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Debian for OpenFrame

Download Debian Bullseye (Kernel 5.10) for OpenFrame (~186 MB)
Download Debian Bookworm (Kernel 6.1) for OpenFrame (~196 MB)

These are live builds which automatically update whenever a new kernel version is released.
Previous versions and build logs are also available.

Please let me know if anything breaks!

These images can be used on any OpenFrame 1 (O2 Joggler, Telefonica Orby) or OpenFrame 2 (Cisco Home Energy Controller, Telio Touch) device, running either from USB storage or internal memory. External storage is recommended as it will be much faster with plenty of space available.

The goal here was to make a small-but-useful command line system which can be customised all the way up to a lightweight desktop. There are a few built-in ‘of-’ commands to make life easier, which are explained below. Once up and running there is very little difference between these images and the experience you would have running Debian on any other device.

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AlertMe Devices on Hubitat

AlertMe Drivers for Hubitat (GitHub)

Merely a decade ago I wrote an article on this very website about Security, Energy and Home Automation extolling the virtues of AlertMe and their home security system. In that time AlertMe has gone from being a company to a platform, gobbled up by British Gas and now sold as Hive.

The AlertMe service closed down in 2017 and I can’t complain at all; I met a bunch of interesting people, developed the only third-party iOS app for the platform, got to tinker with pretty much every UK version and in the end the AlertMe team in Cambridge arranged free Hive kits for all remaining users. Thanks, AlertMe, that was a classy way to sign off.

The only thing that left me a bit disappointed on Hive was the lack of support for devices which AlertMe users already owned. This was purely a commercial decision to drive sales of Hive products, exemplified by the fact that Hive continued to sell the original SPG100 smart plug (rebranded an SPG900, but otherwise unchanged) as a repeater-only device for the heating system. Either version could be paired with the hub, but remote control of the power relay was completely missing in order to push sales of the SLP2 and SLP2b outlets. A real shame, as even today the original SPG100 is unrivalled amongst UK smart plugs, featuring battery backup, power reporting and consumption measurement.

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Hubitat and Lidl Smart Home

Tuya (Lidl Smart Home) Drivers for Hubitat (GitHub)

Supermarket chain Lidl have recently been selling their own range of smart home tech and it’s really very good. Essentially they’re doing what many have done before, which is to offer rebranded Tuya devices, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Particularly when you’re hitting £7.99 for a smart plug, compared to £39 for a device with exactly the same features from Hive. That’s outstanding and I hope they make this gear a regular feature in their stores.

The smart plug is a bit oversized, but has a replaceable fuse and is nicely made. The extension with USB sockets is particularly good, with global and individual control over the three mains outlets. In the years since AlertMe I’ve landed on Hubitat as my current platform of choice (which I hope to write something about in the Near Future) and being that kind of person, I decided to write up some dedicated device drivers so these things can work as well as I would like them to.

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Plex Media Player

Download: Plex Media Player
(Debian Package, x86, 32-bit)

This package has been tested on Ubuntu Bionic 18.04.4 LTS using the standard shared libraries present in the default repositories.

The easiest method of installation is simply:

sudo dpkg -i plexmediaplayer_2.57.0-1_i386.deb
sudo apt --fix-broken install

The software installs to /opt/plexmediaplayer.

What’s All This About?

When iTunes was discontinued, I switched to Plex for my home media server needs and have been more than happy with it. Then, a few days ago, a comment on the Joggler Forums got me wondering why I’d never looked into running a client on the OpenFrame.

Two problems were obvious; no hardware accelerated video decoding in the OpenFrame 1 or 2 due to it using the GMA500 ‘Poulsbo’ chipset, plus the lack of a 32-bit Plex Media Player build, which I wanted to try as the web interface was being sluggish.

I’m not certain that I’ll manage to get the OpenFrame devices playing video as I would like (experiments with the Crystal HD BCM70015 card have not gone well so far), but with any luck this .deb will help out some other fringe case.

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AlertMe Mini Hub Disassembly

Completely forgot to post about this, but a couple of months ago I took a look at what lives inside the old AlertMe Hub.

There was a little surprise for me!

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Elite Dangerous on Linux

Headless servers? I’m a Debian, or more recently an Ubuntu, person. But way back when my old operating system of choice became untenable, I had to make a decision; use the Windows desktop I supported at work, or find another option. The Linux desktop back in 2003 wasn’t somewhere I wanted to be and I found myself wishing there was some other operating system with UNIX underpinnings, maybe a nice Bash shell, but with a really polished user interface…

I’ve been a Mac user since then and have watched as desktop Linux has slowly closed the gap between its commercial rivals. Though Windows 10 is one of the more polished releases in years, it’s not without its problems and there are so many great distributions of desktop Linux these days it’s hard to ignore the pull of open source life.

I’m a goal-oriented sort of person, so I looked at why I found myself booting my Mac into Windows more often these days. One reason is driver support for some capture hardware I use. The other is Elite Dangerous. I’d wanted to investigate the Wine compatibility layer to get this working, but my first solo attempt ended badly. There are some great instructions out there, but after making my own way through them I like to slim things back as far as possible, so this is what I came up with.

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