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Thread: TiVoFlash, Killhdinitrd, and kill_initrd

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  1. #1
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    TiVoFlash, Killhdinitrd, and kill_initrd

    OK, I've been searching this forum and the TiVo Community forum for a couple of days, and I think I have a handle on the situation, but I'm not certain, as there is conflicting and incomplete info out therre. Please correct me if any of my conclusions are incorrect. And I would apreciate if anyone could answer the questions.

    1. A Series I SA Tivo does not need any of these three utilities. I've never used them on my Series I SA, and I've never had a problem.

    2. A Series I DTivo needs TivoFlash and then kill_initrd. Killhdinitrd is not a replacement for kill_initrd, and should not be used on a Series I unit of any sort. Is there a way to tell for certain TiVoFlash has worked, or that a unit has been TiVoFlashed?

    3. Killhdinitrd is specifically for HDTiVo units and for Series II units running certain specific releases of the Kernel. It does not appear that Series II units require TiVoFlash.

    Should I worry about losing hacks on either my Sister's Series I DTiVo or my Series I SA TiVo? I've come across several threads discussing the issue on Series II units, but not on Series I units. I did once lose the directory which held tserver and had to add it back to get TyTool to work, but otherwise I've not had any issues. I'm not sure what caused the /var/hack/TyTool directory to disappear.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by lrhorer
    OK, I've been searching this forum and the TiVo Community forum for a couple of days, and I think I have a handle on the situation, but I'm not certain, as there is conflicting and incomplete info out therre. Please correct me if any of my conclusions are incorrect. And I would apreciate if anyone could answer the questions.

    1. A Series I SA Tivo does not need any of these three utilities. I've never used them on my Series I SA, and I've never had a problem.

    2. A Series I DTivo needs TivoFlash and then kill_initrd. Killhdinitrd is not a replacement for kill_initrd, and should not be used on a Series I unit of any sort. Is there a way to tell for certain TiVoFlash has worked, or that a unit has been TiVoFlashed?

    3. Killhdinitrd is specifically for HDTiVo units and for Series II units running certain specific releases of the Kernel. It does not appear that Series II units require TiVoFlash.

    Should I worry about losing hacks on either my Sister's Series I DTiVo or my Series I SA TiVo? I've come across several threads discussing the issue on Series II units, but not on Series I units. I did once lose the directory which held tserver and had to add it back to get TyTool to work, but otherwise I've not had any issues. I'm not sure what caused the /var/hack/TyTool directory to disappear.
    Don't know about S1 DTiVo's as I've never owned one, but I thought flashing the PROM negated the necessity to use kill_initrd. I would guess that the filesystem would get re-built if you didn't compromise the "chain of trust" before adding hacks.

    For S1SA's, you're right about not needing anything to compromise the unit. It ships wide-open. If you read through the startup script (/etc/rc.d/rc.sysinit) and look for instances of '/var' you'll find out that the /var partition is subject to being rebuilt whenever it gets too full.

    Killhdinitrd is for all HD-TiVo's, S2SA's, and S2DTiVo's except the DVD-burners (not sure about some of those), the DTiVo R10's, and the "Series 2.5" or nightlight. Don't know about if the Humax units can be compromised without a PROM mod, but the 2.5's and R10's need it for sure. No TiVoFlash for S2's.

    If you don't want to worry about the hacks disappearing, don't put them in /var.

    ew

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by eastwind
    Don't know about S1 DTiVo's as I've never owned one, but I thought flashing the PROM negated the necessity to use kill_initrd.
    One does according to Steve Jenkins. His guide explicitly calls for the user to employ TiVoFlash and then remove the drive and check for initrd, killing it if it is enabled.

    Quote Originally Posted by eastwind
    I would guess that the filesystem would get re-built if you didn't compromise the "chain of trust" before adding hacks.
    That's my understanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by eastwind
    If you read through the startup script (/etc/rc.d/rc.sysinit) and look for instances of '/var' you'll find out that the /var partition is subject to being rebuilt whenever it gets too full.
    'Marvelous. I've skimmed rc.sysinit, but never with an eye to partition management. I'll have to take a look.

    Quote Originally Posted by eastwind
    Killhdinitrd is for all HD-TiVo's, S2SA's, and S2DTiVo's except the DVD-burners (not sure about some of those), the DTiVo R10's, and the "Series 2.5" or nightlight. Don't know about if the Humax units can be compromised without a PROM mod, but the 2.5's and R10's need it for sure.
    I rather gathered something of the sort. Gak! No wonder there are conflicting and inspecific posts running around.

    Quote Originally Posted by eastwind
    No TiVoFlash for S2's.
    OK.

    Quote Originally Posted by eastwind
    If you don't want to worry about the hacks disappearing, don't put them in /var.
    But if an upgrade is pushed, it's going to overwrite / on the inactive partition and make it active, right? Poof! go the hacks, again. I think I'll just tar /var and store it online. Of course if telnet or ftp get blasted, I'm going to have to remove the drive, anyway, to fix it.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by lrhorer
    But if an upgrade is pushed, it's going to overwrite / on the inactive partition and make it active, right? Poof! go the hacks, again. I think I'll just tar /var and store it online. Of course if telnet or ftp get blasted, I'm going to have to remove the drive, anyway, to fix it.
    While you are correct, neither of the S1 types have had an upgrade in quite some time. At any rate you can prevent the upgrade with a judiciously placed "upgradesoftware=false" (in rc.sysinit or on the bootpage).

    ew

  5. #5
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    S1 DTivos do require both Tivoflash and killinitrd. Look through the installation instructions for a Turbonet for the process. Both of these were implemented by 2.5Xtreme so the user never had to actually perform either one of them manually and they were essentially transparent as a result.
    Please don't PM me or any other members looking for personal assistance. You'll do better by posting (after you've exhausted the search feature, of course) and taking advantage of the collective expertise of the membership instead of a single individual that may or may not be able to help you. Thank you and enjoy your stay at DDB!

  6. #6
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    Thats too and a half extreme for me

    Quote Originally Posted by captain_video
    S1 DTivos do require both Tivoflash and killinitrd.
    I rather presume you mean kill_initrd? Or is there a third initrd utility out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by captain_video
    Look through the installation instructions for a Turbonet for the process.
    I know the process - it's trivial. The question is not how to implement the hack, it is which hack should be implemented on which machines and under what circumstances.

    Quote Originally Posted by captain_video
    Both of these were implemented by 2.5Xtreme so the user never had to actually perform either one of them manually and they were essentially transparent as a result.
    Another case in point. I've seen numerous references to 2.5Xtreme, but none (that I have seen) speak to the advantages of 2.5Xtreme over other processes or which platforms can benefit from it (and more importantly which platforms will have problems with it). Generally speaking, I'd rather perform any hacks manually than have an automated system perform them, in any case.
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  7. #7
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    Bootpage?

    Quote Originally Posted by eastwind
    At any rate you can prevent the upgrade with a judiciously placed "upgradesoftware=false" (in rc.sysinit or on the bootpage).ew
    The rc.sysinit hack I got. By "Judiciously placed", I presume you mean right before the folowing code?

    if [ "$upgradesoftware" = false ]; then
    echo "Not upgrading software"
    else
    # TODO... Find another way to do this...
    tivosh /etc/rc.d/finishInstall.tcl
    export -n EMERGENCY_REINSTALL
    fi

    I saw some posts which suggested the rc.sysinit hack may not always work. A little earlier there is this code fragment:

    if [ "$swupgrade" = true ]; then
    /tvlib/tcl/updateSoftware.tcl
    fi

    The swupgrade variable is set when the tivo checks for the Kickstart panic signal and it returns a value of 173. There is no updateSoftware.tcl in that directory, so I presume it gets downloaded by the TiVo during an update call. It seems to me this would preempt the updatesoftware hack.

    As to bootpage, I searched through the forum and got hundreds of hits on "bootpage", and many like yours refer to placing the referenced string on the bootpage. I don't follow. The thing is, bootpage is a binary, so the user can't just edit it. Is bootpage called during the boot cycle? In which script (it's not in rc.sysinit)? Can you point me to a reference for the bootpage parms and where to implement them, please?

    Finally, while I don't want the TiVo to automatically update its software and wipe my hacks, I would like to allow it to update after I've made some preparations. How can I tell if the TiVo needs to be updated? Has anyone hacked the messages process so the user could insert his own message, letting him know the box wants to upgrade itself?
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lrhorer
    As to bootpage, I searched through the forum and got hundreds of hits on "bootpage", and many like yours refer to placing the referenced string on the bootpage. I don't follow. The thing is, bootpage is a binary, so the user can't just edit it. Is bootpage called during the boot cycle? In which script (it's not in rc.sysinit)? Can you point me to a reference for the bootpage parms and where to implement them, please?
    Bootpage is a binary that lets you examine/change parameters on the bootpage (the parameters are on the HD and get loaded at bootup).

    Can't find the reference right now, but if you want to check out the source code I think alldeadhomiez posted it in the files section. Here's something to get you started:
    Code:
    OPTIONS for bootpage
    bootpage -p [device]             'Displays the parameters of the device
    bootpage -P                      'Sets the parameters
    bootpage -b                      'Displays the boot partition
    bootpage -B                      'Sets the boot partition
    bootpage -a                      'Displays the alternate boot partition
    bootpage -A                      'Sets the alternate boot partition
    bootpage -f                      'Flips the boot partition/alternate boot partition
    Other than that I can't think what else it does. If you're using the x86 version a '-C' is required to write to the device.

    ew

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by eastwind
    Killhdinitrd is for all HD-TiVo's, S2SA's, and S2DTiVo's except the DVD-burners (not sure about some of those), the DTiVo R10's, and the "Series 2.5" or nightlight. Don't know about if the Humax units can be compromised without a PROM mod, but the 2.5's and R10's need it for sure. No TiVoFlash for S2's.
    Not entirely true. After hacking the prom on my nightlight and my R10, killhdinitrd was needed to be able to install the hacks (swapping the prom just makes them into a regular Tivo, so then normal hacking methods need to be applied). I suspect the DVD burners are the same...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasch
    Not entirely true. After hacking the prom on my nightlight and my R10, killhdinitrd was needed to be able to install the hacks (swapping the prom just makes them into a regular Tivo, so then normal hacking methods need to be applied). I suspect the DVD burners are the same...
    Okay, I stand corrected. I thought the PROM mod did away with the security checks altogether.

    ew

  11. #11
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    Thats too and a half extreme for me
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by captain_video
    S1 DTivos do require both Tivoflash and killinitrd.

    I rather presume you mean kill_initrd? Or is there a third initrd utility out there?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by captain_video
    Look through the installation instructions for a Turbonet for the process.

    I know the process - it's trivial. The question is not how to implement the hack, it is which hack should be implemented on which machines and under what circumstances.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by captain_video
    Both of these were implemented by 2.5Xtreme so the user never had to actually perform either one of them manually and they were essentially transparent as a result.

    Another case in point. I've seen numerous references to 2.5Xtreme, but none (that I have seen) speak to the advantages of 2.5Xtreme over other processes or which platforms can benefit from it (and more importantly which platforms will have problems with it). Generally speaking, I'd rather perform any hacks manually than have an automated system perform them, in any case.
    The correct file name could be kill_initrd. I was just identifying the process, not the specific file name. The hack should be implemented on S1 DTivos. Tivoflash is performed to update the EEPROM to add dual tuner functionality and killinitrd needs to be performed to bypass the security checks done at bootup (necessary if you plan on installing any additional hacks).

    2.5Xtreme was designed for use on S1 DTivos only. It was developed before most of us knew how to install the individual hacks manually and was the de facto standard for hacking a S1 DTivo. With what we know today it is entirely feasible to perform the same hacks manually rather than using 2.5Xtreme. 2.5Xtreme was basically an image taken right after a S1 DTivo had taken the update and was in the process of rebooting to install the software. That's why the DTivo starts out by flashing the EEPROM and then rebooting to install the 2.5 upgrade. It also added the fixsub routine that performed the fakecall function and indicated a lifetime sub status on the system information screen.

    You could perform the same function by using the Turbonet install CD to flash the EEPROM and run killinitrd (or kill_initrd, if you prefer, as I haven't used the program in over a year). The one advantage of 2.5Xtreme was that it contained a complete 2.5 OS image so there was no need for a backup. The image was restored and the necessary modifications (i.e., partition expansion, swap file, etc.) made automatically during the restoration process.
    Please don't PM me or any other members looking for personal assistance. You'll do better by posting (after you've exhausted the search feature, of course) and taking advantage of the collective expertise of the membership instead of a single individual that may or may not be able to help you. Thank you and enjoy your stay at DDB!

  12. #12
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    kill_initrd

    Quote Originally Posted by captain_video
    Tivoflash is performed to update the EEPROM to add dual tuner functionality
    Hang on. My sister's DTivo already has dual tuner capability and it's never been hacked. Indeed, the hardware and software support for dual tuners has always been present in the DTiVo. Do you perhaps mean something else?
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