heyrick1973 -at- yahoo -dot- co -dot uk

Beagle Linux fail

Remember I said my keyboard was eccentric and I was lucky it worked with RISC OS? Well... Here's how well it works on a Beagle xM with Angstrom Linux. I have highlighted to relevant part:
Keyboard driver fail

Speaking of Beagle Angstrom, it's crap. I say this because I made a fresh image of the v4.25 distribution from CircuitCo and tweaked the uEnv file so it would display on my video grabber. And this is what I keep getting:

Beagle Angstrom Linux SUCKS
This isn't something I have played with and inadvertently broken; this is a fresh install downloaded, un7zipped, and written to SD card. The only modification was to tell the video driver to output PAL to S-video. Since this configuration stuff is "broken", it is not possible to configure the machine.
Don't people test this stuff before it is released? Jeez..

 

Why is my Firefox so slow?

I got fed up of how lethargic my Firefox was acting, so I decided to dump my active tabs to bookmarks and then close them all. BarTab meant that I could have a tab without having its content loaded, but even so it was a drag on the system.

Yeah.
This must be some sort of record...

Many tabs in Firefox

 

Configuring static IP on RISC OS

If you use DHCP to have RISC OS auto-configure itself, things "just work". However if you wish to use static IP and set it all up manually, this is more fiddly. Not because RISC OS is more complicated, but simply because the parts to set up aren't in one neat and tidy place like under Windows.

Symptom:

  • Won't connect, networking appears to be dead.
    Most likely your IP address is incorrect, unconfigured, or something else is wrong in your setup.
  • I can ping stuff by IP address but I can't go to places by name.
    You'll need to set up the resolver to point to an external DNS server.
  • I can enter Google.com and such, but all I keep seeing is "No route to host" or the like.
    You need to set up the gateway address, so RISC OS knows where to direct outbound packets.

Here is a step-by-step explanation of setting up static IP on a RaspberryPi. It's the same for a Beagle, and Pandaboard, and so forth.

The first two things you will need to know:

  1. The IP address of your broadband router. This is most likely 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1.
    The two addresses above are links to those addresses. If you are using a working computer connected to your broadband router, click on them in turn (opens in a new tab/window). Chances are one will fail and one will present you with some sort of login prompt for the router. Remember which worked.
  2. The IP address you wish to assign to the RISC OS machine. The first three digits of the IP address must match the router (i.e. 192.168.1.something). The final digit can be (almost) anything except 0, 255, and a number already in use. I say "almost" in quotes as some routers enforce limits on the available range of addresses, typically allowing addresses between 10 and 60. Pick a number that is less likely to have already been assigned, such as 15 or 24, if in doubt.

In these examples, my router is 192.168.1.1
and my RaspberryPi will be 192.168.1.15.

Part zero - don't be a dummy

The final step of setting up networking requires RISC OS to reboot. Close any open and active files, quit programs that leave files open. Don't be a dummy and lose unsaved data!

Part zero-point-five - don't expect the moon on a stick

RISC OS does not (currently?) support IPv6.
Like a lot of stuff.
For this to work you'll need an IPv4 system.
Given the players in the market have buried their heads in the sand for years and years, and a number of people are a little preturbed by every computer being uniquely addressable on the Internet (as opposed to a local network hiding behind the IP address of the router), it stands to reason that support for IPv6 has been the slowest damn thing ever seen in tech circles. So chances are you'll be plugging RISC OS into an IPv4 system for a while yet...

  • How to tell? Easy!
    Click here to open Google (IPv6) in a new tab/window. If it fails (unable to connect), you don't have IPv6; don't worry about it...yet. The address, incidentally, is http://[2001:4860:0:2001::68]/.
    Click here to open Google (IPv4) in a new tab/window. If it fails (unable to connect), you don't have IPv4 and you probably can't use RISC OS with this setup. The address, incidentally, is http://173.194.67.104/.

Part one - getting to the network configuration

If you can't see the iconbar, move stuff out of the way (or press Shift-F12) so you can see it. The rightmost icon is TaskManager. The actual icon depends upon which version of RISC OS you are running (i.e. an Acorn for old RISC OS, a 3D box thing for RISC OS 4/Select, a blue blob for RISC OS 5 on the Iyonix and maybe the Beagleboard, a Raspberry on the RaspberryPi...). Click the middle mouse button over the rightmost icon to call up the menu.
TaskManager menu

There should be an option named "Configure...". Click the left mouse button on this option.

  • If you don't have a 'Configure' option (old versions of RISC OS...), you can access the system configuration by opening the root directory of your boot drive and running the !Boot directory. If you are not sure what that means, do this:
       Press: F12
       Enter: Filer_Run $.!Boot
       Press: Enter twice.
A window with lots of configuration options will open:
RISC OS system configuration
What you actually see will depend upon your version of RISC OS.

You are looking for the "Network" entry. Under older versions of RISC OS, it looked like a yellow/red/blue map of London with a spanner superimposed; while RISC OS 4/Select went for a jigsaw pieces motif. In any case, it should say "Network" below the icon. Click on it. [note: if I don't specify, you click once with the left mouse button]

The Network configuration window will appear:

Network configuration

Under RISC OS 5, there are little green indicators to show which parts of the networking are active. If either AUN or Access are lit up, click on the icon and when the setup window for that component appears, click on the "Enable" tickbox to make it unticked. Then click on the 'Set' button.
This shouldn't be necessary for the default is for these to not be enabled.

  • For older versions of RISC OS - you will need to check each in turn. Ensure neither is enabled.
  • AUN is "Acorn Universal Networking" which was a way of putting Econet (as in '80s BBC Micro) on to a TCP/IP LAN. Unfortunately it uses a horribly non-standard addressing protocol so any machine with AUN enabled cannot be connected to a live network.
  • Access is Acorn's peer-to-peer disc/printer sharing with auto-discovery. You could investigate it later, but that's not what we're discussing today. Note that Access is Acorn specific, it isn't SMB or anything known to non-Acorn machines.

Now click on "Internet" and another window will appear:

Internet configuration

If all of these things are grey and cannot be clicked upon, ensure "Enable TCP/IP Protocol Suite" is ticked.

Part two - assigning an IP address

Click on the "Interfaces" icon on the left. After a mo, a window will open:
Interfaces settings
Ensure that the appropriate interface is selected. This will be Slot-something on older machines and USB-something on newer machines (Beagle, Pi, etc).
  • Don't bother selecting "Serial PPP". That may be there because your computer has a serial port and as such could have a modem connected. If that is all you can see, check your network card is properly fitted.

Once you have ticked the interface, click on the "Configure..." button to the right of the interface name.

Yet another window will open. You can see now why this process isn't complicated, just way more fiddly than it ought to be.

Setting IP address

First, tick on the "manually" option in the middle of the window to tell RISC OS that you will be supplying the settings.

Next, enter the desired TCP/IP address for the machine. As I said, I will be using 192.168.1.15; what you use depends upon your system.
You can leave the netmask as "default".

  • Older versions of RISC OS do not have a 'default' option for the netmask. Enter 255.255.255.0.

Once you have done this, click on Set.

Then Close the Interfaces window.

Part three - knowing where to send stuff

It is all good and proper for your machine to have an IP address, but when it comes to communicating with machines, your computer will only be able to talk to those directly connected to the same router and on the same network. Not so useful if you want to yack in a forum.
This is where the concept of a "gateway" comes in. This is a machine tasked with knowing where "the outside world" is and how to sent and receive data from everywhere else. It just so happens that you have such a machine - your ADSL router.
By telling RISC OS that the 'gateway' is your connection to the world, all network communication to non-local systems will be forwarded to this gateway for handling. It is like, if you want to fly someplace you don't just rise into the air, you travel to the airport and go in groups on airplanes.

Back in the "Internet configuration", click on "Routing"...

Internet configuration

A window will appear:

Setting up routing
Enter into the box the address of your ADSL router (here, mine is 192.168.1.1). Do not tick the two options (setting that up is outside of the scope of this document). Click on Set.

Part four - looking up names of stuff

The final part of the possible is instructing RISC OS to use a nameserver. You see, the Internet works on numbers. maps.google.com is 173.194.45.65; this website is 199.231.189.124; Facebook is 31.13.80.7; and Rakuten is 203.190.63.180. But people aren't going to remember stuff like that. We want names. We want to look at bbc.co.uk and not attempt to remember what its IP address is. Furthermore, with virtual servers (HeyRick is one), one host machine can serve dozens or hundreds of websites - the name is what tells them apart.
The first step in all of this is to take the name and turn it into an address. This needs a name server, known as a "DNS Resolver" - that means Domain Name Services Resolver which is a fancy way of saying "the thing that turns twitter.com into an IP address".

Back in the "Internet configuration" again, this time click on "Host names"...

Internet configuration

Yet another window will appear:

Setting the name server

Ensure the "Try name server to" option is ticked. Then, under Primary nameserver enter the address of your ADSL router. Most routers contain a name server. How this works is your computer will ask the router, which will ask the provider. Then when it gets a reply it will remember this so the next time your computer asks, it will know and not need to contact the provider. This means less work for the provider's systems and faster times for you. If the provider is smart, they might even have the router preload a small subset of common domain names (Facebook, eBay, Google, etc) every couple of days so the information is already available in the router.

In any case, we need to tell RISC OS how to access this information, which is the point of this step. Click on Set.

Part five - finishing up

Close the "Internet configuration" window. If the "Interfaces" window is still open, that can be closed too.

In the "Network configuration" window, click on Save:

Saving the configuration

RISC OS will need to restart the machine. It probably shouldn't need to if you are only altering existing TCP/IP settings; but you might have done something with AUN or Access (which modifies a number of things internally); so the configuration tool takes the safest approach and just restarts the computer.

Restart?

Obviously, click on Restart now.

This isn't a big hardship. After all, this is RISC OS. On a RaspberryPi it will have restarted and be back in the Desktop in under thirty seconds.

Part six - using it

All that remains is to load up NetSurf and do stuff!
Websites in RISC OS with NetSurf

 

It's all gone horribly wrong!!!

  • Computer won't boot - you'll probably need to post your message on the RISC OS Open forum with some details. There should be some sort of message on the screen to give an indication of what is wrong.
    Rule out the obvious - check the network card is correctly fitted and that the network is plugged into it.
  • Computer boots, but not correctly - check you selected the right interface and that AUN and Access are not enabled.
  • Network doesn't work - check your IP address is correct. If your router is 192.168.0.x your computer can't be 192.168.1.x. Sometimes you may encounter something with a 10.x.x.x address (rare, but not impossible). In this case, you should match accordingly.
  • Network sort of works, another computer is erratic - you probably have the same IP address on both machines. Change one of them.
  • Can't access websites! - can you enter the IP address of your router into the browser? Like http://192.168.1.1/ or something? Does that work? If so, your DNS settings are incorrect. As a stop-gap, use 8.8.8.8 (that is Google's Public DNS). If that works, you'll need to investigate your router's DNS capabilities and if it doesn't have any, the address of your provider's DNS server. Unless you're happy with Google potentially knowing all the sites you look at, in which case you can leave it at four-eights.
  • I can enter Google and such, but I can't go anywhere - no route to host! - check your gateway is set to point to your ADSL router.
  • It still won't work! Wah! - it is unusual but check your router hasn't been set to block new connections or only allow access at certain times of the day. Check the cable itself is good. If you have a netbook or laptop, plug that in using the cable from the RISC OS machine. If it works, there is possibly something wrong with your settings. If it doesn't work, it isn't RISC OS.
Something else? Ask in the comments below.
Note, however, that this information is for beginners - so questions about complex routing, setting up VPNs, multiple nameservers and Hosts files etc will probably not be answered here. Likewise, pedantic technical corrections of trivia that doesn't change the basis of the above text will also be skipped over.
However, if you followed the instructions above and it still doesn't work - I might be able to help (though I'd still recommend the ROOL forums, people smarter than me hang out there!).

 

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