dd-wrt gotchas

dd-wrt is very a powerful firmware compared to ASUS Merlin, but the UI leaves a lot to be desired. It’s very close to editing a config file and there’s little help to what each setting. The developers of dd-wrt didn’t invest time in designing the web administration interface and used the most basic primitive HTML forms so there are no tooltip that explains the features and the interaction between different settings.

There are also some confusing (nonsensical) UI design that are a lot less work to the developer but confused users to no end. Here are the examples I’ve found so far:

  • Enabling remote admin through SSH (for embedded linux command prompt) is a two step process out of the box. You’ll need to first enable SSHd from Services -> Secure Shell before enabling SSH Management from Administration -> Management (otherwise it’s greyed out)
  • The router username (user modifiable) for dd-wrt applies to web UI only. SSH’s username remains root. They share the same password though (so login and password are decoupled in dd-wrt, they are effectively two passwords in practice except they don’t put asterisk over the username as you type). ASUS Merlin firmware’s login is consistent across both web page and SSH
  • Cron jobs is from a bare environment which means you need to manually define the paths and specify the user in the cron job syntax. e.g.
    * * * * * root {command_to_execute}

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Updates to Linux on Pogoplug v4

I have an old Pogoplug v4 series hacked to install Debian Linux based on this instruction long ago: http://blog.qnology.com/2014/07/hacking-pogoplug-v4-series-4-and-mobile.html
which boots on an SD card, which I used as a no-ip update client.

I realized some of the URLs to the package servers are broken. So here’s my notes to update it.

First apt-get doesn’t work anymore because the files has been moved to the archive package server. The solution is to replace all the contents (now obsolete) in /etc/apt/sources.list by this line:

deb http://archive.debian.org/debian wheezy main

Then you update the package manager (apt-get) with this command:

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

Note that it’s still Debian 7 and it will not work with new software that requires later versions

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NextCloud quirks – moving folder breaks the site

I changed the folder of where my NextCloud files is and got this error.

Adding the “.ocdata” dummy file there doesn’t work. The message is cryptic. I tried to run occ at the root folder (hoping it’s some sort of management tool) by running this at the command/SSH prompt:

php ./occ

and it spits out:

Your data directory is invalid
Ensure there is a file called ".ocdata" in the root of the data directory.

An unhandled exception has been thrown:
Exception: Environment not properly prepared. in 
{New Folder}/lib/private/Console/Application.php:168
Stack trace:
#0 {New Folder}/console.php(99): ...

I replaced my actual path for the new location of the NextCloud files with {New Folder}, so you get the idea.

I also noticed the old path was regenerated with just a /data folder with two files

This means some programmer got lazy and hard-coded the path somewhere!

Line 99 of console.php didn’t give too much hint so I looked at the code around for some sort of config-related operations before. Then I noticed this:

So I searched for config.php and found it’s located in /config/config.php. Bingo!

$CONFIG = array (
  'trusted_domains' => 
  array (
    0 => '{Old URL}',
  'datadirectory' => '{Old Path}/data',
  'overwrite.cli.url' => 'https://{Old URL}',

And to my horror the SQL password is stored in plain text in config.php! WTF! I’ll choose a password that’s dedicated to one use and not shared!

I recalled a when I rename WordPress databases, I have to manually edit the changes in wp-config.php. Turns out nobody warned us about that for NextCloud! That config file also contain database settings, so I bet if I change the database names or database usernames, I’ll have to come back and edit it manually too.

The site is working after I made the migration changes, all in /config/config.php.

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