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Awesome Open Source

UPDATE: My development MBL which died is back alive

During kernel 5.4 Asynchronuous DMA driver work, my MBL died over 18 months ago. Apperently u-boot and/or u-boot variables were corrupted. In a nothing-to-lose-effort, I managed to unsolder a chip and reflash it.

My-Book-Live (MBL) customization

Kernel patches and Debian release for Western Digital My Book Live. NOTE: these customizations will void your warranty and are delivered on best-effort only NOTE: while the posted methods allow you to fully customize a MBL without ever opening it, you need to keep in mind that there might be a failure which requires you to ultimately open up the shell. NOTE: none of this work is tested on a My Book Live DUO for the simple reason that we don't own one. That said it, community members have successfully deployed on MBL Duo.

Why customize ?

  • My disk died: in this scenario, you may have to open up your MBL if your warranty is void and you will be exposed to the "complexity" of Linux commands/shell scripts, formatting, u-boot, etc. It's a good time to explore all the possibilities.
  • Supportability: original firmware comes with Debian Lenny (5.0.x), which was released in February 2009. Security and other updates have been discontinued as of February 2012. While Western Digital has done a great job to provide updated firmware, it's ultimately impossible to keep up with back-porting vulnerability updates on pre-2010, outdated releases.
  • Security vulnerabilities: protect your valuable data (see report)
  • Performance: custom kernels can increase your performance by 50%+
  • Functionality: many new packages are no longer supported on 2.6 kernels and Debian Jessie (e.g. newer versions of Samba with better Windows 10 support)

Why not customize ?

  • Losing WD support/warranty
  • Loss of the graphical user interface: while it's possible to port the original web user interface, it's not really worth it the time and effort.

Tree Structure

  • debian: Debian 8.11 with security patches backported to PowerPC
  • kernel: Kernel patches, pre-compiled kernels and device tree structure
  • samba : Optimal perfomance with Samba using sample config files
  • uboot : Netconsole support, u-boot boot files, TFTP boot and ways to safely boot My Book Live

Documentation is posted within each section.

Latest validated kernel support

  • Kernel 2.6.32.71, released Sat, 12 Mar 2016
  • Kernel 4.9.169, released Wed, 17 Apr 2019
  • Kernel 4.19.99, released Mon, 27 Jan 2020

What is new ?

  • 4.19 kernel (pre-compiled and patches) released
  • high performance kernel 4.19.99 released
  • patches updated for 4.19.99
  • section on Samba
  • section on cross-compiling kernels
  • fixed a few Github postng issues
  • released 4.9.149 & 4.9.169
  • support for TFTP booting including netconsole support
  • initramfs section
  • improved section on installing custom kernels on original firmware
  • update on Debian sources.list (package repositories)

Known issues

  • (Disk activity) led not working on 4.19 kernels
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