BrewPi Remix FAQ

  • What about some other scenario, when will you test that?” – Maybe never. This is not a commercial venture; chances are once I’m “done enough” making it work on the target system, I’ll be done for good. The original/current BrewPi is a far more capable system, with a wider adoption base, and excellent support. That’s probably a better choice for you if you want to venture from this path I’ve created for you.
  • Do you plan to create/implement/merge {insert cool idea here} functionality?” – No I do not. I’m not a software developer by trade, and this is not a commercial venture so there’s probably little reason to implement something I’ll never use. To be embarrassingly and brutally honest, I hardly get a chance to even brew anymore. I started this initially to make it easier for a friend of mine to get going again after his Pi ate his SD card. I’ll repeat: The original/current BrewPi is a far more capable system, with a wider adoption base, and excellent support. That’s probably a better choice for you if you want expanded capabilities.
  • Will you accept pull requests?” – Maybe. Here’s the honest truth however: Not being a software developer by trade means that working with typical software development tools in a collaborative environment like GitHub is new to me. I am probably doing this wrong/poorly and in a way that doesn’t easily allow such collaboration. If you’re willing to work with someone who does not have these skills in order that you may contribute your own work, it’s likely best to contact me directly before you start so we can work out the details to avoid frustration for both of us (mostly you.)
  • What about older versions of the Pi or Raspbian Stretch, etc.?” – I’ve no reason to believe older versions will not work, but they’ve not been tested. In theory it should work fine, but at some point, on a platform like Raspberry Pi, you just need to say “flash a new card and get over it.” These are not desktop machines that accumulate “stuff” over the years. If you have a Pi that’s on it’s original SD card for more than a couple years you have a rare bird indeed. I’d be more than happy to discuss why it didn’t work if you run into an issue, it would be interesting I think, but it might not be something I choose to address.

Back to Installation Instructions.

Security Note

My instructions tell you to copy and paste a command into your terminal window. Despite me telling you to do that, I am now going to tell you how unsafe that is. Many people browse the Internet, find the command they need, and blindly paste it into their terminal window. This one is blatantly (potentially) dangerous from a non-trusted source:

wget -qO- https://u.nu/brewpi-tools-remix | sudo bash

It’s going to download a script to your Raspberry Pi, and pipe (|) it through the command sudo bash. When you use sudo without any other arguments it will run the command which follows with root privileges. So, you basically found someone on the Internet telling you to run their code as root, without even knowing what it all does. Despite the inherent risk, installing an application as root is often necessary since some applications have to make global changes to your system.

This is how bad things happen.

Even if you think you completely understand the command you are reading and copying, there is still an opportunity for a specially crafted web page to make the command look like one thing, but be a completely different command when you paste it. That would be A Bad Thing™. For an example, copy and paste this code into your terminal (or if you are nor suitable paranoid, into a text editor:

git clone /dev/null; clear; echo -n "Hello ";whoami|tr -d '\n';echo -e '!\nThat was a bad idea. Don'"'"'t copy code from websites you don'"'"'t trust!
Here'"'"'s the first line of your /etc/passwd: ';head -n1 /etc/passwd
git clone
git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/utils/kup/kup.git

(From this page which describes this copy/paste vulnerability.)

The lesson to be learned from this is if you are going to copy/paste a command from any source, always use an interim paste into a text editor like Notepad to make sure A Bad Thing doesn’t happen to you. Now you can join your previously scheduled show: Install Instructions, which is patiently waiting for you where you left it.

Wait. Now you don’t know if you should trust the setup command I provided? I’m shedding a happy tear. Security and the Internet is a rabbit hole filled with (justifiable) paranoia and bad actors. Your choices here however are:

  1. Trust me and run it
  2. Examine that script carefully and make sure it does nothing bad. Then, since the first one executes as root you need to follow that to the next one because it inherits that security construct. Ultimately you can drive yourself crazy when you realize the implications, or just accept that whenever you install free code from the Internet you take your chances. This is the case with any software, not just BrewPi.
  3. Do a manual install. I’ve detailed how that might be done in a post called: “For the Masochists.”

At some point I hope to list out the manual install steps necessary to replicate this series of automated steps for the truly paranoid. That’s quite frankly not a high priority for me since the goal here is to make BrewPi Legacy Remix available to every-day people. Those of you who would choose the manual steps can probably figure it all out anyway.

Cheers!

Return to the Installation Instructions.

Project Assumptions and Proceedings

This tool set adds a bootstrap to install the BrewPi Legacy Remix packages on a completely fresh install of Raspbian (codename “Stretch” at the time of this writing). I have created this bootstrap because some steps required in previous iterations were a little alien to people new to Raspbian/Linux. Additionally, some supporting software has been deprecated/upgraded which before now made the older BrewPi packages incompatible.

This bootstrap will:

  • Check a few things
  • Handle some Raspberry Pi setup steps if/as needed or recommended
  • Install some supporting files
  • Download and execute the BrewPi-Tools-RMX installation scripts
  • Perform some final cleanup

In order to make this work well, I have to make some assumptions about the environment in which this will be run. Here I’ll try to list some, however I am sure someone will find a way to try something I’ve not considered. Do not over-think this. Don’t fiddle around with your Pi before running the bootstrap. Turn it on, connect to your home network, and go. Here’s a list of known (or at least recalled) assumptions made during this project:

  • This has been developed and tested on a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ because that’s what I have laying around. I have absolutely no reason to believe it would not work on a Zero, 2B, or other versions of the Raspberry Pi line. I’ve just not tested it.
  • This has been developed and tested on the Raspbian OS. Raspbian is based on Debian, so using a Debian (or derivative) OS distribution may work. However, that’s not been tested. I am not at all sure that it would work on a different flavor of Linux.
  • This has been developed and tested on the Raspbian Stretch distribution. If a new distribution for the Raspberry Pi is released it may no longer work. I hope I’ve future-proofed it, however the original/core code may have some non future-proofed areas waiting to rear their ugly head (or I may not be as good at future-proofing as I believe.)
  • I’ve assumed throughout that this is the only function the Pi will handle. This is not unique to BrewPi in general. I’ve not specifically prevented it form doing anything else, I just can’t (and won’t try) to test every permutation.
  • This will not create a BrewPi which is secure enough to connect to from the Internet. There’s a whole host of reasons for this, but please, do not do it unless you know what you are doing. I suggest you consider Dataplicity if you really need/want to do this.
  • This has been developed and tested using the default user ‘pi’ which by default has password-less sudo rights. This is how Raspbian is shipped, and this is how I’ll continue to test it. If you know enough to change any of these assumptions, you know enough to figure out why this process may not work for you. If you simply MUST change this, I suggest you do it after you get BrewPi Remix running.
  • You need for your Pi to have access to the Internet. I think this is obvious, but the Pi needs to access GitHub and standard Raspbian repositories to download code. Generally speaking, plugging your Pi into your home network with an Ethernet cable will do this without any configuration necessary. Attaching to wireless will take a little more work that’s not in scope of this project specifically, but for which you will find some help in “Headless Raspberry Pi“.
  • This has been developed and tested on a bone-stock Raspbian setup, with no user or local customization implemented. The only things that has been tested which do not inherently work on a fresh setup is wireless connectivity and ssh over wireless. The bootstrap script will:
    1. Check to make sure the script has executed with sudo to root (this is how the instructions will work if you follow them)
    2. Provide some rudimentary instructions
    3. Check for default password, and prompt to change it if so
    4. Set the proper timezone
    5. Prompt to optionally change the host name if it is currently the default ‘raspberrypi’
    6. Check network connectivity to GitHub (this part should be a given since it’s intended to be run via wget but I’m not going to assume someone can’t break my plans)
    7. Run an apt update if it’s not been run within the last week
    8. Install git packages via apt get to allow the rest of the install to work
    9. Install Python packages via pip.
    10. Clone the BrewPi Tools RMX into the ~/brewpi-tools-rmx folder
    11. Execute install.sh which is responsible for the rest of the setup

I am certain that someone will find an important assumption I did not list here. We’ll see how long that takes. Let me know what you find.

Return to Installation Instructions.