Observium on the Raspberry Pi 2

Please note – I have also detailed the installation of LibreNMS on the Pi, which is a fork of Observium. Please take a look at my post at:

LibreNMS on the Raspberry Pi 2 or 3

I love Observium, an open source network monitoring platform. I monitor anything and everything with this tool: firewalls, servers, routers, switches, wireless access points, printers… the possibilities are endless. If you are not familiar with Observium, please check out everything you are missing at their site:


The Raspberry Pi 2 seems to render and handle Observium well in my lab. You will not be disappointed by the beautiful graphs and the constant flow of information that Observium will feed you via the Raspberry Pi 2.

For the installation, I will deviate off the beaten path by using a currently unsupported version of Ubuntu on the Raspberry Pi 2. I am aware that Snappy Core Ubuntu is available, but I did not want to gravitate away from my comfort zone, and elected to go with Ubuntu 14.04LTS Server…

First, I would recommend grabbing a decent Micro-SD card (I used a 32GB class 10), and installing Ubuntu 14.04LTS per:


Choose to install OpenSSH-Server during the installation. You will reboot the pi after the installation, and can log in using ubuntu/ubuntu for your username and password. You will first want to set a static IP address on the Pi so you always know how to find it, by editing the following file:

sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces.d

The file should instruct how to configure eth0, the ethernet interface on the Pi. For example:

iface eth0 inet static

Save the config with “control+o” to write the file, and “control+x” to exit the editor.

Now proceed by accessing your Raspberry Pi 2 via SSH (use Putty from Windows) with the static IP you assigned.

ssh ubuntu@

Install you base packages required for Observium, making sure you document your MySQL password:

apt-get install libapache2-mod-php5 php5-cli php5-mysql php5-gd php5-mcrypt php5-json php-pear snmp fping \ mysql-server mysql-client python-mysqldb rrdtool subversion whois mtr-tiny ipmitool graphviz imagemagick

If you monitor libvert machines, you will need to install the following, if not, please skip:

apt-get install libvirt-bin

Make a directory for Observium, then change directory into /opt:

sudo mkdir -p /opt/observium && cd /opt

I will be working with the community edition of Observium, install it with the following command:

sudo wget http://www.observium.org/observium-community-latest.tar.gz 
sudo tar zxvf observium-community-latest.tar.gz

After downloading, change into the unpackaged Observium directory:

cd observium/

Copy the example php config into your working config:

cp config.php.default config.php

Create the MySQL database:

mysql -u root -p

<you will be prompted to enter your root MySQL password to continue>

mysql> CREATE DATABASE observium DEFAULT CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci;
mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON observium.* TO 'observium'@'localhost'         -> IDENTIFIED BY 'observium_db_password';
mysql> quit

MySQL setup Observium

Now we will need to edit the working config file we copied from the default, updating it with our database password:

sudo nano config.php

You should be updating the “db_user” to observium and your “db_password” to the password configured above when setting up MySQL with the line “IDENTIFIED BY ‘observium_db_password'”

You will see in my attached example I simply used “ubuntu” for my Observium database password. This is also the time and place to update the default SNMP community name. In my attached example I am using the SNMP community name of “infosoda”.

config.php Observium

I used “nano” to edit the file – you will need to use a “control+o” to save and then a “control+x” to exit.

Now update the database with the following php script:

sudo php includes/update/update.php

As long as your updated database password in the config.php file matches your setup password, yo should see the terminal session scroll while updating the database schema.

We need to create the directory “rrd” to store RRD files. We then follow it up by modifying the permissions:

mkdir rrd
sudo chown www-data:www-data rrd

Assuming this is the only site running on Apache on your Raspberry Pi 2, we should edit the Apache config:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf

Edit the file (see my attachment – please omit me working around the default comments in the config file):

<VirtualHost *:80>
       ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
       DocumentRoot /opt/observium/html
       <Directory />
               Options FollowSymLinks
               AllowOverride None
       <Directory /opt/observium/html/>Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
              AllowOverride All
              Require all granted
       ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log 
       LogLevel warn 
       CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined 
       ServerSignature On 

Apache2 config Observium

We then need to run the mcrypt module:

sudo php5enmod mcrypt

Enable the module rewrite:

sudo a2enmod rewrite

Restart Apache:

sudo service apache2 restart

We now get to add a user in the format ‘user_name’ ‘password’ ‘level’, where a level 10 denotes an administrator:

sudo ./adduser.php admin observium 10

We will then perform an initial discovery:

sudo ./discovery.php -h all

Followed by an initial poll:

sudo ./poller.php -h all

We finally need to set up a CRON job to maintain the discovery and polling:

sudo nano /etc/cron.d/observium

Edit the newly created job to reflect the following:

33  */6   * * *   root    /opt/observium/discovery.php -h all >> /dev/null 2>&1
*/5 *     * * *   root    /opt/observium/discovery.php -h new >> /dev/null 2>&1
*/5 *     * * *   root    /opt/observium/poller-wrapper.py 2 >> /dev/null 2>&1

Please note, this cron job utilizes a username.

Editing /etc/cron.d/observium

To set the correct timezone for your graphs, you will need to edit your php.ini file and set the time on your Raspberry Pi.

The Pi can be set in Ubuntu with the following command in the terminal, which will launch the interface that users usually utilize when they set up their servers:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

Edit the php.ini file with your editor:

sudo nano /etc/php5/cli/php.ini

Editting php.ini

 You will need to setup SNMP on all of your hosts and devices, which is beyond the scope of my post, but here is how we add our Raspberry Pi 2 within Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install snmpd

Move the original snmpd.conf file:

sudo mv /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf.original

Now re-create the snmpd.conf file:

sudo nano /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf

There are only a few variables that are necessary in your new, blank config:

rocommunity         batman
syslocation         Bat Cave
syscontact          Bruce@wayneenterprises.com

Usually you would enter some useful information to help you locate the device on your network.

Relaunch the snmpd service:

sudo service snmpd restart

Now you can monitor your own Observium install…

Simply add it using “localhost” for the hostname and the appropriate SNMP community name. Observium requires DNS names to resolve, and you will want to correctly setup DNS in your environment.

A sample screenshot:

Raspberry Pi in Observium
Observium screenshot



Ubuntu on the $59 WinBook TW700 Windows 8.1 Tablet – Step 2

PLEASE NOTE: This is an attempt to explore the feasibility of running Ubuntu on a Bay Trail tablet. It will not be uncommon to experience kernel panics and unexpected behavior at this point in time with Linux and Intel’s Bay Trail hardware. The tablet can run a little hot during the initial parts of the installation, so if you hit a barrier, turn it off, take a break, and let it cool down. Please proceed at your own risk, and make sure you have your Windows recovery drive!

In the previous post, http://infosoda.com/ubuntu-tw700-1/ we performed a basic install of Ubuntu 14.10 on the WinBook TW700. In this post, we will update the kernel, enable the built in wireless, and enable the touch screen (goodix support for this screen is built into the new kernel). We will also repair GRUB, so we are not dependent upon the bootia32.efi bootloader on the installation USB when booting. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have borrowed content and direction from John Wells with his post linked at: http://www.jfwhome.com/2014/03/07/perfect-ubuntu-or-other-linux-on-the-asus-transformer-book-t100/ , making changes and corrections as needed for us to proceed on this WinBook.

I prefer to work smart, and prefer to work on the tablet via an ssh session. This will also make it easier to cut and paste the terminal commands in this article. If you do not have a computer with ssh or putty, you can skip this step. Join your tablet to your wireless (using a linux compatible wifi dongle). Open your terminal (the keyboard shortcut is control+alt+t) and type in:

sudo apt-get update
sudo-apt get install openssh-server

Now from your workstation you can ssh into the tablet using the IP address the command provided, with the following format:

ssh username@10.10.10.xx (or whatever your tablet’s IP is)

Now continuing from a terminal session:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install git bison libopts25 libselinux1-dev autogen m4 help2man libopts25-dev flex libfont-freetype-perl automake autotools-dev libfreetype6-dev texinfo lib32z1 lib32ncurses5 lib32bz2-1.0 autoconf build-essential gnome-common systemd libgudev-1.0-dev

This will install the packages required to build our drivers and GRUB efi file. Now we will update the kernel. In this example, I am downloading the generic 3.19.0 kernel for Ubuntu (which will detect the touchscreen!).

cd /tmp/
wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.19-vivid/linux-headers-3.19.0-031900-generic_3.19.0-031900.201502091451_amd64.deb
wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.19-vivid/linux-headers-3.19.0-031900_3.19.0-031900.201502091451_all.deb
wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.19-vivid/linux-image-3.19.0-031900-generic_3.19.0-031900.201502091451_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i linux-headers-3.19.0-*.deb linux-image-3.19.0-*.deb
sudo reboot

Once we reboot, we still need to use GRUB on our installation USB drive. Once you see GRUB, hit the ‘c’ key to enter the command line

linux (hd1,gpt2)/boot/vmlinuz

Then hit “tab” to autocomplete. You should now see a new entry – the packaged kernel (vmlinuz) with the upgraded version. Use this new version. PLEASE note, we will addend “nomodeset” with an additional parameter – “reboot=pci,force”.

Using the kernel from above, you should then have the following in your GRUB commands:

linux (hd1,gpt2)/boot/vmlinuz-3.19.0-031900-generic root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 nomodeset reboot=pci,force
initrd (hd1,gpt2)/boot/initrd.img-3.19.0-031900-generic

The new kernel should recognize your touch interface, and we will address this is more detail at the end of the article. In the meantime, to update your wireless, open your terminal and type:

cd /tmp/
git clone https://github.com/hadess/rtl8723bs.git
cd rtl8723bs/
sudo make install
sudo depmod -a
sudo reboot

The wireless will be detected after the reboot. Unfortunately, the wireless at this point is not very reliable. I would recommend to keep utilizing the wireless on your USB dongle, especially through the remainder of this guide! Remember to use the command line at the GRUB menu (we are still using the USB’s GRUB) to point at the correct vmlinuz and initrd paths when re-booting.

 Now we will repair GRUB, and forego pressing “c” at the GRUB menu to load our Ubuntu installation. This process will take a few minutes to compile on this little tablet, so please be patient. Open the terminal and “get” the GRUB source:

cd /tmp/
git clone git://git.savannah.gnu.org/grub.git
cd grub/
sudo ./configure --with-platform=efi --target=i386 --program-prefix=""
sudo make
cd grub-core/
sudo ../grub-install -d . --efi-directory /boot/efi/ --target=i386
cd /boot/efi/EFI
sudo cp grub/grubia32.efi ubuntu/grubx64.efi

After replacing the installed 64 bit EFI boot loader with our compiled 32 bit version, we will now update GRUB with your preferred editor:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

Change the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT line with the parameter “nomodeset reboot=pci,force”

Editing the grub file
Editing the grub file

This is a great opportunity to customize grub to your preferences – you can alter timers, disable the display of the UUID, et cetera.

Save the new setting with Control+O, exit via CONTROL+X.

Now update GRUB at the command line:

sudo update-grub
sudo grub-install /dev/mmcblk0

sudo reboot

The last command will shut down the tablet; you may now remove the installation USB.

Unfortunately, the reboot process is possessed with various errors – you will want to have a USB keyboard connected, and may prefer to boot in recovery mode (advanced options -> Ubuntu 3.19 recovery mode).

I would recommend playing with the Florence virtual keyboard; you can access the built in Ubuntu “onboard” keyboard also.

To install florence:

sudo apt-get -f install
sudo apt-get install florence

For more info on Florence, please take a look at the following link: http://xmodulo.com/onscreen-virtual-keyboard-linux.html

That site can assist in setting up the defaults, auto-launch, etc.

 There are still multiple issues to be addressed, including the audio and bluetooth. I will attempt to create a third post if I am able to dedicate some time to address these issues. I would also like to re-address the wifi instability, and this fix may be directly related to the bluetooth fix (they both use the Realtek rtl8723bs). Most of these issues are works in progress, and I will keep an eye on GitHub and other sources for the development of any Linux drivers that my assist in the usability of this tablet.