How to use Builder to create a Node

This page is intended to formalize how to use the current Builder scripts in the PTP subversion repository.

To build a Captive Portal Personal Telco Branded router on a computer with two ethernet cards and subversion installed on the computer used to run

The current state of builder is a working proof of concept. In the future all of the fuctionality of these process will be part of Adhocracy.

Step One (Prepare the Hardware)

For a matter of maintaining support and stability in a rational way we have choosen to use Debian Woody (Stable) as the Linux distribution to build upon. These scripts expect to find a computer that has a minimal debian install, two ethernet cards, and a connection to the Internet.

partition the hard disk

Currently the most common hard drive size that we have been using is a 2G drive. This is the chosen partition layout. You can make a custom partition layout but must reconfigure grub after builder finishes. For SCSI disks or custom / (root) or /boot partitions, please referance the grub install section of builder or for further information on grub see the grub manual. [] )

as these do not appear as selections when partitioning.

install Debian Woody

1. Perform a minimal stable install easily accomplished with a Debian Stable r3 or r2 netinst disk.

  1. Install with a 2.4 kernel
    • boot: bf24

Do not run tasksel

Do not run dselect

2. Installation will Reboot to finish installation

  1. Upon Reboot
    • only create the root user
    • tell the mail subsystem to do nothing
    • enable all choices for encrypting passwords (Shadow File and MD5 Encryption)
    • answer the default for most other questions (More detail later)

Do not run tasksel

Do not run dselect

Step Two (Create Nodedb Entry)

1. Go to

2. Create an entry in nodedb which contains the details of the node location.

  1. Please use the naming scheme
    • 'Personal Telco - Node Name'
      1. Could this be expanded to Personal Telco - Quadrant - Neighborhood - Node Name ?
        • e.g. Personal Telco - NE - Kerns - Urban Grind
        • Personal Telco - NW - Pearl - Urban Grind

3. Document the Node number which was assigned to the location.

Step Three (Create Configuration Files)

Define Network Address Allocation

1. Go to the wiki page NetworkAddressAllocations

Create files with

1. Create a working directory to run the builder script

2. Get the script from subversion that will do the configuration

3. Prepare the script for execution

4. Run with the -s option

5. Complete the following questions in a way that is applicable to your node location

NOTE: svn is required for this step.

Step Four (Make it all come together)

Obtain and Run builder script

From the command line on the machine that is going to be the captive portal router

1. Install wget

2. Use wget to retreive

3. Make the script executabe

4. Run the script

And now watch it go. When this finishes, reboot the machine. Now you should have a working Personal Telco Captive Portal Machine. This includes all services to provide the network infrastructure at the location. All configuration files are stored and managed in subversion.

ALL IS NOT WELL AT THIS POINT You still have some opportuntities!!!

Note: is currently b0rken (05 January 2005). It tries to download a tarball that doesn't exist: svn-snapshot-YYYYMMDD.tar.bz2. In fact, the only file in that directory is named svn-snapshot.tar.bz2 (no date), and it's humongous. Is this really something we want to download?

Also, if you use the command given below:

you will end up checking out the whole "web" tree, including copies of firefix and other cruft. Is that right? If this is just for the node's DocumentRoot, don't we want:

BR We indeed do check out the whole web tree into /home/web on each nucab. The first command is the correct one. Of course this assumse that you are at / when you issue the command. AaronBaer

/etc/modules Does not contain the identification of the network drivers which were installed during bf24 installation. You must edit this file to include the driver identification. NOTE It appears that one might look at "" as a source of this opportunity as the modules here match what is loaded.

/etc/resolv.conf The nameserver listed/identified does not work and the file must be edited to a working nameserver; HOWEVER even after editing resolv.conf when the system is rebooted, the file reverts to the inoperative nameserver. NOTE It appears that one might look at "" as the source of the inoperable nameserver. BR NOTE This is infact supposed to be using as the nameserver. As bind9 is running locally. If on reboot dns is not working we need to discover why bind isn't producing correct lookups locally. We should not be using external dns nameservers in resolv.conf. AaronBaer BR NOTE Check to make sure that the date of the machine in question is synced to an ntp server. I have had sitations where bind9 has stopped working because the host in question has become so far out of sync with the time that has that it will not resolve hosts. Making sure that ntp is running correctly or using ntpdate to sync time to and restarting bind has worked on many hosts.

A file download/installation is missing. svn co home/web CAUTION: Watch when you try this download--as I had to repartition the disk to get the complete file.

EVEN AT THIS POINT Apache fails to start.

- Did your apache failure come from a host name resolution failure? This happened to me.

More problems from a PTP-supplied Dell Optiplex w/2x NICs: The modules "3c59x" and "eepro100" for the two NICs aren't loaded -- I added

to /etc/init.d/networking. If you are getting "ERROR while getting interface flags: no such device," this may be what you need. Highly recommend that the building scripts go ahead and try to load all reasonably relevant NIC modules, since this is the kind of thing that drives newbies screaming from Debian.


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