Disputatio Ebrius

This is a public space to write down some of my not so private thoughts.

The Suicide Of Western Civilization.

First of all let me state that I in no way obtained the permission of either Mark Steyn nor Imprimus for the blatant use of this article. This article is the very embodiment of how my thoughts on this very matter are comprised. Were I a better writer or any writer at all, I too, would be able to state this case as clearly as Steyn does. However, that would take several lifetimes and none of us have that luxury. Therefore I've ripped it off word for word and hereby, so acknowledge. The original article may be found here.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on April 26, 2021, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Franklin, Tennessee.

I live about 20 minutes south of the Canadian border, which used to be called the longest undefended frontier in the world. People moved freely back and forth across it all day every day. But now it’s been closed for over a year. At one point my daughter asked me to drive her up there, because there was a 30-minute opportunity for people on one side to talk to their friends on the other. “Sad!” as President Trump would say. It was like Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin during the Cold War, except that both sides are now like East Berlin. I don’t know how this happened, but it is just one indication that America, and the West in general, have become almost unrecognizable from what they were not that long ago. Look at just three things we have lost.

One is equality before the law, something absolutely essential to a free society. In its place, we now have politicized law. If a policeman fatally shoots someone, whether his name is released to the public depends on whether the shooting is consistent with the preferred narrative of the ruling class. A policeman recently took down a young woman who was threatening the life of another young woman with a knife, and that policeman was immediately identified—indeed, his photo was posted and he was threatened by NBA superstar LeBron James on Twitter. On the other hand, we know nothing of the policeman who shot dead an unarmed woman in the U.S. Capitol on January 6. His name will apparently never be released to the public.

Second, border control. Functioning societies, at least since the Peace of Westphalia three centuries ago, have borders. America has no southern border and no plans to get one. The official position of our government seems to be that any of the seven billion persons on this planet has a right to come and stay in the U.S. for three years, until his or her assigned court date comes up. As the number of people with pending cases continues to grow, that three years will extend out to five or seven or 15 years. If we get all seven billion people to come here, the court system will break down entirely and maybe we can go back to having a functioning border.

And third, dare I bring up the fact that it is a real question whether we can go back to agreeing to have open and honest elections? And if we don’t have open and honest elections, control of our borders, and equality before the law, then we don’t have the conditions for politics or free government.

And here’s the thing. It is not at all clear to me that many of America’s conservative politicians understand the seriousness of all this. You can see it in the fact that they go around trying to scare people with the specter of a “radical socialist agenda.” For well over a year now, we have been living in a world in which it’s accepted as normal that the state has essentially unlimited power—and in which our freedom to decide for ourselves has been diminished almost to invisibility. Why do these conservative politicians think the words “radical socialist agenda” still scare anyone in a time when the state can tell us whether we can have Aunt Mabel over for Christmas? They are completely out of touch.

Over the same period as the pandemic lockdowns, we have seen an escalation of so-called wokeness. And if you look at one of the most startling manifestations of this, transgender fanaticism—which involves, after all, the abolition of biological sex and, I’m sorry to have to say it, the physical mutilation of children—one notices that America is farther down this road than any other country in the Western world. In other words, at this moment of crisis for Western Civilization, or for what we used to call Christendom, the leading country of the free world is pulling the wrong way.

Think of it. Your daughter has been training since she was a little girl to run in school sports. Now at 17, she’s in the state high school track championships, and you are forbidden even to notice that she’s competing against a woman who is 6’2” with thighs like tugboats, a great touch of five o’clock shadow on her face, and the most muscular bosom you’ve ever seen. You’re not supposed to notice the craziness of this, and the craziness is at its craziest right here in America.

We traditionally think of France as being a bit screwy, but today there are French intellectuals who regard themselves as hardcore leftists and yet who think America has gone bonkers on this transgender issue. President Macron himself has said that American wokeness is an existential threat to the French Republic, and he even found bureaucrats in France’s education bureaucracy who agreed. There is not a single bureaucrat in the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., who would agree, but there are apparently a few in Paris.

If you look further east in Europe to the lands that were once behind the Iron Curtain—to Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic, which still function as conventional nation-states calculating their best interests—you find tremendous fear of the threat of wokeness that is being exported, sometimes aggressively, from America. So it is here in the U.S. where we have to put the stake through these ideas.

But again, even most of our conservative leaders and institutions seem oblivious. School districts in America are talking about revising their curricula to cover transgender issues from grade school on. Now, I went to an English boys’ school, and we were expected to pick up sexuality on our own time. In those days people would have looked puzzled if you had said, “We’re going to have to cancel geography or Latin, because we need to put gay studies in there.” These days, instead of going off behind the bike shed during recess to learn about sex, kids need to sneak behind the bike shed to do a little bit of closeted geography or closeted Latin. It’s completely backwards. And yet what do we hear from most conservative politicians? That it would be nice to offer people a tax cut!

We are way beyond tax cuts. We’re broke. We’re just a smidgen away from $30 trillion in federal debt—something with no historical precedent. Talking about tax cuts today is like talking about VAT tax refunds on the Titanic. It’s not actually what’s necessary at the moment.

Another big issue that should take our minds off tax cuts is China. I can’t get over the way we in the U.S. have been ordered by our governors and the CDC to punish ourselves by living small, shrunken lives, while the people in China who loosed this pandemic on the world have paid no price for it.

Dr. Fauci has been a federal government bureaucrat since 1968. He’s the J. Edgar Hoover of public health. He talks about the COVID virus as if we’re at war. But he seems to think a country wins a war by taking it out on its own population rather than the enemy, which is what we’ve done.

Which do you think was the only major economy to grow in 2020? It’s not a hard question. America’s economy shrank 3.5 percent last year. The economies of Germany and Japan shrank almost five percent. France’s, Italy’s, and India’s economies all shrank over eight percent, and the economy of the United Kingdom was down ten percent. China’s economy, on the other hand, grew 2.3 percent in 2020, and first quarter growth for 2021 in China set a new world record—it was up over 18.3 percent. The COVID pandemic has been hugely profitable for China.

U.S. policy towards China since the 1990s represents perhaps the biggest strategic miscalculation by any great power in human history. Just as communism was wobbling and beginning to fall everywhere else, we helped Beijing come up with the first economically viable form of communism.

At first we were told it was only our manufacturing that we would ship to China. After all, we were told, it wasn’t economically viable for Americans to make widgets. Remember the talk in the ’90s? We were going to be the “knowledge economy.” All the clever people told us this. We weren’t going to have mills and factories, but we were going to be the knowledge economy. Well, in case you haven’t noticed, China’s got the entire knowledge economy for itself now. It makes our laptops and our smartphones and it’s out front with Huawei and 5G. It also makes the batteries that power our gizmos and the chips that run our cars. When COVID struck, we found out fast that the Chinese not only make our viruses, they also make the personal protective equipment that protects us against the viruses—and all of our medicines to boot! Those wily Chinese get you both coming and going.

China is now the number one global power. You can define this militarily, where it now has the largest surface fleet on the planet. You can define it economically. But the way I define it is to look at who gets its way in the world. New Zealand has just effectively pulled out of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing arrangement—an arrangement between the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, the oldest such arrangement on the planet. New Zealand has pulled out with respect to China because it doesn’t want to offend China. I would think Canada might be the next to go. Or look at the World Health Organization. America pays for it, but Chairman Xi in Beijing calls the shots. China gets its way now, and the U.S. doesn’t.

We need politicians with a sense of urgency about these problems, but all they seem to have is urgency about things that aren’t urgent. Look at climate change. People say we need to take action over climate change or else rising sea levels are going to overwhelm the Maldives in the Indian Ocean in the 22nd century. That’s the century after this one, which is still quite young. These same people say about the immediate crisis on the southern border that it’s “a natural phenomenon beyond the control of politicians.” But changing the weather in order to lower the sea levels that will threaten the Maldives in the Indian Ocean in the next century is within the power of politicians? In general, our leaders are urgent about nothing that matters and not in the least bit urgent about things that matter very much.

The things our news media talks about incessantly, whether it’s transgender bathrooms or Confederate statues being toppled or the totally dishonest national conversation on race—nothing like this is heard in China as it goes along steadily strengthening its position as the world’s leading power. The Chinese don’t find themselves stuck in these sterile, drain-circling, dishonest public conversations about identity politics. These conversations are a waste of time. And one thing we should demand of our politicians is that they talk about things that aren’t a waste of time.

At the root of our problems is that we have seen the emergence of a true ruling class, like Grand Dukes in medieval Europe. Its members intermarry. They send their kids to the same schools. They circulate back and forth between government and the private sector. And over time it has become increasingly easy to identify members of this class.

John Kerry gave a commencement address a couple of years ago in which he told the students, “You are going to be the first generation to live in a borderless world.” And for the elite, the idea of a borderless world rings true. A typical member of the ruling class will get a job with a firm like Goldman Sachs, work for a couple of years in Hong Kong, then move on for a couple of years in Geneva, and then maybe come back to America. What are borders to such a person? Meanwhile, for the common American, COVID has literally ended, to a large degree, any freedom of movement. They live in the farthest thing from a borderless world. Oftentimes they’re trapped in a town that is dying because of the open-border, cheap-labor policies advocated by people like John Kerry.

Our political division in America today is a class division, and we need to expose it as such whenever we see it. The ruling class tries to keep racial and other forms of division stirred up in our politics so that we don’t notice the class protection racket they are running. Look at that guy from Twitter, Jack Dorsey, who wears a beard like he’s playing the hobo in a Charlie Chaplin silent film. I wouldn’t mind betting that when he’s called to testify in Congress, he has his valet hook on the beard and lower him into the clothes that make him look like he’s been sleeping in a dumpster. Then at night after the cameras are off he’s like Lord Grantham in Downton Abbey, spending an hour being dressed for dinner. Our elites have become incredibly good at theater.

Getting back to the southern border, it perfectly symbolizes the bifurcation of our society. We’re told there’s a health emergency. We’re told we can’t open our businesses or attend weddings or funerals. Yet at the same time, every day, thousands of people pour across the southern border, test positive for COVID, and are then driven to a nice hotel and put up there at taxpayers’ expense.

It’s also interesting to compare the southern border with the northern. Prior to the pandemic, when the border with Canada was open, my kids had their Kinder Eggs confiscated by the Department of Homeland Security when we would cross the border going south into Vermont. Kinder Eggs are chocolate eggs with a kid’s toy inside. They are sold in Canada, but they are banned in the U.S. because the Food and Drug Administration calls the toy a “non-nutritive embed”—and that’s good enough to send Homeland Security agents swinging into action! There is always a big crackdown before Easter on Kinder Eggs. So at the northern border there are lots of things, down to Kinder Eggs, that are illegal. But at the southern border you can come in with pretty much anything you want, including COVID. Why is that? It is because some groups serve the needs of the ruling class and others don’t. License is extended to the former and not the latter.

People ask me, “Why are you going on about Kinder Eggs? They’re not important. It’s more important that so-and-so is up two points in Iowa and three points in New Hampshire. That could be a real game changer.” To which I answer no, that’s not how it works. If they take the small freedoms away from you, whether it’s the freedom to eat Kinder Eggs or to enjoy a high pressure shower, you will lose all the larger freedoms, which is the world we’re in now.

I used to get occasional pushback when I’d talk about rights. “Rights are abstract things,” people would say—“they don’t have anything to do with our real lives.” Well, after the last year, we know they have everything to do with our real lives. When you’re told you can’t open your hair salon, when you’re told you can’t have family or friends over for dinner, when you’re told you must wear a mask in your own garden, there’s nothing abstract about it. This is where all the stupid Kinder Egg laws have been trending for years. And it’s why we need to push back.

I made a little joke earlier about studying transgenderism in grade school, but it’s not a laughing matter. Education is the biggest structural defect in our society. We have an almost entirely corrupt and abusive education establishment. And in one corner of Governor Whitmer’s Michigan, of all places, Hillsdale College stands against this. Hillsdale’s literature, I’ve noted through the years, talks a lot about the College’s 177 years of being rooted in the soil of Michigan. And this reminds me of the fact that if you do not have roots, you are not a functioning society. You can’t just be flotsam and jetsam, bobbing around on the currents of the age, wheresoever they tend. If you do that, you’re cut off from your roots.

This is what’s so frightening about the trends in education today. Cromwell told his portrait painter, “Paint me, warts and all.” That’s not what is happening in America, where the trend in education is to paint only America’s warts. So even the great Kate Smith, who sang “God Bless America” for years, is having her statue taken down because she made a racially insensitive record in 1931. Well you know who really had a racially insensitive record in 1931? The Democratic Party. But unlike Kate Smith’s statue, it’s still around.

President Macron of France is not my favorite chap—he’s a sinister globalist for one thing. But he made an admirable stand when he announced that not one French statue would be taken down and not a single French street name would be changed, because they are all part of French history. And “Bingo!” as Peter Navarro likes to say, the statue toppling and street-name changing in France went away. Why can’t American conservatives show that kind of strength? The Senate Minority Leader says he personally would not be bothered if the historical names of U.S. military bases are changed. The editor of National Review says that he wouldn’t be bothered about taking down Confederate statues. But of course it doesn’t stop there—now they’re going for all the statues. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, McKinley, and on and on. The point conservatives need to grasp is, unless you’re prepared to surrender everything, don’t surrender anything.

I’ll end by pointing out that the Left wins because it seizes language. Take the policy of letting people vote who are not U.S. citizens and shouldn’t be voting. The Left calls this policy “counting every vote.” Therefore someone who wants to make sure voters are citizens is opposed to “counting every vote.” If we don’t take back the language, we will lose the truth. Even on FOX News, I have noticed, news anchors now talk about “gender assigned at birth,” as if that’s something different from one’s biological sex. There may be 57 genders, but there are only two biological sexes.

Don’t surrender the language. Reclaim the language. It’s the first step to recovering our civilization.

Gross right? No, not so fast. I'll relate my experiences in making my own calcium supplements. Now, I've written about how to make one's own vitamin C powder too, in a previous post and this post is in the same vein. Whenever I crack open my eggs, I put them back into the carton for safe keeping. Once all the eggs are gone, the eggshells should be boiled for at least five minutes. The boiling process is for killing any potential pathogens that undoubtedly inhabit the shells and carton. The next step, is to dry the shells in an oven at temperatures between 150 degrees and 200 degrees, until they are dry. They can be left in the oven until they cool. Once cooled the can be ground to a fine powder using a coffee grinder or similar device and placed in a suitable jar.

Now, eggshells, ground up or not aren't the most appetizing or pleasant substance to eat. It's a little disturbing, unless, one is determined. However, if one purchases empty capsule shells then they can be filled with your powered calcium supplements and then they can be swallowed, which will make the experience much less terrifying. Using a mini scale to measure dosage would work nicely too but could be optional, although, recommended for accuracy. The recommended daily allowance for calcium varies with age and gender. So those interested should look it up. However, I think that a dosage of 500-1200mg daily should suffice for most people.

Despite Having Four Working Routers, My Next Project Is Building A Router Using A Raspberry Pi 3B+, A Managed Smart Switch and OpenWRT.

Well I have. The hard part I think is over I have already installed OpenWRT on the Pi, configured it somewhat and updated opkg. I have all the pieces and now I'll have to decide how to assemble them. I had originally, thought of setting up the new router by adding an USB Ethernet dongle but from what I've read, setting up VLAN's on a switch would work more reliably. I'm new to the process so I don't know everything yet. However, that's the purpose of this exercise, to learn. I have learned much. I think learning is when one's own misconceptions and misunderstandings are replaced by facts, logic and reason. I've gained much of that, I think. I think that's all for now, until I have a working model that can be translated into words. Any comments may be made at agentcasey@hubzilla.eskimo.com or agent@fosstodon.org in the fediverse. Keep in touch and I'll keep us updated. It's been hard finding interesting things to write about but I think I'm starting to find the right path.

Nothing lasts forever and all good things must come to an end. I don't know the reason why but the instance, of pl.skyn3t.in that was my outlet for these past few months have gone. I know not where. However, I do have other instances, where I'll be posting from, including, one of my favorites at, draco-novem@hubzilla.eskimo.com, so if any of my followers or people that I follow receive contact request from that address, be so kind to respond in kind. Thank you.

Building A Debian Style Kernel For Your Raspberry Pi. 03-29-2021

I'm sure this is mere child's play for many people, however, even though I've hacked my way building kernels for the Raspberry Pi, I've finally found out where the kernel's repositories lie. It's always the same with ARM devices, one size does not fit all and all kernels built for these remarkable devices, must be tailor made. Even though I've had a bit of luck building kernels for the pine phone, I decided to risk making an unnecessary kernel build for my Raspberry Pi 4b, 8GB. I used the same commands that I used for the pine phone, with some important differences. In the past, I would go into these endeavors blindly and with crossed fingers and it was usually hit or miss.

Only with the ARM kernels, mind you, as I've said there just isn't any homogenized way to build kernels for the varied ARM processors out in the wild. Frankly, I was damn happy and surprised to see it boot up. I'm actually running real Debian on my Raspberry Pi, I mention this only, because when this new custom kernel that I built, kernel 5.10.25, booted up, there were a host of raspberries, at the top of the screen during the kernel boot process. Yes, just like how it does with Raspbian and Raspberry OS. It was really gratifying to see that I had done the configuration and compilation correctly and that it booted with no issues.

There are unofficial Debian images for the Raspberry Pi, which I'll post the links to. I think that the Raspberry Pi and the pinephone make a very lovely couple. They're both very compact and in their current configurations very powerful indeed. Admittedly, there are phones with bigger more powerful CPU's, GPU's and RAM that dwarf both the Pi and the phone but the two Linux machines are running native Linux at lightening speeds without all the bloat of Android and Android Apps. I'll argue that both the Pi and the pinephone are ultimately more useful devices than any Android phone.

Now I don't want to confuse anyone into thing that the kernel compilation for the pine phone and the Raspberry Pi are identical because they are not. The pinephone uses an Allwinner Chip and the Pi uses a Broadcom. The procedure is similar with the obvious variance when one views the commands. For simplicity's sake, I'll refer to the Pine Phone as PP from this point forth.

The commands to configure, customize and compile the kernel for the PP can be found here

The procedure to build a Raspberry Pi kernel is similar and the instructions to build a suitable kernel for your particular Raspberry Pi version is here Although, if you're planning on using dpkg to install that kernel then one might wish to modify the compilation stage somewhat by including the bindeb-pkg. Please note, that the kernel compilation stage of both the PP and the Pi can be identical in this case. In my case I did something exactly like this: ARCH=arm64 CROSSCOMPILE=aarch64-linux-gnu- make -j4 bindeb-pkg KERNELRELEASE=“5.10.25” KDEBPKGVERSION=“25” NB: that my writefreely blog, for some odd reason refuses to render CROSS_COMPILE with the separation hash, it shows up fine while I edit but joins the two Words making it look like CROSSCOMPILE so that's why I used two of them to illustrate my point. I think I've found a bug. In any case dismiss just one of those hashes and it'll be fine. Thanks. ARCH=arm64 CROSSCOMPILE=aarch64-linux-gnu- make pine64_defconfig

Harry Potter Musings

I've found my self reading and re-reading the Harry Potter novels again and again. Lately, I've found them soothing. I even have the audio books. It seems as if, I will never tire of them. I have insomniac tendencies and I find reading the books will eventually just knock me out. Well, I suppose any good book will do that though but it doesn't take long for the potter books to cast their sleeping spells. There are a few things one does notice, however, when reading the same books multiple times weekly and monthly. One thing I do notice is that Harry Potter has a temper, he's modest, brave and a little whiny at times but for a mistreated orphan, very level headed. It must be in his genes. Why do I keep reading the Potter books so much and even looping the process? One can only speculate, I think. It seems as if, especially in the USA, where I'm convinced that t here were illegal election activities, that went on, last November, that, The Dark Lord and his Death Eaters, are alive and well living in New York and every other democrat town, from sea to shining sea.

Well, it's a working theory, at least. One thing, that I've noticed and I'm sure I'll soon find more examples, is how ignorant the wizards of the United Kingdom are about their muggle neighbors. We're supposed to believe that the wizard world are totally oblivious to what bus stops are? Remember? In the Chamber of secrets, when everyone was in Diagon Alley, getting ready to go back to Hogwarts, and Mr. Malfoy and Mr. Weasley had a fight, Mr. Weasley wanted to inquire, from the Grangers on how bus stops worked. Was J.K. high that day? Doesn't the magical folks have a night bus? How do those stops work? I mean the emphasis on how little the wizards know about their mortal counterparts is a silly, overplayed oddity. Wizards who can use a wand touching their throats to magnify their voices, have no concept of a telephone? haven't they ever noticed those little outhouse sized buildings called phone booths, located all over the city? Also wizards must have excellent teeth as well, because it seems as if they've never heard of dentists either. They're so isolated, that even muggle money is foreign to them I think that a better story would show witches and wizards who are consciously aware of their surroundings and not some semi-isolated ignoramuses. Also, the same wizards who claim not to know what a telephone is, have radios, how does that work? They can envision communicating via wireless but landlines and mobile cellular is beyond the scope of magic? I distinctly remember reading that they teach muggle studies at Hogwarts, surely they must teach about telephones, bus stops, money, the internal combustion engine and ball point pens, in those classes. I mean if the muggles and the weirdos are so different, one wonders if, indeed, the members of the wizard world, procreate like the rest of us, or perhaps they just bypass all that fuss and just do it with the wave of a wand. It's simply, a preposterous notion. I'm sure I'll find more holes in the tapestry.

Oh and don't get me started on the Potter movies. It's as if the producers, directors and writers are convinced that the audience are total morons and that we love soup sandwiches. The movies, I admit may have some appeal to fans of the series but I'm sure it must be fleeting, because it is clear that the Harry Potter movies are made for people who haven't read the books and probably will never do so. It says a lot about the limitations of Hollywood, they are totally inept at telling stories. J.K. Rowling's, on the other hand, she seems to know how to spin a tale. The audio books, read by Stephen Fry are so much more superior to their motion picture counterparts. I understand that there are two versions of the audio books and I'm not sure one has a choice. For it seems that the audio books sold in the US is read by an American reader. I'd like to hear that version just to confirm that whomever the publishers paid to read them, in comparison to Fry, will be utterly lacking. I'm sure that I haven't covered everything and I wouldn't be surprised if this topic is broached again. Therefore, until then, I wish you all Adieu.

Making Your Own Vitamin C

Sun 21 Mar 2021 06:50:39 AM EDT

One would be surprised what one can do with a coffee bean grinder. They are very useful items that no home should be without. One thing that I use those little grinders for, is making my own vitamin C powder. Has anyone bought citrus products lately? If you have, then I don't have to remind you of how expensive they are. Four little limes cost $2.00 and four lemons will cost even more. Not to mention the price of oranges and grapefruits. Well, I never scrimp on my citrus, however, I do have fun peeling them and saving the peels. I usually peel them, and hang the peels out to dry, then I store them in plastic bags and let them dry even more.

It isn't hard to accumulate many peels and eventually I'll turn my oven on and set the thermostat to about 150 degrees, then I'll add my citrus peels and leave them there for an hour or so. After the hour is done, I turn off the heat and leave them in there still longer. At my leisure, when the peels are now dry and hard, I break them apart, so as to fit them into my grinder and then I grind them up. Using a funnel, I pour the powder into an empty vitamin D bottle that I always have laying around. I love my vitamin D supplements too, for those days when there is no sun to exploit. I digress. Anyway, how one uses the vitamin D powder is something of a personal preference. It can added to beverages, eaten, just so or put in smoothies. I like eating it whole and enjoy how my teeth and gums react to the infusion.

Now I know, many people like to preface this method of self sufficiency, by imploring the use of only organically raised fruits. I disagree, as is my right, as my thinking is if there were indeed pesticides used on the peels, they failed to kill the pests and will surely do the same for me. Also, how persistent are those pesky pesticides anyway? I'll just take my chances, we all are going to die soonanyhow. I think the benefits out way any perceived harmful effects.

I hope you found this humble offering useful and until next time, adieu.

Hello. In the eventuality that anyone does read anything on this site, besides me, I may be working on my Gopher hole and or my Gemini capsule. Their respective addresses are: gopher://mstdn.design and gemini://mstdn.design. I will try to post whatever I post on those sites here as well. I'm immensely happy working with gopher and gemini. They're both very useful and powerful protocols and should not be looked down at.

I still browse the web and engage actively, however, when I do, I use my favorite web browser, namely, Lynx. Lynx is a text based web browser, which, if I had my way, would be the only browser I'd ever need. I wish it were possible to browse all web pages using it. Text based computing is so much more efficient, fast and satisfying. Anyhow, please consider visiting my other sites while you're at it and I'll endeavor to have more content on this site soon. Thank you.

gopher://mstdn.design gemini://mstdn.design and here too

When the image file is made, it is going to use the entire drive to create one large image the size of the entire disk regardless of free or used space. In this tutorial, I hope to give insights on how to resize the image safely, using disk utilities and file system tools. In this example the gparted utility will be used.

If we want to modify partitions and file systems in our disk image file, we will need to mount the image as a so-called loop device in Linux. Not only will we need to mount the image as a loop device, but we also need to make sure that our loop device will auto create additional device entries for the partitions detected on our image. On Ubuntu, this function is baked into the Linux kernel, and this functionality can be enabled in the following way:

  • edit /etc/default/grub

Add the following:

  • maxloop=64 As last parameter on the following line: GRUBCMDLINELINUXDEFAULT=“” * Now execute to activate: with update-grub2 * Now reboot your station and verify if the loop devices are available with: ls /dev/loop* * sudo losetup -Pf mypinephone.img

Of course this is all predicated on the fact that one, does, in fact, have grub on one's system. I one doesn't, this step can be bypassed. For instance, Raspberry Pi's don't usually have grub and neither do many ARM based systems. So as I said, this step is not necessary in those circumstances.

You can list the partition table of an image file with the following command:

  • fdisk -l mypinephone.img * It should look something like this:

Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type

/dev/mmcblk2p1 * 16384 1048575 1032192 504M 83 Linux

/dev/mmcblk2p2 1048576 61071326 60022751 28.6G 83 Linux

We gather from the partition table that we have two available partitions in the image file. Before we can make any modification to the partitions or filesystems in our image, we will first need to mount the image as a loop device, which will install the required dev entries to address our partitions with other software as gparted.

To mount the image as a loop device:

The above step, works really well for Debian based systems. For other systems, if the above command does not work, then use this one:

  • sudo losetup —find —show mypinephone.img

This will mount /dev/loop0 as a ‘virtual raw disk’ and it’s containing partitions accordingly as /dev/loop0p1 and /dev/loop0p2

Now that we have set-up our raw imagefile as a loop device, we can run filesystem tools on it. We can use for example gparted to resize the file systems contained in the partitions of our image:

  • gparted /dev/loop0

Do any resize operation that you would like to have for your partitions and apply them, in my case I needed to trim down my image size as small as possible. Now that the resize operations have been done in our raw disk image, we will dump the partitions to a smaller image. First, before we remove our loop device, for the image, as it will interfere with the dump process, take these steps:

  • sudo fdisk /dev/loop0 * It should look something like this:

Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type

mypinephone.img1 * 16384 1048575 1032192 504M 83 Linux

mypinephone.img2 1048576 15298559 14249984 6.8G 83 Linux

The key figure to note is the ending value of the second partition, in this case /dev/mypinphone.img2, which turns out to be 15298559, thats going to be our key to having a viable image to flash to our pine phone. Now our original image, created by dd was 30GB the size of our entire SD card, that just wont do. So now with the aid of gparted we've just shrunk our image from 30GB to around 7GB. Now this is an image of our pine phone with all our latest modifications and improvements and we do not want to have to start over. Flashing this image will actually put us right where we were, and right where we belong. Now that we have our number of blocks to dump, ie 15298559, we can safely, unmount our loop devices, by doing this:

  • sudo losetup -d /dev/loop0

Now list our partition table so we have an idea what to dump:

In our partition table we can see that our blocks are 512 bytes long, and we have a total number of 15298559 blocks to dump … doing the actual dump is done with dd which just reads raw blocks of data and dumps them somewhere.

  • dd bs=512 count=15298559 if=my-big-pinephone.img of=my-resized-pinephone.img

  • bs = the block size to read

  • count = the amount of blocks to dump

  • if = input file to read from

  • of = output file to write to

It's a little scary and intimidating the first time that you read this but you may want to do some safe practice exercises and think about what needs to be done. However, once you read, and re-read this document it will become clearer and you'll find your way. I'd like to acknowledge the original progenitor of this method by linking to his post. Thanks to all of you.

Many concepts for this post, was copied from this article written by Ronny Van den Broeck. Thanks Ronny.

03/11/2021

I had planned on building a new, customized kernel for my pine64 Pine Phone because, the kernel that came with the Mobian OS that I'm running, didn't have the more primitive mouse drivers installed. When I say primitive mouse drivers, I mean the drivers that allow one to use one's mouse in the console to do basic copying and pasting. Copying and pasting in the console is essential, because without it one will be doing copious amounts of typing, instead.

I started by downloading the kernel sources for the Pine Phone, from the phone itself. My was to copy the contents of the SD card and run it in a chroot and build the kernel within that environment. I had a few setbacks doing that so I decided to build the pine phone's kernel on my Raspberry Pi 4B. First, if this was going to work I had to make sure that both machines were binary compatible, meaning that if I compiled a program on my Pi, would it run on the pine phone with little or no fuss. Turns out They're very compatible, which gave me the confidence to attempt this. Since I use Debian and the pine phone is running Mobian which is essentially, Debian too, after I configured the kernel, instead of issuing the make command, I used the make bindeb-pkg option, which will basically, build me a Debian kernel complete with the .deb extension and should easily install on the phone, using the package manager apt or in this case dpkg. As I'm writing this, the kernel is being built. It will probably last an hour or two since I'm actually building it on a Raspberry Pi and those CPU's aren't the most powerful or the most fast. However, The kernel build process isn't placing any stress on the system. So far only 1.32G out of 8G is being used and there isn't any evidence that the system is being taxed in any way. The temperature is a little high though, around 41.381 °C/106.485 °F, totally acceptable, in my estimation.

The real test will be if the kernel is any good, that's the ultimate, desired goal. We never give up, so if there are any obstacles we'll do some more reading and eventually, progress will be made. However, I'm hopeful that this may actually work and I'll post the results right here as they progress.

Well I had a few kernel errors, so I had to alter the kernel configuration file and restart the build process. I have no doubt that further interruptions will occur. One thing is for certain, I must create newer chroot environments on my faster computers and build the kernels there, because the build process, on the Raspberry Pi, though mild on resources and hardly noticeable, takes quite a while even with 8G of RAM. I think I know why though. It seems that the kernels in the Pine Phones are all built with debugging information included, which will ultimately make for larger kernels and larger kernels take a longer time to build. Well now, a bit of good news now, I've successfully built the kernel and after I take a walk to the grocer and a little extra for exercise, I'll come back and see if this kernel will actually work. I'll make sure that the old kernel is all backed up just in case. Wish me luck. Wow, that kernel was three-quarters of Gigabyte, well unless I'm mad, it's 778M, no wonder it took four hours to build. However, my build included two kernel image files one weighing in at 778M the other at 47M, kernel headers and another named, linux-libc-dev5.10.13-rt24-1arm64.deb. The command I used was, make bindeb-pkg, if I had used make deb-pkg there would be a sources file reflecting the sources that I used to build this particular kernel. I'm going to install the smaller kernel image file, for obvious reasons, I'll let the developers install the big one. However before I install it I'm going to take it apart and look at the configuration file to make sure that the drivers I want, are included.

How does one take a .deb file apart you ask? Well it's simple, what I do is, this, I place the file in a directory that I call foo and within foo, I execute the command ar -x and split the .deb file into all it's components which are usually other compressed files, usually decompressed by using the tar command. Go ahead, try it, if you like. Especially if you're a Debian user, or any derivative, if this is your first time hearing or reading this try it for yourself. You may or may not wish to read the man pages or the ar command but it's not really necessary in this case. Just put your .deb file into an empty directory and issue the command ar -x whateverdebfile.deb and see what happens. There should be three new files plus your original .deb file in the directory now. One called control.tar.xz, data.tar.xz, debian-binary and your source .deb file.

Well my Pine Phone hated that kernel and it would not boot. I just realized that I could have saved myself loads of time by installing the headers for the kernel already installed and compile the modules for them there. It's been a long time, maybe two years ago, since I did this sort of thing on a regular basis and I have so much useless information in my head that I can't remember them all. Okay I'll attempt to recover this machine and find another way to get this pine phone, this computer, to bend to my will. So far so good, I'm not sure what went wrong with the kernel build if anything, I'm puzzled as to why the kernel was rejected by the device. Perhaps I need to go to the Mobian project page and see if they have their own tool kit for building kernels. Anyhow, we're up and running again, like it never happened. I'll just apt remove that failed kernel and go to plan B, which is download the headers and build the mouse modules I need. My memory is a little fuzzy on how I've done this in the past but I'll fail a few times before I get it right.

March 09, 2021

I've reconsidered, for the moment, if this next method fails, then I'll go back to plan B. If plan B is still the same, what plan nomenclature is this? I think I'll call this plan plan A one. Plan A one, is the native building of the kernel on the Pine Phone itself. Yes, I know it's mad but how is one to learn if one never does things worthy of learning? I don't expect it to work but what exactly do I have to lose? I'm going to do that next and if I fail, I'll document it and then I'll make the missing modules using the kernel headers located in /usr/src. Well I've done it and it's just begun. I've commenced the building of the Pine Phone kernel, on the phone itself, not many resources are being use which is a good thing, although, I'm afraid this could take several hours. However, I've used the kernel configuration file of the smaller kernel so I suspect it will not take as long as the last kernel I made earlier.

Another failure I'm afraid. There must be a special tool kit that the developers use to build kernels for Pine Phones and I need to seek it out. It took almost 24 hours to build those kernels on the Pine Phone, totally, unacceptable. I guess it's plan B then. Plan B is building the mouse modules using the kernel headers. First I'll have to refresh my memory on how that's done. I swear, I've forgotten so many things, that it's a good thing, I've started writing down, much of what I do now. Luckily all I have to do is take out the SD card and make some edits. Pretty much what I did yesterday. I knew, that I could have tried a quicker solution, namely plan B, however, I had to see if a natively built kernel would work. Now, I have my answer and I no longer have to guess. Well off I go then, I'll keep this page well documented and let my progress be known.

March 11, 2021

Finally, it's a success. All the methods I used were absolute failures, so I announced an appeal on the fediverse asking anyone who knew the correct procedure to compile pine-phone kernels to drop me a clue and someone actually did. Mobian, @mobian@fosstodon.org, gave me a most valuable resource via a link to where the repository for the Pine Phone kernels we being held captive. There were even some great instructions on how to get on. The entire kernel build too about twenty minutes, unbelievable. Especially since my methods were taking up the better part of this week, I am elated at the progress and success that occurs when all the tools are on hand. I'm a firm believer, that if I have the correct tools, I can get any job done. Anyway, I don't see why I should keep the knowledge that @mobian gave me, to my self here is the link to the Pine Phone's kernel sources right here. This is why I love using free and open source software, because once I have a clear instruction set and the right tools I can customize my computing environment. So, now sadly this seems to be the end of this specific topic on Pine Phones, since we have successfully completed our tasks. I'm sure there will be other things which I'd like to improve about my Pine Phone experience and I'll gladly document those events when they arise. Thanks for all those who helped making this happen and thanks for all who took time out of their busy schedules to read my rantings. The End.