just a jot

A semi-whenever series of short articles

Wiki on BeagleBone Black

2015-01-03 development

I just picked up a Rev 4 BeagleBone Black from Micro Center for ~$40 with the intent of using it as a wiki server for both my own personal notes and those for my home and family. While the BeagleBone comes with an embedded 4GB chip pre-installed with Debian, I need more space to store my notes, so I also picked up a 16GB micro SD card.

Since the BeagleBone Black (BBB) is more powerful than the Raspberry Pi, I suppose you could use pretty much any wiki software that runs on the ARM architecture with reasonable performance. But, I wrote software specifically for this purpose: a Git-backed Markdown-based wiki in a single executable - Goiki. This is what I’ll be running.

First, I connected the BBB to my network using the supplied RJ45 jack on the board. To power it up, I used the supplied USB cable and connected it to an open USB port on my laptop.

To find the IP address, I logged-in to my router to see what changed on my DHCP server. Ah, there it is! It shows up with a hostname of “beaglebone”. I’ll just use that.

ssh root@beaglebone

There is no password associated with the root account. This will need to change. I used passwd to update the password.

I like to tackle hardware issues first so I then set-up the microSD card to act as storage for my notes. Debian is set-up to auto-mount the micro SD card, so I was able to use df -h to see what loaded.

The filesystem that was set-up on the card wasn’t appropriate for my needs (well, I suppose it was technically, but I wanted to change it anyway). So, I used fdisk to remove the current partitions and re-created one big partition. I then used mkfs.ext4 to make an ext4 filesystem on that partition. Then it was ready to go.

To make sure the partition is always available, a mount-point for the device needed to be set-up. The partition is located at /dev/mmcblk1p1 and I mounted it at /media/microsd (mkdir /media/microsd first). Below is the entry I used in /etc/fstab to set-up the mount point:

/dev/mmcblk1p1      /media/microsd  ext4    defaults    0   2

Now the storage device automatically mounts upon boot-up to /media/microsd. My Goiki data directories were then set-up on the device.

mkdir -p /media/microsd/goikipersonal/data
mkdir -p /media/microsd/goikifamily/data

Install Goiki

Goiki is a Git-based Markdown-powered wiki written in Golang. I wrote it specifically for the purpose of having a simple wiki for low-powered ARM devices such as the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black. Of course it can also run on many other platforms too.

I don’t want to compile the project on the ARM device itself due to unnecessary thrashing of the micro SD card. Instead, I cross-compile the binary from my Mac. Maybe one day I’ll have binaries available for multiple platforms, but since Goiki is in such a beta state (though completely usable), you’ll have to compile it yourself.

A quick primer on cross-compiling Go for ARM on OS X

Read the Go: Getting Started section on the Golang website first. Though, the following might get you there without needing to do that:

brew install go
mkdir ~/go
export GOPATH=~/go
cd ~/go
mkdir -p src/github.com/langhorst
cd src/github.com/langhorst
git clone https://github.com/langhorst/goiki.git
cd goiki
go get

For cross compiling Go projects on OS X for ARM, do the following once:

cd `brew --prefix go`
cd libexec/src
GOOS=linux GOARCH=arm CGO_ENABLED=0 ./make.bash --no-clean

And then to compile Goiki:

cd ~/go/src/github.com/langhorst/goiki
GOOS=linux GOARCH=arm GOARM=7 go build -o goiki.arm

Now copy over the binary:

scp root@beaglebone:goiki.arm

And on the BBB:

mv ~/goiki.arm /usr/local/bin/goiki

Now we can run the goiki executable.

Configure Goiki

Goiki packages its default configuration in the binary and provides a command line option for outputting it to the command line. Capture the output to a configuration file:

`mkdir /etc/goiki`
`goiki -d > /etc/goiki/personal.toml`
`goiki -d > /etc/goiki/family.toml`

The configuration file is self-documenting. Edit with your favorite editor and come back for setting up a daemon.

Setting up a daemon

Since init is available we’ll just use that. I found a terrific init.d script template to make this easy. You’ll just need to change the first couple of lines for your own executable:

# myapp daemon
# chkconfig: 345 20 80
# description: myapp daemon
# processname: myapp


DAEMONOPTS="-my opts"

DESC="My daemon description"

case "$1" in
	printf "%-50s" "Starting $NAME..."
	PID=`$DAEMON $DAEMONOPTS > /dev/null 2>&1 & echo $!`
	#echo "Saving PID" $PID " to " $PIDFILE
        if [ -z $PID ]; then
            printf "%s\n" "Fail"
            echo $PID > $PIDFILE
            printf "%s\n" "Ok"
        printf "%-50s" "Checking $NAME..."
        if [ -f $PIDFILE ]; then
            PID=`cat $PIDFILE`
            if [ -z "`ps axf | grep ${PID} | grep -v grep`" ]; then
                printf "%s\n" "Process dead but pidfile exists"
                echo "Running"
            printf "%s\n" "Service not running"
        printf "%-50s" "Stopping $NAME"
            PID=`cat $PIDFILE`
            cd $DAEMON_PATH
        if [ -f $PIDFILE ]; then
            kill -HUP $PID
            printf "%s\n" "Ok"
            rm -f $PIDFILE
            printf "%s\n" "pidfile not found"

  	$0 stop
  	$0 start

        echo "Usage: $0 {status|start|stop|restart}"
        exit 1

I set one up for each of my wikis: goikipersonal and goikifamily.

chmod +x /etc/init.d/goikipersonal
chmod +x /etc/init.d/goikifamily

An example of how I changed the goikifamily init script:

# goiki daemon
# chkconfig: 345 20 80
# description: goiki family daemon
# processname: goiki



DESC="Goiki wiki for family notes"

Now, start them up!

/etc/init.d/goikipersonal start
/etc/init.d/goikifamily start

You should now be able to hit the box from your favorite webbrowser: beaglebone:[port].