Unable to Switch Back to 'rpi-ro'

General support for the Pi-Star System
W4JEW
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Re: Unable to Switch Back to 'rpi-ro'

Post by W4JEW » Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:57 pm

@KE7FNS

First - let me clear one thing up... I know this is not a Pi-Star issue. It's an issue that plagues the Raspberry Pi platform and is a direct result from the Pi's reliance on SD cards as their primary method of storage. Thankfully the 3B+ and 4 allow you to use alternative storage (SSD/HD or even USB sticks) which are far more robust than SD cards. I have yet to experiment with other devices such as the NanoPi and Odroid SBCs that allow you to use alternative storage mediums. I hope to be able to do that some day in the not so distant future.

I bring this issue up because I appreciate the fact that Pi-Star makes every effort possible to keep the filesystem in a read-only format to alleviate the possibility of corruption due to an abrupt shutdown. I am hopeful that there's even more that can be done and look to the developers to determine if there's more that can be done.

The last time I ran into an issue, I noticed the green activity light flashed a couple of times then nothing after I powered on the Pi. At that point, I suspected a filesystem issue.

I connected it to an external display and also connected a keyboard, then powered it back on. The OS started to boot then shortly after displayed an error and prompted me to run fsck. I removed the SD card, inserted it into a USB SD card reader, then connected it to another Raspberry Pi and ran fsck from there - the repair was successful.

I had another incident several months ago where I didn't have the ability to connect the RPi to an external display/keyboard, but I was able to connect to it with a USB UART adapter to get directly into the console.

I've become very disciplined about creating regular backups of my hotspots and shutting it down gracefully. I've also been using pistar-remote religiously when I'm unable to shut it down via traditional methods. This is a PHENOMENAL feature in Pi-Star and, IMHO, it's not leveraged anywhere near as much as it should be.

I help a lot of people with their hotspots who are not as computer savvy as others. They do not understand the importance of gracefully shutting the system down. It is not readily apparent to a lot of people that they should treat their Raspberry Pi-based hotspots differently than they do an OpenSpot which is designed to be highly resilient to power-loss.

I don't always have the ability to physically examine their hotspots, so when they fail to boot, my recommendation is to re-image and restore from backup. That process always gets them back to a working state. I also strongly encourage them to have multiple Micro SD Cards and to carry a USB/SD-Card reader with them in the event they ever need to re-image in the field.

In the end, my goal is to raise awareness to this issue and to help in any way I can to determine the root cause of the inability to fall back to read-only mode. I sincerely hope there's a way to incorporate changes that will continue to improve the resiliency of the platform. My concern is that this issue is directly tied to the reliance on devices that require SD cards as their storage medium (by default) and there's not much else that can be done.

If that ends up being the case - then so be it!
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Jeff Hochberg
W4JEW
Atlanta, GA

KE7FNS
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Re: Unable to Switch Back to 'rpi-ro'

Post by KE7FNS » Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:09 am

AF4FA wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:57 pm
I do not know what he uses to check the system but I use the following.
sudo dmesg and then sudo fsck.
Uh, fscking a mounted filesystem is a big no no in Linux.

W4JEW wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:57 pm
I know this is not a Pi-Star issue.
Actually it is, if you notice it only happens on Pi-star boxes.
W4JEW wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:57 pm
It's an issue that plagues the Raspberry Pi platform and is a direct result from the Pi's reliance on SD cards as their primary method of storage.
It has nothing to do with the fact that the RPi is using a SD card. Pi-star has some very specific changes to make it function in a RO state, normal Raspbian (both lite and desktop) does not have those same changes.
W4JEW wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:57 pm
Thankfully the 3B+ and 4 allow you to use alternative storage (SSD/HD or even USB sticks) which are far more robust than SD cards. I have yet to experiment with other devices such as the NanoPi and Odroid SBCs that allow you to use alternative storage mediums. I hope to be able to do that some day in the not so distant future.
More robust? I disagree, you can still easily corrupt SSD's, HD's, and USB sticks.
W4JEW wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:57 pm
I bring this issue up because I appreciate the fact that Pi-Star makes every effort possible to keep the filesystem in a read-only format to alleviate the possibility of corruption due to an abrupt shutdown. I am hopeful that there's even more that can be done and look to the developers to determine if there's more that can be done.
If it was a simple solution Andy would of already implemented it. He is well aware of the issue, this thread is 8 pages deep now, and still people create new threads about the same topic.
W4JEW wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:57 pm
I help a lot of people with their hotspots who are not as computer savvy as others. They do not understand the importance of gracefully shutting the system down. It is not readily apparent to a lot of people that they should treat their Raspberry Pi-based hotspots differently than they do an OpenSpot which is designed to be highly resilient to power-loss.
Then also teach them how to reboot and shutdown properly.
W4JEW wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:57 pm
In the end, my goal is to raise awareness to this issue and to help in any way I can to determine the root cause of the inability to fall back to read-only mode. I sincerely hope there's a way to incorporate changes that will continue to improve the resiliency of the platform. My concern is that this issue is directly tied to the reliance on devices that require SD cards as their storage medium (by default) and there's not much else that can be done.

If that ends up being the case - then so be it!
There is no need to raise awareness. This isn't something that I think can be fixed. We just have to deal with it and take an extra step of rebooting when we notice the stuck RW issue appears.
If someones previous actions are any indication of their future actions, then I predict the deletion and removal of access will happen at any moment. 7-11-2020.

"07/13/20 This Website Has Been Taken Down" ... again :lol:

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