Installing ubuntu per minimal image to PC engines APU2

This is the company: PCengines
This is the devices: APU2

nullmodem setup

using putty

Check which com port, mine was set to ‘com4’

Get a usb to serial converter, install drivers. Some of those converters seem to have timing problems, but i did not encounter that.

I once tried lowest baud rate 9600 and that produced some nice screen carnival, but nothing really legible.

prepping usb stick

Download usb prep tool ‘TinyCore USB Installer‘ and run it against on usb, i’ve used an 8GB stick, make sure it’s not the slowest

To try out you can now boot into TINYCORE. So put this into the APU2’s usb port and boot up having the serial nullmodem cable connected and the putty session open. Finished boot is indicated by an audible beep. This is good to check the serial connection which you should have established parallel to that.

If you want to keep the option of booting into TINYCORE open, backup the syslinux.config fom the USB’s root directory, as this one will be overwritten by the package content we are now downloading.

Download special ubuntu package from pcengines, unpack and move the three files into the usb root folder / or :/ depending on your system.

Now plug in the usb into the apu2 and boot having the serial nullmodem cable connected and the putty session open. You will see the setup menu, similar to this screen shot:

The terminal setup process seems daunting at first, but it essentially is really analogues to the graphical ubuntu installer. I found my way around by basically following the Easy Path(tm) of most of the suggestions of the installer, going automatically step by step through the menu. On some of the sub menus i was able to make some educated changes as i knew a bit of more details and i had a good idea where i want to go with this system, but this might not apply to you.

The one exception was the network configuration. running the automatic network detection seems to have got the dhcpd info , but when i dropped into the busy box ash shell environment (one menu option Execute a shell in the main hierarchy at the beginning of the installation process), i had to run dhclient directly on the interface again. Checking via ip addr i now could verify the indeed applied values, and could ping any public server. With exit i dropped back into the installation menu. On a later second setup run this problem did not occur again.

I chose no automatic updates as i can see the cronjob using quite some resources. I’d rather manually schedule that for this particular system at them moment. Part of the minimum running service policy of mine for this instance.

I followed some tip regarding the bootloader installation, and it apparently solved my problem of an unfinished installation before. I lost the link, but it boiled down to manually enter the first partition of the setup target (pcie flash device in my case), so that was /dev/sdb1 as opposed to /dev/sdb. Again, this might be different for you.

Once that was done, and with a bit more patience i rebooted and eventually login via ssh could be established. I then halted the machine, physically unplugged the usb key and the console, and replugged power.

After about 45 sec ping answered and after than ssh came back online.

Quick way to forward mails via postfix

Thanks to

Assuming you’re running Postfix, it’s as simple as the steps below

First we make sure the virtual mappings file is enabled

vim /etc/postfix/ 

# Scroll down until you find virtual_alias_maps 

# Make sure it reads something like 
virtual_alias_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/virtual 
# We also need to make sure the domain is enabled

Save and exit, next we add the aliases to our mapping file

nano /etc/postfix/virtual 
# Forward mail for to

Simple! And if we want to send to two different addresses at once, we just specify them

Finally, we just need to create a hash (actually later versions of Postfix don’t require this)

postmap /etc/postfix/virtual

It’s exactly the same principle as passing mail into a local user’s mailbox.

How to create a self-signed (wildcard) certificate

This is a quick step to generate self-signed certificate :

openssl genrsa 2048 > host.key
openssl req -new -x509 -nodes -sha1 -days 3650 -key host.key > host.cert
#[enter * for the Common Name]
openssl x509 -noout -fingerprint -text < host.cert >
cat host.cert host.key > host.pem
chmod 400 host.key host.pem

from here

Seafile 3 GUI client and Fedora 20

Currently there is no official rpm pacakge available for the GUI version of the Seafile 3 client. You can find extensive build instructions here:

I had to add the Vala package to the dependencies:

sudo yum install vala vala-compat wget gcc libevent-devel openssl-devel gtk2-devel libuuid-devel sqlite-devel jansson-devel intltool cmake qt-devel fuse-devel

Current versions:


Here’s a little fix up for the script parts:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

echo "Building and installing seafile client"

export version=3.0.2 # change this to your preferred version 
alias wget='wget --content-disposition -nc'
tar xf libsearpc-${version}.tar.gz
tar xf ccnet-${version}.tar.gz
tar xf seafile-${version}.tar.gz
tar xf seafile-client-${version}.tar.gz

export PREFIX=/usr
export PATH="$PREFIX/bin:$PATH"

echo "Building and installing libsearpc"

cd libsearpc-${version}
./configure --prefix=$PREFIX
sudo make install

cd ..

echo "Building and installing ccnet"

cd ccnet-${version}
./configure --prefix=$PREFIX
sudo make install

cd ..

echo "Building and installing seafile"

cd seafile-${version}/
./configure --prefix=$PREFIX --disable-gui
sudo make install

cd ..

echo "Building and installing seafile-client

cd seafile-client-${version}
sudo make install

Run the lib linker, just in case
sudo ldconfig

Start the client with

Skype and Fedora 20

Thanks to Negativo17’s blog I got skype running. Here’s the step by step:

Run all commands as root or vias sudo

  1. Add the the negativo17 repo of skype
    wget -O \

  2. Install skype normally via yum
    yum install skype

NB: It considers the sound bug in Fedora 20:

On Fedora 20+, the real Skype binary is used through a wrapper that sets PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=30 before running the real binary. As of Skype this is required for proper operation.

NB: Always consider the trust implications of 3rd-party repo providers.

Keepass2 and Fedora 20

Basically, you need to install mono env and use the portable version of keepass:
sudo yum -y install mono-core mono-winforms

I have yet to figure out how to make a convinient link to the Gnome menu structure.