip

The next step is to obtain the OpenWRT SDK which will allows us to cross-compile packages that we require on OpenWRT.

I'll be using a BT Home Hub 5A for this exercise - so I browse the releases:

Under the supplementary section you should find the SDK e.g.

lede-sdk-<version-number>-<vendor>-<model>_gcc-<version number>_musl-<version number>.Linux-<architecure>.tar.xz

We'll proceed by downloading and extracting it:


tar xvf lede-sdk-17.01.4-lantiq-xrx200_gcc-5.4.0_musl-1.1.16.Linux-x86_64.tar.xz && cd lede-sdk-17.01.4-lantiq-xrx200_gcc-5.4.0_musl-1.1.16.Linux-x86_64

The default feeds will be targeted at 17.01.4 and hence be missing fping - however the current master branch has fping available - so we'll add the following line to feeds.conf.default ensure it's indexed / available:

src-git fping

Update the feeds (as defined in feeds.conf.default):

./scripts/feeds update -a

and grab fping with:

./scripts/feeds install fping

We'll generate our config file:

make menuconfig

Select 'Network' and ensure the fping package is marked with an 'M' and then save the changes to '.config'

Also make sure that cryptographic signing is disabled (otherwise the build process will fail): 'Global build settings' > Untick 'Cryptographically sign package lists' and hit Save.

We'll now attempt to compile fping:

make -j1 V=s

The binary is created in the following directory:


Finally upload the package via SFTP/SCP to the router and install it with opkg:

opkg install fping_4.2-1_mips_24kc.ipk

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Linux: Backup Options

There are countless ways to backup disks easily with Linux - however I'm going to demonstrate some of the more commonly used methods.

Forenote: Always ensure the discs are not in use / mounted while performing the below operations otherwise it is likely that new / changed files will be corrupted and will run into problems with the file system.

Backing up a disk with dd 

sudo dd if=/dev/xvda of=/mnt/usbdrive | sync

or better yet we can use a sane block size (dd uses 512 bytes by default):

sudo dd bs=16M if=/dev/xvda of=/mnt/usbdrive | sync

Backing up a disk with dd over ssh

Utilising SSH provides us with encryption - ideal for remote backups e.g. over public networks:

sudo ssh user@remote "dd if=/dev/xvda1 " | dd of=backup.gz

However it does introduce an overhead due to the encryption - so we can pipe it into gzip in order to speed things up:

sudo ssh user@remote "dd if=/dev/xvda1 | gzip -1 -" | dd of=backup.gz

Backing up a mounted system with rsync

If the system is currently mounted we can use rsync to perform a backup (ensuring we exclude certain directories such as /dev, /mnt etc):

sudo rsync -aAXv / --exclude={"/dev/*","/proc/*","/sys/*","/tmp/*","/run/*","/mnt/*","/media/*","/lost+found"} /mnt

In the above command we employ 'archive' mode that ensures symbolic links, devices, permissions, ownerships, modification times, ACLs, and extended attributes are preserved.

and over rsync over SSH

sudo rsync -aAXve ssh user@remote:/ --exclude={"/dev/*","/proc/*","/sys/*","/tmp/*","/run/*","/mnt/*","/media/*","/lost+found"} /mnt

There are of course many other ways to skin a cat e.g. using netcat (which is significantly faster than dd over SSH - however lacks encryption.)